Cruises, Castles and Record Breaking Heat (Koblenz, Germany)

For a while there I complained about the weather A LOT. “It’s been so rainy!” I whined. Well, I am happy to report, the whining is over! Well, the whining about the rain is… no rain in almost three weeks! Yay! We finally found summer! Now, without further ado, I get to whine about… intense heat! I am mostly kidding, as the weather in Spain and Morocco (where we are now) has actually been a lot more bearable than I thought it would be. The heat in Germany however… BAD! It is ironic that as I sit writing in the desert of Morocco after being in Spain for two week (including Seville, the “frying pan” of Europe) that the hottest day(s) of our trip so far was in Koblenz, Germany. We were sad to leave Munich, but we were very excited to get to the Rhine River Valley, which had been on our Europe wish list from the very beginning of trip planning. We chose Koblenz as our home base, mostly because everywhere in the smaller towns was too expensive or already booked. After a confusing train day (it was our first experience with reserved seats, which we didn’t have, so we ended up having to switch seats and trains A LOT), we finally arrived in Koblenz, where the Rhine River meets the Mosel River. We arrived late in the day and after getting hopelessly lost getting to our Airbnb in the intense heat, we were ready to eat and relax. The main event of our two full days in this region was our cruise down the Rhine River. We boarded our boat at 9 am the next morning for a day of chugging down the river, looking at castles, drinking wine and sitting in the sun. We took the Nostalgia Tour all the way down to Rudesheim and back, which took 11 hours. We had bought our tickets the night before, so instead of waiting in line we were able to walk right onto the boat and get a prime spot right in front on the outdoor deck. We had amazing views of the castles and although 11 hours was a LONG time to be on a boat especially in 90 degree weather, we broke it up with beer, “farmhouse” mac and cheese (delicious!!) and wine.

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On our second day in Koblenz and last day in Germany we decided to go to (surprise, surprise) another castle. We took the train to get to Burg Eltz (which is incidentally Rick Steves’s favorite castle). The train actually drops off an hour down the mountain from the castle, where you can then pay to take the bus or walk. Being the cheap people we are, we chose to walk. The walk was actually quite beautiful, but also miserable, as it was the hottest day in Koblenz since 1976. Arriving at the castle hot and sweaty, we were happy to enter the cool stone chambers and courtyards.

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Berg Eltz is the most “realistic” castle we visited. Yes, realistic and castle are not usually found in the same sentence, but this castle was much smaller and less ornate than any other castle or palace we have been in so far (and there are quite a few). Our guide told us that up to 60 family members from 4 branches of the family may have lived in the castle at a time. It felt like your “average” prince’s palace, almost like visiting a normal, although slightly lalrger, home and finding out a prince lives there.

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Getting back to Koblenz was a struggle. We did not want to walk back down in the stifling heat, so we decided to take a shuttle to the bus to the train station and paid a FORTUNE to do so (15 euro for a 2 minute shuttle ride and 10 minute bus ride). At the train station we waited in the scorching sun before getting on the suffocating train (am I making it clear how hot we were?). Feeling defeated by the heat and poor from our expensive 12-minute ride down the mountain, we collapsed onto the couch of our room, fan pointed at our heads, and didn’t move for the rest of the night. Yes, I am complaining about the weather a lot. In my defense, however, we skipped spring all together. Is that normal in Europe, for there to be no nice spring days? We went from cold to rainy to hot. No spring. I missed spring. Even with the heat, we enjoyed our time in Koblenz. We probably would have explored a little more had the weather been ten degrees cooler, but the cruise was great, and the landscape beautiful. We loved Germany and someday we plan to return and explore more of the country.

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