2 On The Road Blog

After 12 years of full-time rving, we've sold our truck and trailer but we're still traveling. Email us at wowpegasus@hotmail.com if you would like to contact us.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

European River Cruise - Koblenz, Germany

Since I wasn't on the ship when it arrived at Rudesheim the previous day, I didn't know that we would be doing a "U" turn on the Rhine.  This is looking downstream as we make the turn.

We were given this list of the castles we would pass on our way to Koblenz

Another large RV park along the river but this one had quick access to their boats.

Other cruise ships docked where we had been for the night.

The first we see of a castle, Bromersburg, is only glimpses through the trees.

This section of the Rhine seemed to be the most used by commercial traffic.  I'm not sure what this ship, the Threant, was carrying.

The Niederwalddenkmal is a monument located near Rudesheim.  It was built in the 1870s through the 1880's to commemorate the Unification of Germany.

Klopp Castle, like many of the others has quite the history of being built and destroyed over the centuries.  It is though to have been built on the site of some Roman ruins.  There's mention of a castle dating back to the early 1100's but the last medieval castle was erected on the site in the 13th century.  After being destroyed a rebuilt a couple times, a bergfried (kind of like a keep) was restored in the 19th century.

The Mouse Tower (Mäuseturm) is on a small island in the Rhine.  Like many other castles, it was built on the site that the Romans had used.  The story of how it became called the "Mouse Tower" comes after Hatto II, the Archbishop of Mainz, restored the tower in 968.  The story is actually a folk tale, popular but unsubstantiated, about what a cruel ruler Hatto II was.  There was  a famine in 974 and the poor had run out of food.  Hatto had plenty of grain stored in his barns but the poor couldn't afford the prices he was charging.  The peasants were threatening to rebel so Hatto came up with a plan.  He promised to feed the hungry people and told them to go to an empty barn and wait for him to come with food.   They were overjoyed and all crowded into the barn.  Once they were in, Hatto ordered his servants to shut and lock the barn's doors.  They then set the barn on fire and burned the peasants to death.  Upon hearing their death cries, he exclaimed "Hear the mice squeak!"  Upon returning to his castle, he was immediately besieged by an army of mice.  Hoping that the mice could not swim, he took a boat across the river to his tower.  But the mice followed, ate through the tower's doors and commenced to eat Hatto alive.

Ehrenfels Castle is located on the steep eastern bank of the river surrounded by vineyards. The grape variety Ehrenfelser is named after the castle.  Ehrenfels, Klopp and the Mouse Tower were all owned by the Archbishopric of Mainz to exact tolls on river trade.

Ehrenfels on the east bank of the Rhine, sits above train tracks and a road.

Approaching the town of Trechtinghausen and the Rheinstein Castle.  There are at least four ships on the river approaching us and two at the dock.

Rheinstein Castle was constructed in the early 14th century but became very dilapidated by the time Prince Frederick of Prussa, bought the castle in the 19th century and rebuilt it..

Rheinstein from the opposite direction

My sister enjoying the view as we cruise the river

The date of erection for Reichenstein Castle has been lost in history but it has been found mentioned in 1213, when Philipp III von Bolanden was appointed “castellanus” and bailiff.  Destroyed in 1282, it was rebuilt, fell into disrepair after 1572, bought by Franz Wilhelm von Barfuss in 1834 and restored. The family Kirsch-Puricelli purchased the castle in 1899 and completed the restorations in a neo-Gothic style.

Reichenstein Castle from a straight on view.

Colorful cargo ship.

Compare the profile of this ship with the previous ones.  This one is empty so it floats higher out of the water.

There are train tracks and roads on both banks of the Rhine

This ship gets the award for getting the most cars (4) on its back deck.  I'd sure love to see how these are loaded.

This is the Relationship.  LOL

Also by Trechtinghausen is Sooneck Castle.  It, like a lot of the other castles, is available for tours. 

Closer view of Sooneck Castle

Another train along the river

At Niederheimbach we saw the Honeck Castle also known as Burg Horneck, Deutschordenschloss Horneck and Schloss Horneck.  Overlooking the Neckar River, its name is thought to mean "over the Neckar".

Church in Niederheimbach

Furstenberg Castle

Stahleck is a 12th century fortified castle.  Its name means "impregnable castle on a crag" and it has a water-filled partial moat, a rarity in Germany. It was destroyed in the late 17th century but rebuilt in the 20th and is now a hostel.

Stahleck is by the town of Bacharach.
Bacharach has some other ruins.  To the far left is the Wernerkapelle, the remains of a church and, running up the hill, you can see the old wall that has nine towers and three gates.  There even a remnant of a Roman road by the castle.

