Saturday, June 17, 2017

Weee! Up the Rhine we go...

This morning, we officially said goodby to the Moselle, as we rode the D5 route to the end and hung a right down the D8. The Moselle was such a beautiful ride, and it will be a tough act to follow. Right where the two rivers meet (the Deutsches Eck, or German corner), there's a huge statue of the first German emperor, Wilhelm I, which was destroyed during World War II but eventually replaced in the 1990s).

Big statue!
Peter and Sonia at the Deutsches Eck. 
Right away, you can tell that the Rhine is a very different river than the Moselle. It's not that much wider, at least not in Koblenz, but it's clearly much more powerful. Where the Moselle strolls placidly between its enclosing hills, in no rush to get anywhere, the Rhine gallops down its valley, eager to empty into the sea. The ships steaming upstream have to work MUCH harder to make headway than those going down, which I imagine need only enough way to steer.

The part of Koblenz along the Rhine gives a much better impression than the section along the Moselle. The path is quite lovely, running as it does through some beautiful parkland. After that, we seemed to have to alternate between a picturesque but very bumpy path along the river (cobblestones, poorly maintained bike path, uneven paving stones) and very smooth riding alongside a highway.

Tree-lined bike path along the Rhine in Koblenz
Either way, however, we were treated to lots of castles on the hilltops in various states of disrepair. Eventually we came to the town of Boppart (or, as we jokingly it, Beauport), where we stopped for lunch at the fountain in the Markt square. It's a very pretty town, and there was lots going on on a Saturday afternoon. Alas, we have yet to see a Saturday market in Germany. Either it's not a tradition here, or we've just not been at the right place at the right time.

Rhine castle

Another Rhine castle
We did stock up on groceries before hitting the road again; we have learned from experience that finding open shops on a Sunday in Europe can be a very dicey affair. Tonight, we are in Sankt Goar, where we are ensconced in a small but nice hotel room with a balcony overlooking the Rhine and its truly impressive shipping traffic. Tomorrow, we are in Mainz, and on Monday morning, we take the train to Heidelberg, where we have booked an apartment for three nights.

View from our hotel balcony (and yet another Rhine castle)

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