We had to alter our itinerary today because the water in the Moselle is rising very quickly and we are in danger of being trapped in this river. There is a bridge near Koblenz, the point at which we will switch to the Rhine River, and we have to be able to get under it! Apparently there was a very high probability that we would not make it if we didn’t hurry up.
I got up early and went up to the lounge (third level, front of the boat) to watch us go through a lock. It was foggy, but there is blue sky! What a difference that makes. It has been raining since we arrived in Europe. That explains all the white skies in the pictures, but also explains why the rivers are rising.
Because of the high water, we did not dock in Cochem, but farther down along the river. For our day’s activities, we were bussed back to Cochem to see the town, and the boat kept sailing as soon as we disembarked. Cochem is another adorable town. We had some free time for wandering, and Gerry and I headed to the ski lift to be taken up to the Pinnerkreuz. The view from there is spectacular – perhaps more so than from the Reichsburg Castle because you can actually see the castle from the cross. The ski lift ride was lovely – the sun is bright and everything is so green and fresh!
Back down in the town we had a guided tour, (one of many very good guides we have had on this trip!) She showed us some interesting sights around the lower town, her commentary filled with anecdotes, all very charming in her German-accented English. We walked through several of the town’s gates which are nicely preserved including one tiny gate called the “Fox Hole.”
Then she accompanied us up to the castle and gave us the castle tour. We were lucky enough to be taken to the castle by little vans, as the way up is quite steep. The castle was destroyed, as were almost all the castles on in Germany, by Louis XIV. But this one was restored into a summer home by a Berlin industrialist, and though it fell into ruin again after the Third Reich took it over, it now belongs to the town of Cochem. The town has worked to return the castle to its first restoration, returning furniture and art work that belonged to Louis Ravelé, the steel industry baron from Berlin. The views of the river from the castle are magnificent, especially in the beautiful sun that is shining today!
After our tour of Cochem, we needed to be bussed to the boat – remember it has been moving since we left it this morning. Our afternoon planned stop in Winningen was chucked, and instead we find ourselves in Koblenz for the evening. Gerry and I took a walk through the town, but I didn’t find much of interest. Everything was closing when we ventured out in the early evening, so the vaunted shopping was not for us. We did go see the Deutsche Eck, the German Corner, where the Moselle and the Rhine meet. There is a big statue there and a large terrace with views of the rivers. We also walked into the historical center to see the cathedral and a few other places, but I think the people who left early and took the funicular across the river to the largest palace in Germany, made better use of their time than we did. The funicular also closes at 6, so if you want to do that, please keep it in mind. It would be fun to take the funicular just to see the views from high above the river.
Our boat is now docked on the Rhine, so our worries about high water have changed. Now we need to worry about the water getting so high that the Rhine River will be closed to all boat traffic…but our captain thinks we’re in good shape to get down the Rhine tomorrow and onto the Main River, without incident.
Tonight our dinner focuses on regional specialties – apparently white asparagus! Every dish on the menu tonight is made with white asparagus. I had a soup to start and it was excellent! After dinner, we gathered in the lounge for special entertainment. Every night we have a pianist who plays and sings and sometimes even gets out a horn or two, but tonight we had a troupe come on board to play German folk songs for us. We got to see a barrel organ played, we sang along, and some of us (not me) even joined a conga line.
Another “treat” – everywhere we go in Germany there are beautiful gardens filled with spring flowers. Here are some images: