A Day Out in Koblenz
I can’t believe it’s February already! The weeks are whizzing by at the moment and being well aware that I’m over half way through my time here in Germany, I’m trying to make sure I pack in as many trips as possible over the next few months.
This time around I headed a bit further down the Rhine to Koblenz, a city in neighbouring Bundesland, Rheinland Pfalz. There, I met my friends Gemma and Rebecca, and it provided a good half way point for us all to meet. I had heard many mixed reviews on Koblenz as a tourist destination, but decided to find out for myself and make my own opinions. Unfortunately we weren’t graced with particularly great weather which was a shame, especially considering the fact that the past week here has been beautiful and sunny, but, kitted out in our coats, scarves and gloves we ventured out into the town to tick off the sights it had to offer.
Koblenz is probably most famous as the point where the two Rivers, the Rhein and the Mosel meet – its name even comes from the latin word ‘confluentes’ meaning ‘(at the) merging of rivers’. This is where we aimed for first, but not before a quick pit stop in shopping centre, Forum, for a bite to eat. From there, we ambled through some of the streets of the Altstadt, in the direction of the river.
Given that the town is cornered in by two rivers, we were sure to get there eventually. Finally we found the so-called Deutsche Eck, with its huge monument commemorating the former German Emperor William I.
The huge equestrian monument bears the inscription..
“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).
After a little wander round and a few pictures later, we continued to climb the many steps up the monument for a different view out over the two rivers. On the first level, the monument displays a plaque for each different Bundesland, apparently these were added after the division of Germany into the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic in 1949, as a way of expressing the desire to have a unified Germany. This subsequently transformed the Deutsche Eck into a monument for German Unity, not just a commemoration to the former emperor.
Here’s me repping for NRW..
And the view from right at the top, you can see the point where the two rivers meet a bit more clearly..
A little further up the promenade was the Seilbahn (cable car), station. We decided to travel up to the Festung (Fortress) by cable car, which was a fun experience!
Once at the top, we found the viewpoint and spent some more time admiring the landscape before making our way back to the entrance of the Ehrenbreitstein Festung (translated to ‘The Broad-Stone of Honour’).
^ The fortress on a brighter day, courtesy of Google!
The ‘kombi-ticket’ for the return journey via cable car and the Festung was only 5,60 EUR which seemed reasonable but I have to admit that once inside there was not much to do. The fortress was impressive though and very intricate with lots of different courtyards, adjoining buildings and little passageways and staircases. We found that none of the historical background was really explained though and we found one particularly creepy area which we couldn’t decide if it looked more like a nuclear bunker or the set of a horror movie…
However, once back at home I did some research and found out that it is believed the fortress was first constructed by the Romans, but then was hugely added to between the period 1817 and 1932 by the Prussians. The main purpose of the fortress was to protect the middle Rhine region, which was an area particularly prone to French invasion. During WW1 the fortress was used as a military headquarters but later it was decided that its historical value was too high and the decision was made to ‘move out’.
Before returning back to the town, we stopped off at the oddly named Casino Cafe within the fortress walls which was really cosy and welcoming inside. Rebecca and I went for warm drinks, whilst Gemma decided on a mid-afternoon snack of rice pudding.. Sadly, though, they overdid the sprinkling of cinnamon and, on top of that, it was rather stodgy 😦
Realising we only had twenty minutes before the last cable car, we paid our bill and walked the short distance back to the ‘station’, where cable car number 3 did its job and returned us back to the town. But not before a quick picture or two…
We walked along the river a little, heading south and towards the Kurfürstliches Schloss (Electoral Palace) which we found without too much trouble. It was an impressive building but there wasn’t much surrounding it, though we did spend some time in the playground.. as you do!
As the day was beginning to draw in, we decided that it would be a good idea to return to the Altstadt, from which point we could get our bearings and slowly make our way towards the Hbf. In doing this, we saw a few parts of the old town we had previously missed and came across this interesting fountain in one of the squares…
Finally after finding our way back to the station and equipping myself with a pretzel for the returnn journey, I said my farewells and found myself a comfy seat on the regional train taking me back to Ddorf.
All in all, another successful day!