Cochem (Reichsburg) Castle and more

We had our first excursion of the trip this morning, a tour of Cochem Castle, about 300 feet above river level. We had a choice between riding there in minivans or walking up on our own and meeting our guides there – one guess which we chose!

The MS Olympia was moored just down the road from us; they specialize in Bike and Boat tours. They claim that this particular tour is “suitable for unpractised cyclists”; I’ll take them at their word.

We walked with a couple of our friends; the castle beckoned at us from the bridge over the Moselle.

We got to the castle about 10 minutes before the minivans, so we had time to enjoy the view.

The first castle on the site was built in 1000, passed into the hands of the German Kings and then to the Electors of Trier. It was expanded in 1332 and reduced to ruins by Louis XIV in 1689. Louis Ravené, an iron and steel magnate, bought it in 1868 and rebuilt it as a summer cottage for his family, who owned it until 1943 when they surrendered it to the Third Reich because they couldn’t afford the taxes. West Germany took possession after WWII, and the city of Cochem took over in 1978 and turned it into a tourist attraction, showing the castle as it was when Ravené owned it.

We walked back down to town; the grapes are a very dark purple, so I guess the harvest must be imminent.

Our route back to the ship took us past Cochen’s Shoah plaques – Germany has done a much better job of facing ugly history than the US has.

The Jewish Community in Cochem – Lost on November 9, 1938, Reichskristalnacht. Due to the destruction of the synagogue and schoolhouse on Oberbachstrasse. In remembrance and warning. Given on November 9, 1988.

Jews lived in Cochem for hundreds of years – the Mayer, Goetzoff, Hirsch, Dahl, Haimann, and Simon families were victims of the Shoah. In remembrance and warning. Given on November 9, 1998.

We passed something else you wouldn’t see in the US – wine vending machines. There were also vending machines which sold cigarettes, vapes, eggs, and cream cheese (as well as more usual goodies like candy, sodas, and ice cream).

We walked the opposite side of the Moselle to get a photo of Pegel Cochem; it’s a small building along the waterfront which memorializes floods of the past and contains gauges to measure the current river level. The “clock” at the top of the building shows the current level (about 220cm); you can also get the data on the Pagel Cochem page from the German government’s Undine Information Platform, but what fun would that be?

The ship left Cochem while we were having lunch, and we’ve been enjoying the scenery all afternoon.

Tonight is the ship’s “70’s Party”; I will not be posting photos.

Sailing the Moselle

We left the Rhine for the Moselle about 6:30 this morning; we were asleep and missed the excitement.

Once we were awake, we spent a good part of the day on the Sun Deck enjoying the gorgeous Moselle scenery. Here we are passing Hatzenport and its ferry tower.

A few minutes later, we sailed past the winemaking town of Pommern and its sundial vineyard.

After lunch, we passed through Klotten; it was probably the prettiest town we saw today. People were out on waterskis enjoying the view!

There’s a ruined castle above Klotten, Burgruine Coraidelstein; naturally, it has a vineyard.

The town itself is anchored by the church of St. Maximinus.

We docked in Cochem a few minutes after passing Klotten. As is typical on European rivers, we were tied up to another ship, the AmaCerto.

We heard a short lecture on the evolution of cities on the Rhine from medieval times until today, then walked into Cochem for a brief exploration. Shops in Germany are closed on Sunday, but there are exceptions for food, drink, and souvenirs – I wouldn’t think that dresses and belts would count as souvenirs, but there were plenty of them available today all through the town.

The high point of the walk (literally and figuratively) was Martinstour, one of the old city gates of Cochem.

We also enjoyed the views from the bridge over the Moselle. St. Martin’s church and Cochem Castle both look interesting, and we’ll be visiting the castle tomorrow on our official Cochem tour.

All aboard!

Our travel agent and tour arranger, Dave Natale, spent more than a decade living in Frankfurt when he first moved to Europe. This morning, he took us through a typical Frankfurt Saturday morning, starting with coffee at Wacker’s Kaffee, followed by a stroll through the Kleinmarket and then a visit to the Konstablerwache Market for some apfelwein and Grüen Sosse on potato pancakes.

We went back to the hotel to pick up our luggage and took a taxi down to the waterfront and boarded the River Queen. We didn’t sail away until 9:30pm, so we had plenty of time to explore the ship (it’s small), unpack, and enjoy a couple of meals. We even crossed the river to make another attempt to find the volksmarch control point from yesterday – it’s still missing. Maybe we’ll find it when we return to Frankfurt next week!

Exploring Frankfurt

After breakfast, we set out on the 5K version of the Auf Goethes Spuren year round volksmarch. It was a nice walk, mostly on the trails on the banks of the Main, with bridges, statues, and wildfowl to enjoy. The walk took us from the Goethe House to the north bank of the Main.

We used the Friedensbrücke bridge to cross the Main and saw this statue of a stevedore.

The control point (where we needed to validate our start cards) was supposed to be very near the Friedensbrücke bridge in a “variable location”; it’s a small wooden box about one meter off the ground. We couldn’t find it, so I took a photo of the location in the hope that they’ll accept it as proof of our walk.

We searched a little longer with no success and finally decided to resume the walk.

We crossed back to the north side of the Main on the Alte Brücke and paid our respects to Charlemagne.

We’d already walked well over 5km, so we put the walk on hold and broke for lunch at a Havanda, a Turkish Döner restaurant; it was quite tasty and pretty inexpensive.

Our next stop was the Palmengarten, a 150-year-old botanical garden. In the interest of time, we took the U-bahn instead of walking (Google said it was 13 minutes away by transit, 20 by car, and 30 by foot).

We were greeted by a couple of Chinese geese.

Late summer isn’t the best time to see flowers in a botanical garden, but the Palmengarten had its share of nice ones to enjoy. I’ll limit myself to three.

We didn’t quite walk through the entirety of the Palmengarten, but we didn’t miss much.

We took the U-Bahn back to the center of town and walked back to our hotel to rest briefly before joining our traveling group for a visit to the Rheingauer Weinfest. We had German snacks and Rheingau wines and chatted for a couple of hours before taking our leave and wandering back to the hotel for our final pre-cruise evening.

Giving Jet Lag Another Chance

Greetings from Flemings Hotel Frankfurt-City, next to the Eschenheimer Tor in the heart of Frankfurt am Main!

We arrived at the hotel a little after 4:15pm and walked over to the Goethe-Haus to register for a volksmarch we want to do tomorrow, “Auf Goethes Spuren” (In Goethe’s Steps).

The brochure is in German; it may be an adventure!

We had a very pleasant dinner at Restaurant Walden near the Goethe-Haus, then wandered around downtown Frankfurt for a couple of hours enjoying the sculptures and the activity.

We wanted to stay awake long enough to go to bed at a reasonable local time, so we watched an episode of Only Murders in the Building when we got back to the hotel. There were technical issues, but we succeeded.

Now, to sleep….