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Monday, July 21, 2014

Great Journey to Europe – Part IX

Just about 3 PM, we are passing the village of Stolzenfels and the Stolzenfels Castle. What a sight!


Stolzenfels from the River Rhine


Stolzenfels Castle sitting high above the village
Koblenz straddles the Rhine and sits at the confluence of the Rhine and the Moselle (or Mosel) Rivers. The city was part of a region that belonged to France after WWI, but eventually became part of Germany again during WWII and has remained such. Interestingly enough, Koblenz was occupied by the Russians in 1814, but was assigned to Prussia by the Congress of Vienna in 1822.

The region has been protected throughout history (since 1000 BC) by the fortress that stands on the Festung (Fortress) Ehrenbreitstein hill overlooking the two rivers. The fortress is a massive structure and it is obvious how it commanded the valleys that it protected.

Fortress (Festung) Ehrenbreitstein

Koblenz from the riverside is a very picturesque city with a lot going on.




Approximately 3:30, we arrived in Koblenz. Around 4 PM, we started to gather for the walking tour. Just as the tour departs shipside, the rain starts to fall. Jerry Leininger, Patsy and I turn back and eventually find ourselves in residence in the Panorama Bar. Pretty soon, we are joined by Jim Clemments and the discussion takes off in every imaginable direction. We have no problem spending the couple hoursthat everyone else is outside in the raindiscussing and solving the world’s problems.

At one point during the discussion when the talk had turned to grandchildrenas it often does with people our ageJerry Leininger stated: “Do you know why Grand Kids and Grand Parents get along so well? It is because they have a common enemy!” We rolled in the aisles for a short while.

Two hours after not taking our city walk of Koblenz, all are back on board and headed north once again. As we were already there, we watched as others began to gather in the Panorama Bar for our Aggie Cocktail Party. All 43 of us gather at the end of the Panorama Bar (with an open bar) and BS about the trip so far, what is happening on campus, and the troubles of the world. Our host, Tara Voskamp, conducts a short meeting and a trivia contest about facts concerning the Association of Former Students, giving away hats to the correct answers. Jerry wins one of the hats and gives it over to me to add to my collection. I always welcome a new hatparticularly a free new hat. Pretty much to the delight of the other travelers, we sing the “Aggie War Hymn.” As the boat begins to rock to the starboard and then to port during saw-varsity’s-horns-off, some of our fellow travelers begin to worry.

The fun ends and we turn our attention to Shelley, our tour guide from Gohagen, and learn about our day tomorrow in Cologne. Afterwards, Patsy and I enjoy a nice dinner with Jerry and Ginger Leininger and then are corralled by Carolyn Morgan to join her and other Aggies (Buddy, Steven& Joyce, Kevin & Becky, Jim & Leslie and Jim & Ginger) in the bar for more fun and entertainment. The night continued on; not looking for a stop, we partied right along with the others.

Tomorrow, we visit Cologne, our last major stop on the River Rhine.

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