Our plan had been to leave Ghent and visit Aachen Cathederal and the Three-Countries Point. Unfortunately, it was on-and-off raining, and we decided to see these on our way back to Belgium instead, and looking around the internet, we discovered the Museum of Public Transport in Wallonia, in Liège. Now to be fair, I’m not into that sort of thing, but Louise was like a kid in a playground. I’ve not seen her smile and grin so much in years, at least not while sober.
At the border with Germany, we stopped for some food. Bockwurst & Fries from a Café on a corner, the Friterie New-Quinta. Gourmet, it was not, but it was hot, tasty, and gave us a break from the road for a half-hour or so.
We arrived around 4pm local time and checked in. It had been a long drive and we wanted little more than to flop. We unpacked, had a beer in the bar, and spent the evening in our room listening to music.
We woke around 8am in the morning, showered, and headed out. We headed into the old town to discover what river tours were available. Koblenz is at the confluence of the Rhine and the Mosel, so we had a lot of options. Picking up some leaflets, we sat in a café called Jenny’s Coffee eating breakfast and deciding.
We booked (and paid) online for a tour of the Mosel valley, and at the specified time, took our place on the boat to enjoy two hours on this most beautiful river, viewing castles, villages, and vineyards as we passed by. Drinks were available on the boat, though unfortunately not included in the price. Nevertheless, we sampled the local Mosel-Reisling and took way too many photographs.
On the downside, my knees were burned. My own fault I suppose, but still painful. Getting back to the hotel was difficult, but we managed and after a litre of water, felt more human. We stayed in again that evening watching videos and uploading more than 300 photos from various cameras.
Saturday was the big day for Louise. We’d planned a trip to the DB Museum just outside of Koblenz. Lots of trains from DBs history, from steam to electric power, and just like in Liège; she was like a child in a sweet shop. It was interesting, but as I’ve mentioned, trains aren’t really my thing. Still seeing the massive Cheshire-Cat grin on Louise’s face and a bounce in her step like a whole sack of spoons was worth any amount of wandering around a railway siding.
On the way back to town, we diverted to collect our trip mascot who was to join us today. Blåhaj the shark was meeting us at the local Ikea and joined us for the rest of the trip.
Getting back into town, we parked up and took the Seilbahn (a more grown-up version – or at least a more German version) of the London Dangleway up to the Ehrenbreitstein Fortress on the hill. A massive fortress overlooking Koblenz town.
Ehrenbreitstein was disappointing, though arguably this was down to us rather than the place itself. I was too tired, and we didn’t get a map in English to guide us. Not that there wasn’t one, just that by the time we thought of it we were a long way in.
Still, there were some views and we took advantage of that for photos and had a lovely late lunch in the restaurant before making our way back to the Seilbahn and to Koblenz old town. We spent the evening in the hotel bar chatting and deciding on further plans.
Castles and Rivers
Sunday would be our “drive down the Rhine” day, with a visit to Schloss Marksburg, up in the hills over the river. Of course, this involved another local specialty, the tiny twisty roads leading up into the hills, which was interesting, to say the least. Nevertheless, we made it, booked tickets for the next English language tour, and sat down with a burger and a cold drink while we waited.
The castle itself is still lived in, if only by the caretaker family, and so there were private areas not on the tour. In addition, due to the heat and the large group size, we couldn’t go up the tower either. As to the rest, however, it was interesting, at times pretty, and best covered with a photo gallery.
On leaving the castle, Louise wanted to see Lorelei Point, a rock overlooking a sharp bend in the Rhine known for its nasty currents and shipwrecks. There are legends, and so I’ll just point to a Wikipedia page rather than go into details.
Getting there was a trek though, as Google Maps sent us on another twisty trip through the mountains – coming back we drove along the river instead as it was a nicer drive, proving Google doesn’t always get it right.
Monday brought with it our last morning in Koblenz and the beginning of our trip to Bruges. We had until noon to leave the room, but wanted to get an early start, so, after a few coffees and writing up some notes on this blog, we finished packing and departed.