Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Meeting Rhine and Moselle in Koblenz

Last Sunday's weather was perfect like what the forecast said. The sun was out and so were the people, and that includes my host family and me. We drove from Sankt Augustin down to Koblenz shortly after brunch. The trip lasted almost a couple of hours.

In Koblenz, two rivers meet. Koblenz got its name from the Latin derivative of 'confluence' as the rivers Rhine and Moselle create a confluence in the city. The Moselle marries the Rhine where the last stretch of land separating them, for some practical or non-creative reason, is called the 'German Corner' (Deutsches Eck). Just behind the viewing deck is a giant monument of William I guarding the most beautiful German corner.

From the other side of the Rhine, when one takes the ICE going to the north, most heads would look out the window to see the awe of Koblenz. I wished the train would stop in its tracks for a few minutes in the middle of the trip everytime I take this route, so we can take in the view, rather than see it like a passing slideshow from afar. And when I arrived in Koblenz, I was glad to be up close and personal. Those who live in Koblenz have nothing much to lose from 'not seeing' where they live. Nothing still beats the view of the Rhine from any of their windows facing the river.

My host mother, Tita Mina, posing with one of the many 'lucky lion' heads...

...and me. I am not one to get left behind. Take note of the funky nose ring.

The river bank of the Rhine lays out an extension every few hundred meters where cruise ships are docked waiting for the next round of tour. It was a good business day for river cruising. There were many tourists walking along the banks of the river, soaking in the sun and the probably the last of the better days of autumn.

We left after almost two hours of walking from the parking lot, THE corner, and back. We drove further south and parked by a pit stop. Below the elevated strip of the Autobahn hovering high above us, we spread the table cloth by a road side table. We took out and gorged on Braunbrot (brown sliced bread), hard-boiled eggs, cheese and tea. Just a few meters was a main road where cars, caravans, and motorcycles passed by.

It was worth noticing parked caravans were still seen in their designated areas despite the cold nights signaling mid-autumn. And no, not all of them are from the Netherlands. Also, we passed by a couple of wine fests along the way. The wine harvesting season is almost over, and by this time of the year, 'young wine' is sold. These wines are not proper wine because of their less alcohol content and they are too sweet. They taste something in between grape juice and wine.

We drove further down and reached Berndkastel by almost 6:00 p.m. By this time shops were already closing for the day. The designs on the buildings reminded me of Freiburg, which is probably typical in the regions near the Rhine River. Cold air was starting to settle in, and the inner old city was noticeably colder, probably by two degrees, as the narrow streets, old houses and buildings, prevent the air from circulating. We walked back to the parking area after some window shopping and taking some souvenir photos. As the sun set, we traveled back to Sankt Augustin.

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