Hello from Germany again. We continue to have a couple of days to visit the Mike & Sue Dolan. We are still doing tourist items, but also have some family time too.
We slept in today and then had another good breakfast. Mike took David to run some errands, with the first one being a trip to the bank to get a fist full of Euros from the ATM. Then we went to the train station to buy a couple of tickets for our trip to Paris on Wednesday. Fortunately there was a very helpful person who helped us operate the machine and issue the ticket (could have been pretty difficult otherwise since everything was in German). We have been able to call the tour agency and have reconfirmed our Paris tours for Thursday and Friday. Then it was off to the hardware store on the AF base and we picked up some nuts and bolts to try to fix the suitcase. After that, we met up with Janet & Sue, along with Sue’s daughters. We had an American lunch before starting off on our tour this afternoon.
We were driven up the Rhine to the town of Koblenz
Overlooking Rhine and Mosel at Koblenz
(a town which was started by the Romans and is more than 2000 years old). It had been recommended by Mike’s neighbor but we weren’t exactly sure what we were looking for. Once we got to downtown by the river, it was obvious that there is a huge tourist attraction, but it was real difficult trying to find parking (we were actually in 2 cars so needed two parking places). Mike and Sue let David & Janet out, along with Jessica & Maggie, and they drove off to find parking. Fortunately there turned out to be a parking garage nearby, but we had not been able to spot it the first couple of times when there were more eyes looking for spots. They were back pretty quickly.
There is a church named for St Kastor. It was a nice church but nothing especially unique. It was surrounded by a fence and we needed tickets to get inside. We weren’t quite sure what was inside, but there turned out to be a huge number of different kinds of attractions.
One big item was a very large flower show with all sorts of flower designs, a wide variety of blooming
flowers and plants, and many different kinds of displays. Then we explored a massive statue dedicated to Kaiser Wilhelm, which was at least a 100 foot tall stone monument. It is a massive replica of a Teutonic knight on horseback. Janet & Sue stayed at the bottom to watch the rest of us climb to the top and we felt it provided a good view of the surrounding area. After coming back down, we boarded a cable car tram which carried us to the bluffs on the opposite side of the River (different from yesterday, these were large cars which held up to 35 people). So we were swept across the river and up to a really impressive view down over the river and the town.
At the top of the bluff across the Rhine, we discovered a large open field which was surrounded by several large tents of the flower displays. In the opposite direction, we found our self outside the wall of a fortress. We all walked over to look at it. Janet & Sue decided to stay near the return trams and looked at the flowers or rested on benches. The rest of us went to
explore the fortress. It turned out to be enormous. You could spend a day (maybe more than one) going through the castle and looking at a huge number of displays. Up steps and down steps, up and down ramps, we looked at a lot of the interior of the castle, but basically just walked through rather than examining each item/room. At last we came out to the outer wall overlooking the river. From there you could see the Mosel River (pretty much blue water) and the Rhine River (more brown in color) merging directly below the fortress. David took a lot of pictures, but it was difficult to capture the entirety of the facility. Finally we all joined up and rode back down in the cable car, back across the river to Koblenz again. An informal estimate is that we climb up and down about 1000 steps – it is a huge place with a great deal to see.
The girls wanted ice cream (Janet & Sue had had ice cream while the others explored the castle), Sue wanted a coffee, and Mike & David had a German beer. It was good to be able to sit and rest
for a little while (the kids were especially tired from all the running and climbing throughout the fortress). We then decided to stay in town for dinner instead of driving back down the Autobahn during rush hour. David had a genuine German Wiener Schnitzel and Janet had a tomato mozzarella wrap. Mike had a steak, Sue had pizza, and the girls had children’s meals. It was delicious!
Then it was back into the cars and back to the Dolan’s house. At home, Mike & David were able to fix the suitcase (reattach the wheel) so we should be all set to continue our travels in another couple of days. We have been able monitor some of the news since the Dolans have a TV that shows the Armed Forces Network TV channel. So we have heard about the devastating tornado in Joplin (sorry for them but glad it wasn’t in St Louis). We also have been hearing about the Icelandic volcano so we will keep an eye on how that might impact flight later in the month. But we are going ahead with our plans and will enjoy each day.
Janet had a cold before we left for
the trip and after being gone for a long time, it seems to be returning again. We will probably take it easy tomorrow and try to get rested up for the remainder of our trip. For now it is time to go to bed and close today’s adventure.
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