Town of Kaub, with the castles of Pfalzgrafenstein and Gutenfels

Pfalzgrafenstein Castle, a toll castle on Falkenau island, was one of the most unusual that we saw.  The keep, a pentagonal tower with its point upstream, was erected 1326 to 1327 by King Ludwig the Bavarian.  Between 1338 and 1340, a defensive hexagonal wall was built around the keep.  Every ship was stopped by a chain strung across the river so the toll could be collected.

Gutenfels Castle was built in 1220.

Our guides pointed out that the ships sometimes passed each other on the left instead of the right due to the depth of the river.  Whenever the captain needed to do this, he put out this signal.
Usually the signal was tilted up like this.

Looks like coal to me.

The Schonburg Ruins above the town of Oberwessel.

Schonburg Ruins

Church at Oberwessel

The name of this ship was Gotcha

Looks like Oberwessel has lots of old structures too

Old town wall in Oberwessel.

Tower in Oberwessel.

Railway tunnel along the Rhine

Another pretty Rhine town

Watch out for those shoals.

Now they are getting fancy with their railway tunnel entrances.

I bet you've heard of the Loreley (lorelei), the legendary rock that has lured captain to crash their ships.  Here it is!  A 433 ft high, steep rock on the right bank of the Rhine.

Front view of the Loreley.  The currents are strong here so the captains do have to be careful.

Katz Castle at St. Goarhausen.  It was first built around 1371 by Count William II of  Katzenelnbogen.  The castle was bombarded in 1806 by Napoleon and rebuilt in the late 19th century, in 1896–98. It is now privately owned, and not open for visitors.

Oh no!  Loreley is loose on our ship!  Don't let her get to the captain.

Closer view of Katz Castle.

Rheinfels Castle at St. Goar, is a ruin located above the left (west) bank of the Rhine. Construction started in 1245 by Count Diether V of Katzenelnbogen.  It is the largest castle overlooking the Rhine, and historically covered five times its current area.  While much of the castle is a ruin, some of the outer buildings are now a luxury hotel, "wellness" centre and restaurant.  There is also a museum within some of the better preserved structures.

Still part of Rheinfels Castle.

What?  Was someone trying to draw a smiley face or a centipede?

Maus Castle.... but didn't we already see a Maus Castle?  Local folklore attributes the name to the Counts of Katzenelnbogen's mocking of the Electors of Trier during the 30 years of construction, who reportedly said that the castle was the "mouse" that would be eaten by the "cat" of Burg Katz.  But unlike Burg Katz it was never destroyed.

Burg Maus did fall into disrepair in the 16th and 17th centuries. Restoration of the castle was undertaken between 1900 and 1906.  There was supposed to be a matching castle on the opposite bank to help impose river tolls.

A container ship

Town of Boppard

This ship is carrying cars

Are you tired of looking at vineyards yet?
Sterrenburg Castle. Straight from Wikipedia, "By 1034, Sterrenberg was being mentioned as an imperial castle, but the source is not certain. In 1190, Sterrenberg Castle is listed in the book of Werner von Bolanden as a fief, together with the custom point in Bornhofen. The noble family of Bolanden stayed as lords of Sterrenberg Castle until the second half of the 13th century. From this early period, the bergfried and the first, inner shield wall have survived.

May pole in the town of Spay.
Marksburg Castle was built around 1100 and was heavily damaged by Allied artillery fire during WWII. 

Marksburg Castle was more a fortress than a home for a noble family.

Stolzenfels Castle  - Straight from Wikipedia, "Stolzenfels Castle (German: Schloss Stolzenfels) is a former, medieval fortress castle ("Burg") turned into a palace, near Koblenz on the left bank of the Rhine, in the state of Rhineland- Palatinate, Germany. Stolzenfels was a ruined 13th-century castle, gifted to the Prussian Crownprince, Fredrick William in 1823. He had it rebuilt as a 19th-century palace in Gothic Revival style."

Ehrenbreitstein Fortress

There is a cable car across the river from just south of the Deutsches Eck (German Corner) up to Fortress Ehrenbreitstein.

Deutsches Eck (German Corner) is the name of a headland in Koblenz at the confluence of the Moselle and the Rhine.  Upon it sets a statue of German Emperor William I.  This is actually the second statue as the first, erected in 1897, was destroyed by an American artillery shell during WWII.  The statue bears the inscription quoting a German poem: "Nimmer wird das Reich zerstöret, wenn ihr einig seid und treu" (Never will the Empire be destroyed, so long as you are united and loyal).

I was taking photos as the ship swung around the corner.

At the point.

It was hard to get a clear photo as I was shooting into the sun.

There are also three pieces of the Berlin Wall at the corner.

Ship repair dock on the Moselle

Looking up the Moselle

We had to walk the plank to get to shore.

Statue on top of a building.

When I got back to the boat, I saw the hard working crew cleaning the windows.

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