A cruise down the historical Rhine river.
Tuesday 24 May 2011 - Thursday 26 May 2011
Tuesday 24 May - A travel day from Dresden to Mainz. German trains, especially the ultra modern ICE trains, are superb. Fast, clean, quiet, no graffiti, good coffee and so on. As we trundled across Germany at 160kph, the scenery is very rural with lots of forests, well kept farm land, small towns and villages and the occasional city. We were a bit late due to an accident at Erfurt the previous day but that did not affect me at all.
Spent the afternoon walking around the old town, past the Gutenburg Museum (Johannes Gensfleisch zur Laden zum Gutenberg was born here in about 1398 and died here in 1468), his statue (right outside McDonald's), via a shoe shop, and down to the Rhine. There followed a typical German meal of pork schnitzel, potatoes and dark beer.
Hotel review: The Hotel Schottenhof was directly opposite the railway station. Not much to say about it really, clean, tidy, nice breakfast.
Wednesday 25 May - An early start to catch the ferry from Mainz to Koblenz. The weather for the day was superb. Hardly a cloud in the sky and a gentle breeze made cruising and viewing the river, villages and numerous castles a pleasure. The cruise was operated by K-D Lines using a very modern ship, the MS Loreley. Given that it was right at the beginning of the season, there were not many passengers on board, meaning that there was plenty of room on the sunshine deck to view the scenery and down below in the restaurant for coffee and lunch. The cruise is also used as a means of crossing between the banks of the Rhine as there are no bridges across the river between Mainz and Koblenz, a distance of about 65 km. However, one is being planned to link St Goar and St Goarshausen.
Modern architecture in Mainz.
Typical German buildings on the Rhine.
An arty photo of the Rhine and the ferry.
The Rhine at Bingen.
The sun deck.
A barge travelling downstream.
The town of Assmanshausen.
The Fürstenberg Castle.
Stahleck Castle at Bacharach.
The town of Bacharach.
The ferry leaving Bacharach.
Pfalzgrafenstein Toll Station.
Gutenfels Castle overlooking the Rhine.
One of the many river cruisers.
The Koblenz fire boat.
They carry everything on the Rhine.
We arrived at Koblenz on time just after 2:00 pm. Found the hotel, walked back into the city and wandered around the Federal Garden Show being held there. The city centre, rebuilt after heavy damage in WWII, has its share of narrow streets, old churches, the huge statue of Wilhelm I at Deutsches Eck (where the Mosel and Rhine rivers meet) and good places to sit and eat.
The Festung Ehrenbreitstein overlooking Koblenz.
The Basilica St Kastor.
The confluence of the Mosel and Rhine in Koblenz.
Hotel review: The Hotel Restaurant Merkelbach is situated right on the Rhine opposite the city centre and is great place to watch the sun go down with a good German beer in hand. The food is typically German, lots of meat and potatoes with a nice tomato salsa and so on and was very tasty. The hotel itself was comfortable, but the room was quite small.
Thursday 26 May - A travel day. Firstly, a train from Koblenz to Köln. Secondly, another train from Köln to Brussels. Thirdly, the Eurostar from Brussels to London. Fourthly, two London buses (numbers 10 and 267) from St Pancras station to my friend's house in Isleworth, arriving at about 7:00pm.