Tuesday 8th May 2018
“It’s more impressive than Matlock Bath!” said Wendy as our cable car crossed the Rhine, heading for the Ehrenbreitstein Fortress with the Rhine and Mosel laid out in all their murky glory below us; and indeed it is.
Yesterday, Wendy was at the wheel as we whizzed through five countries and 317 miles from Ashford to Koblenz. Now we are camped under the Teutonic gaze of a marvellous statue built on the Deutsches Ecke, the confluence (Hannah, ask Jamie) of the Mosel and the Rhine rivers right in the heart of Koblenz. It is a fascinating and beautiful place. There is a steady stream of large boats going up and down both rivers, cargo and cruise ships and the gondolas of cable car across the Rhine are buzzing back and forth.
This morning we caught the pedestrian ferry from just outside our campsite, across the Mosel to get the Seilbahn cable car to the stunning fortress built by the Prussians in 1817 on top of the cliffs on the far back of the Rhine. It is a very impressive piece of military architecture and considered to be impregnable in its day. It was clearly still considered a threat a century later as the British insisted its partial demolition was included in the Treaty of Versailles. Due to our leisurely start to the morning the sun was already beating down on us and the temperature was already in the high twenties, and after a close inspection of the parade ground, the gates, blockhouses, ravelin, posterns and bastions we were ready for a drink. As luck would have it, in the corner of the main courtyard there was a restaurant serving fine, cold beer. It was probably a later addition to the castle but welcome none the less.
Perhaps the best part of the fortress is the view from the ramparts over the twin valleys and the city of Koblenz. Innumerable photos later and we took the Seilbahn back to explore the rest of Koblenz’s treasures.
We were thwarted in our attempt to take a walking tour as the only one in English runs on a Saturday afternoon, so Wendy led the way, clutching the free map the campsite reception team had given her. Koblenz is over 2000 years old but most of the old stuff left dates from the 17thCentury, with a lot of war damage rebuilt in the original style. Highlights were the Electoral Palace and a couple of old churches. Wendy’s highlight was an ice cream shop that made their own ice cream; judging by the queue it was on many other people’s lists too!
Tomorrow, Thursday, is a public holiday in Germany and this campsite is fully booked. We were planning on moving on anyway but will we be able to find a campsite with a vacancy? The weather is also forecast to break and it is going to be rain from dawn ‘til dusk. What effect will these have on the current joie de vivre of our two happy campers, tune in to our next instalment to find out?