Castles Along The Rhine, River Antoinette, Sept 2011

An indoor pool looking out over the stern and a real balcony with retracting windows were the most surprising upgrades from previous models.

Castles Along The Rhine is perhaps the most elegant itinerary of all the European River cruises … And the River Antionette is the most elegant of the European River Ships.    The cruise starts (or ends) in Amsterdam.   Amsterdam is definitely worth spending an extra day or two.  (see another post here)


The first stop is at Cologne, (or Koln in German) … home of the largest and tallest cathedral in northern Europe … and the largest bell that really rings.

That's a really big bell. If you want to take a picture of it ... it will cost you 325 steps (of the 515 total)

I climbed to the top of the 515 steps last time we were here, 5 years ago … not feeling so ambitious this time. As our guide said, “the view from the top is breathtaking, but so is the climb to getting there”

Construction on the cathedral began in 1248 and continued till the late 1800’s (with a 300 year break for wars etc)   The work actually continues today with over 100 workers continually working on maintenance and restoration.

Here are some pieces of a gargoyle which are being restored by replacing the original steel pins which rust and expand, with new cadmium - titanium pins, which dont.

This bridge was built during Prussian times in the late 1800’s. It was bombed by the Allies in WW II but didn’t go down. Land forces dynamited it but only part of it fell … only to be fished out of the water and replaced on its pillars.





The stained glass windows are more than beautiful … they told the Bible stories to the 95% illiterate people of previous centuries. The main window behind the main alter does an Old Testament -- New Testament commentary.

Koblenz  … is a nice little German town on the Rhine,  west of the famous Rhine Gorge, where the wine grapes grow on the hills riverside.  It was the first place we’ve seen real gallery level wood turning art … Dave noticed.

For an old city which celebrated ins 2000th birthday back in 1992, Koblenz is in great form.  First, it sits on prime real estate, at the confluence of two of Germany’s major rivers, the Rhine and the Moselle.  Instead of industrial builidings, there is a park.  Deutsches Eck, right where the two rivers meet.  Deutsches Eck, which translates as “corner of Germany” is dedicated to unity.  In 1897, in a spirit of nationalism, a statue of Kaiser Wilhelm I, the first emperor of the newly united Germany, was erected.

The Romans named their settlement Castrum ad Confluetes (The Camp at the Confluence) which was later corrupted to Koblenz.  During the Middle Ages the town grew in power, controlling trade on both rivers.  The massive fortress, Festung Ehrenbreitstein, built in the 12th centurey is Europe’s largest fortress.

In 1801 Napoleon’s forces arrived partially destroyed the fortress, then occupied the city for almost 20 years.  When they left, the 16th century fortress cannon went back to France with them.  The Germans took it back in 1940, only to lose it again to the French in 1945.  A  gesture of peace, French President Mitterand returned the 15 ton cannon in 1984.

Today, Koblenz serves as the cultural, administrative, and business center of the Middle Rhine.

Its strategic location assures its place as a vital link in the international river trade routes of Europe.  There are steamers, barges, tugs and every other kind of river boat constantly moving up and down river.  Although air raids during World War II destroyed 85% of the city, extensive renovations have successfully preserved the ambience of Old






Here the linking factor is the dove. The old dove who returned to Noah’s ark with a message of hope and the new dove who descended on Jesus and would descend on the disciples.











Here are some more photos from our trip.




Double headed Eagle ... Symbol of the Holy Roman EmpireGreatOpen Air Market in Lugano. Lugano is in the very south of Switzerland, near the Italian border and near the famous Lake Como.Organist in a CathedralMore of the Rhine riverside.Riding the Train

We took a side trip to Lugano ... It's on Lake Lugano, where our friend Joanne Lugano Bettosini is from. Man hole covers make definitive identifiers ...A lakeside restaurant on the shores of Lake Lugano viewed from our ferry boat.Getting a drink the medievel way in downtown Lugano.

Sailing on Lake Lucerne. All the larger Swiss lakes have ferry services around the lake.

We are on top of a Single Barrel of wine ... A really big barrel.

Great Food

Getting around on the trains is easy. A lot easier than trains in the US.

A Stork's Nest on top of the church roof.

More Castles

Castles, Castles, Castles. There is one short stretch of river with over 30 castles.

This building was formerly the "Wine Guild"

A side trip to the Black Forest ... which is famous for Cuckoo Clocks.

A German Lady Roofer ... Installing a Thatch Roof.

Filed Under: Destinations, Europe, Luelle and Dave's Travel Log, Rivers

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