Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Rhine River Cruise Part 5 - Koblenz

Koblenz turned out to be a small, yet bustling city with a mix of both older architecture and a modern retail area. The place sustained heavy damages during World War II and most of the earnest rebuilding happened in the ‘60s. The central part of the city contained pedestrian only walkways.

And every few blocks we found a square with a fountain or a statue.

Along the Rhine were parks, an art museum with statues, and a church.

After the harried bus trip to Heidelberg the previous day, we thoroughly enjoyed walking around the city on our own. At one end of Koblenz where the Rhine and the Mosel Rivers meet stands the Deutsches Eck, a German monument dedicated to the unification of East and West Germany. Very imposing with heroic images, dark stones, and eerie gothic carvings.

And right by the statue was an honest-to-God organ grinder. How apt after our excursion in Rudesheim.

Oh to wander about on our own! We wound our way through narrow streets and peered into tiny antique shops. We admired the florist and produce shops along with the architecture.

We even marveled at a Woolworth!

In the midst of the oldest part of town stood a lovely church.

Late in the afternoon we stopped at a café and had coffees at a little outside table.

We sat near the statue of the Peppermint Lady. At one time she dwelled in Koblenz and sold peppermint candy to earn money. Most of the money she used to care for stray cats and dogs.

Koblenz also turned out to be the only opportunity for us to visit a local wine shop. My husband wanted to purchase a bottle of German red wine, which we did, to be consumed the next day on the boat’s sun deck. The wine was somewhat thin, but a step above the Lemberger we were consuming at dinner.

We did have dinner on the boat, but since we were not undocking that evening, we went back out and entered the most darling Wein Stube. This wine bar featured the solid blond wooden tables and chairs that just felt like Germany. All communal furniture. The interior had also been recently decorated with scarecrows, wheat sheaves, and other signs of the harvest. This was the season for new wine, a white cloudy substance that one consumed in the squat little wine glasses with the green stems. Although we were tempted, we selected a bottle of Trocken Spatlese Riesling that was truly fine. Very full-bodied with a balance of fruit and not sweet.

And since the other patrons were local, we were content to sit, sip, and soak up the atmosphere.

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