Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Rhine Getaway: Koblenz, Germany (4/22/2014)

Still Tuesday, April 22, 2014
At 17:00, the Viking River Cruises Program Director, Ryan, redeemed himself by leading a walking tour of Koblenz, and providing commentary. Thank you, Ryan!
Meanwhile, Kent attended a presentation on the ship, on The European Union, along with a few British citizens who did not think positively of the concept. Through experience they have learned that they are getting the short end  of the deal, as everyone  in the Union wants to move to Great Britain for their superior services.
Back to the Koblenz walking tour.
Unusual sewer cover
Festung/Fortress Ehrenbreitstein (1817-1832) across the river
Kaiser Wilhelm I Denkmal/Memorial
Yes, that is Kaiser Wilhelm I, and a memorial was first established 1897 with a statue by the sculptor Emil Hundrieser. The statue was destroyed during WWII, and since 1953 the base of the statue served as a memorial to the wish for German reunification. After German Reunification in 1990, it was decided to restore the Kaiser Wilhelm I Memorial. A replica by Düsseldorf sculptor, Raymond Kittl was dedicated in 1993.
Kaiser Wilhelm I with his "guardian angel"
The Memorial is located on a man-made headland at the confluence of the Moselle and Rhine Rivers, called the Deustcher Ecke/German Corner, which is now lined with the sixteen flags of the united German states. Nearby are three panels from the Berlin Wall.
"The sacrifice of the division, 17 June 1953, 9 November 1989"
Deustchherrenhaus/House of the Teutonic Order
(13C, rebuilt 1990-1992) now the Ludwig Museum
Basilika St. Kastor/St Castor's Basilica
(12C, reconstruction 1945-1990) 
Görres Platz fountain with
Historiensäule/History Column (2000
by Jürgen Weber tells story of town)
Jesuitenplatz with Jesuitenkirche/Jesuit Church,
Rathaus/City Hall, JohannesMüller Denkmal/Memorial
(1899 by sculptor Joseph Uphues) & Ryan
Rathaus/City Hall (16-17C as a Jesuit College,
spared during WWII, 1895 became City Hall)
Schängelbrunnen/Scalliwag Fountain
(dedicated 1941, by sculptor Carl Burger)
Schängel was the diminutive name, given at the time when Koblenz belonged to France, of the many French 'Jeans' born to German mothers, and now is an honored nickname for the children of Koblenz. Proud of their independent spirit, the statue depicts that they are not afraid to show their true thoughts of government, as the statue spits water towards the main entrance of City Hall.
Spitting Schängel (Viking)
We were then given free time.
Inside the Jesuitenkirche/Jesuit Church (1613-1617,
rebuilt 1958-1959 by architect Gottfried Böhm of Köln)
Liebfrauenkirche/Church of Our Lady
(rebuilt 1950-1955)
Vier Türme/Four towers (17C)
NW and NE corners
Vier Türme/Four towers
SE corner
Vier Türme/Four towers
SW corner
Alte Burg/Old Castle (1276-80)
Arch to Münzplatz/Mint Square
Altes Kaufhaus/Old Merchants' Hall (1419-1425, rebuilt 1961-1965)
Florinskirche/Church of St Florin
(c.1100, rebuilt 1951)
Deutscher Kaiser residence (c. 1490)
Deustcher Ecke/German Corner with flags
 Peter Altmeier Denkmal/Memorial (1981 by artist Horst Schwab)
Altmeier was Minister-President of Rhineland-Palatinate 1947-1969 
Returned to the Viking Gullveig to find Kent enjoying wine on the sundeck.
Dinner was unusual this evening, which was Taste of German Night. There was roving entertainment with an accordionist and an organ grinder.
The passengers roved as well, as three buffets were set up, and we were encouraged to visit them all.
We started in the galley, as this gave us the opportunity to see where our food was prepared. It was a spotless kitchen with fruits and vegetables artfully displayed, but it seemed relatively small!
We got samples of Schweinsbraten/roast pork, Schweinshaxe/pork knuckle, and leberkäse/sort of a liver loaf. One chef handling several pots offered weißer Spargel/white asparagus, Rüben/boiled beets, and sauerkraut. There were Maultaschen/"mouth pockets" or dough with a spinach filling, and plenty of pretzels.
Up in the Aquavit Lounge, there were also a variety of sausages (Bratwurst, Knockwurst), and Currywurst/sausage with curry sauce.
The main dining room had many of these items, plus a Rindertatar/beef tartare, Frikadelle/meatballs, and breads with cold cuts and cheeses. Desserts included Mohnkuchen/poppy seed cake and Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte/Black Forest cherry cake.
We decided to stay up for the Music Quiz, and teamed up with a couple named Wood, so our team name was Wood Stump. There were ten songs where we had to identify the title and the writers. Our Onboard Musician Peter played a good minute or so of each song, singing the lyrics in a gravelly voice. I thought he was trying to disguise the voice to make identification more difficult, but later I heard him sing "normally," and that was his own signature voice.
Two bottles of sparkling wine were to go to the first place team, and one bottle to the second place team. However, two teams tied, and both answered the tie-breaker correctly. So each of the two teams received two bottles. Apparently they shared them with everyone who stayed in the lounge afterwards.
Next: Köln.

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