Thursday 10th May 2018
It was a bit of a surprise this morning as the beautiful blue, Brisbane-like skies we have become used to have disappeared and instead it is dull, grey and decidedly chilly (is it a jeans day?).
As we drove out of Koblenz and into the Rhine Gorge we could see dark clouds on the horizon, but we were more focussed on the sudden improvement in the scenery. Now we were driving through a steep sided valley, sometimes with cliffs on both sides, either heavily wooded or draped with vineyards. Every half a mile or so there was a Schloss (a castle Gran!) sticking up above the river. I tried to take some photos of them out of the window as Wendy drove but a combination of her speed and the persistent drizzle made it a challenge.
We swept around one of the Rhine’s biggest bends, a 180° turn known as the Bopparder Hamm which gives its name to the local vineyards that cling to the steep south facing slopes. As we pulled up in Boppard the rain seemed to have given up so off we went for a pleasant stroll along the riverside into the town centre and up into the market square just as we began to be hit by large, sodden raindrops and the realisation that Wendy we had forgotten the emergency umbrellas! Never mind, we just ducked under a café’s awning and ordered a couple of coffees, it will be over in ten minutes. We managed to make the coffees last an hour (well I did, Wendy found the ‘special something’ in her special Boppard coffee too tempting.) and still it was ‘persistently’ raining. Finally we gave in and ran for a shop and bought two more emergency umbrellas. They did the trick. Within five minutes, the rain stopped.
Today is a national holiday in Germany, a sort of Fathers’ Day, where ‘men’ get together in groups and go walking in the hills and forests and drink beer, lots of beer. Well this father likes nothing better than exploring an old ruin (you are making your own jokes now!) and I wanted to stop in Boppard because of its famous Roman Fort. The fortress is widely considered to be the best-preserved roman building north of the Alps. It was built in the late fourth century after the Romans retreated back across the Rhine in the face of the Germanii hordes. Clutching the latest iteration of our emergency umbrellas we duly studied what is left of the fort and the immense walls that are built into modern day homes and considered it job done and headed back to the van.
Then it was on to Sankt Gaur and the campsite Loreleyblick just across the river from the famous Loreley Rock. This was a lovely secluded spot, right on the riverbank, only us and 359 other vans and caravans! Well it is a public holiday we were lucky to get a place and we have a river view even if we are three rows back.