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davidx Koblenz - A travel report by David
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Koblenz,  Germany - flag Germany -  Rheinland-Pfalz
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davidx's travel reports

Koblenz on the Rhein and Mosel

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I can’t claim to know Koblenz well but more than once I have marvelled at its location and travelled on the Rhein in both directions and on the Mosel to Trier.

Way back in history – or more precisely in the later 1950s – I did National Service in the R.A.F. – mostly in Germany. Of the places I saw on short breaks, Koblenz was one I liked best. Then I camped a night with my family in Koblenz in 1976 Does that justify my temerity in writing about Koblenz on a site with so many German members? No, but surprisingly nobody else has.

The history of Koblenz goes back a little before my time. Given its key geographical position, it’s hardly surprising that the Romans should have built a castle there. Leaping forward, it was later part of the Frankish kingdom of Charlemagne before eventually being sacked by the Normans towards the end of the 9th century. It was later part of the Holy Roman Empire. In 1018 the Emperor gave it away – to the Archbishop of Trier and, perhaps surprisingly, this attachment seems to have lasted until the 18th century.

After the French revolution it was a hotbed of French royalism, leading to its seizure by the French Revolutionary Army and a new status as capital of a French province. After a brief period of Russian occupation at the end of the Napoleonic wars, it was assigned to Prussia by the Congress of Berlin and became the seat of government for the Prussian Rhine province. The history of German unification is reasonably well known but it may be forgotten that some parts of Germany, including Koblenz, were occupied by France for a few years after the first world war. [Most of this history is taken from Wikipaedia.]

So what are my memories of Koblenz? Nothing like as clear as I might hope. I remember a delightful old town area with some interesting churches and former palaces – but vaguely. I remember the Deutches Eck, where the Mosel flows into the Rhein and a statue of the Emperor Wilhelm I is situated – fairly clearly. I’m afraid that my clearest memories of all are of the Weindorf and I think my time there may be responsible for my lack of other memories!

Favourite spots:
Rather than pick one spot, I have to name as favourite the section of the Rhein going north from Koblenz towards Bonn and south as far as Bingen, the most scenic part of the Rhein Gorge. There seem to be innumerable castles appearing on both sides of the river as you travel in a Rhein steamer. Although you lose much of one side or the other if you go by motor vehicle on either road. I am dubious about picking favourites from so long ago – definitely the 50s now, but I can almost visualise the castle of Drachenfels and the rock of the Lorelei, both the subject of numerous legends, so I have to assume that these would have been special.

What's really great:
Although the Rhein is far more spectacular on both sides of Koblenz, I felt a particular affection for its tributary, the Mosel [Moselle to many.] It’s far more relaxing and there are numerous picturesque villages with half-timbered houses. The river flows through France and Luxembourg before entering Germany near Trier, which I describe below. The villages I particularly remember are the twin ones [one each side] of Berkastel-Kues and Traben Trabach and above all Kochem.

The Mosel does have its share of castles but the vineyards are far more prominent in the river views than in the Rhein gorge – and I’m afraid they formed something of an impediment in my only attempt at a walk there. Still, their tastes in the evenings more than compensated.

Up the Mosel to the very border with Luxembourg we reach Trier, which claims to be Germany’s oldest city. Legends take it way back but there was almost certainly a town there from several hundred years BCE. It comes into greater knowledge with Julius and Augustus Caesar, the latter chartering it in the very earl part of the Christian era. By the 4th century it had attained huge importance and it actually became the main base of some later Roman emperors.
Now, as well as being a generally attractive city, it has a plethora of Roman and early Christian remains. On a more recent note, it was the birth place of Karl Marx.

Although I stayed in gasthofs in Kochem and more than once in Koblenz, the only night i remember clearly [I wonder why!] was that with Pam and the [then] children in 1976. This was at Kochem’s official camp site looking across the river to the Deutsches Eck.

Other recommendations:
I hope this stimulates one of our German members to write a better report of this lovely region – with photos. Failing that, if anybody would like to authorise me to use their photos to enliven this one, I should be happy to ask Andy to credit any points derived to them.

Published on Tuesday January 29th, 2008

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Sat, Feb 09 2008 - 02:01 PM rating by eirekay

David, I enjoy the details you have included here. Of course, I wish it had photos, but this report has a nice feel to it and is a good read.

Tue, Jan 29 2008 - 08:57 PM rating by rangutan

Great to see your first report of a place in Germany. That has beautified your travel map quite a bit, I always feel I am forced to write reports of vague memories just to extend my map but you have produced a solid description of an important corner of Germany. I still need to do a similar report for France. Images no not need to be photos, you may have memorabilia you can scan or photograph. [3.45]

Tue, Jan 29 2008 - 02:03 PM rating by christianj.

Hi David,

yes, its a shame that no one (especially me) wrote about Koblenz so far. Thank you for setting a good example!!

I live in this region (at the river Moselle) for nearly 10 years now, and I agree with you that the Mosel and all these villages are really pretty. But, between you and me, until now I didn't fell in love with the city Koblenz - and a report with all these things I do not like is not a good idea. But I should have written about the region, the villages and the wine they are growing here. I'll make it up when I'll find the time one day...

Thanks again for this report - maybe it is time for you to drop by again?


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