(This post was written yesterday and was meant to be posted then, but the Internet was to slow on the computer to work. The complimentary wi-fi seems to work much better on mobile devices than computers I’ve noticed.) Yesterday we were in Koblenz, Germany, which also was the day of oddballs on the riverboat (which is typical of any cruising experience anymore). I will admit I was a bit disappointed in Koblenz because we weren’t able to explore the city at all because of timing. On this itinerary we were only in Koblenz for a short time and this was spent up all on one of two tour options. The riverboat actually moves in Koblenz to another location once the tours have disembarked. If you did not take one of the Viking tours, really you had to stay on the boat since the tours did not stay in Koblenz nor was any transportation provided to the new docking location; plus the new location was in the middle of nowhere. Originally we had planned on going on the tour to Marksburg Castle. Marksburg Castle actually is close to Braubach and is one of the best preserved castles on the Rhine. The castle was built 700 years ago but really was used more as a prison and housing for soldiers who were hospitalized. This really wasn’t the traditional castle many of us are used to because it wasn’t really used for how I envision a castle.
A couple days before another tour option was announced to Ehrenbreistein Fortress, which is closer to Koblenz. My Mom was interested in this tour option so we decided to go on it instead. Ehrenbreistein Fortess sits on the “mountains” above Koblenz and overlooks both the Rhine and Moselle rivers. This fortress is actually one of Europe’s second largest preserved fortresses today. The fortress was constructed between 1817 to 1828, however the fortress does have origins back to the first century. Before starting the tour to Ehrenbreistein, we walked around the dock area for the riverboat and saw the statue for where the Rhine and Moselle rivers meet. Once the tour group met we were then provided cable car tickets, which would take us from Koblenz up to the fortress. The cable car has fantastic views of the Rhine and also of Koblenz. The ride was short and then we were up at the fortress. Now I was disappointed in the tour because I absolutely hate most gimmicky tour guides. An actor took us throughout the fortress and I found him to be obnoxious. After awhile I did turn off my audio listening device because he was beyond annoying. We actually did not get to see much of the fortress because he talked forever about fake stories. After awhile we did ditch him near the end and went to the lookout point. This was the best part of going to the fortress because the fortress has gorgeous views of the area.
After the tour was over we were taken to the new docking location for the ship and began our afternoon transit of the Rhine.
We did actually hit a small rain and hailstorm, but luckily that only lasted for 30 minutes. For the transit of the Rhine we did sit on the sun deck. The program director provided some commentary throughout to let us know where we were and when we would pass the Lorelei.
In the afternoon Viking did provide a demonstration of Rudesheimer Coffee and had a German teatime in the lounge. This was a fun break to have in between watching where we were sailing on the Rhine. Now for the most part everyone has been normal and nice on this cruise. Yesterday though was the day for some oddballs. During the sailing on the Rhine there were two oddballs up on deck. One group brought out Bose speakers towards the end of the sailing and started playing country music. Now this really was just not the time or place for this, plus they were huge speakers. Who would bring those to Europe? The most irritating people though were the umbrella couple. We had one of the front tables up on the Sun Deck but there were two chairs in front of us, the couple asked if they could sit there and we had no problem with that. At one point the idiotic husband goes downstairs and grabs one of the huge red Viking umbrellas. They literally open up the huge umbrella that then blocked our entire view. At this point we actually had to move our chairs and table since they weren’t closing up the umbrella anytime soon. These were just a few of the odd examples yesterday, not including the odd couple from Vancouver at dinner. As in any typical cruising experience lately there are some oddities that sail.