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Thursday, April 14, 2016

Day 8 - Koblenz, Germany with Added Photos

We awoke this morning nearing Koblenz.  Another wonderful breakfast buffet in the restaurant.  The food is lovely, fresh and untouched by my hands during preparation.  Only during consumption do I have contact of any kind.  A person could become accustomed to this lifestyle.

We are meeting so many folks from places we have visited in Canada.  Calgary, British Columbia, Toronto, Ottawa and two couples from tiny Owen Sound area.  And the couples did not know each other.  And should we ever visit the area again we have a place to sleep other than our car!  Mr. Flynn of Calgary was in shock when we properly pronounced Kananiskis.  I share this to say we are enjoying the other passengers as well as the countries.

It is now 65 days post knee surgery.  We will be visiting a medieval castle today.  There will be at least 500 steps to climb and descend.  Cobblestones for pathways, but we have already been on cobblestones for days. So we climb onto the tour bus and are off to Marksburg Castle. The villages along the way are filled with half timber homes and buildings.

First view from the bus shows why this location was chosen for a fortress.  Even with a blacktop switchback access for us to walk it took a while and many were quite winded by the climb.  Me for sure!

Rob, the program director, hands us over to our guide.  The keys to the castle open the gate to allow our entry. And now there is no turning back .. and very few hand rails....
These are our first set of stairs.......


After viewing the cannons we walk the path by the edge of the castle.  It has a kitchen garden.  There were presses for wine making in past centuries.  As most know even children drank the brewed beverages as water was contaminated.

We see the outside of the toilet and later the inside which was just off the main dining hall.  By the way it was considered rude to close the door while on the 'throne' as you would not be able to carry on a conversation. This made me remember going to the outhouse as a child.  Since it was a two 'holer' friends would go together.  Yep, we had a Sears catalog for cleanup.  There was no catalog in the castle..

There were stables within the walls in the past, dining room, kitchen, bedroom, a great hall, private chapel and in a level we did not visit, a torture chamber. Some of the torture equipment was on display in the former stable. One room held a collection of armor through the years of the castles existence.

The last 'flight of stairs' is just the same worn rock slope we first climbed as 'stairs'.  I work cautiously down the slope only to be greeted by the horror filled stares of another tour group.  Most of that group stood with out stretched hands trying to help Hubby and me!  Talk about a torture chamber!

The tour ended with the blacksmith's shop.  We miss that as it took us that long to get down the 'stairs'.  Back out the gate and it is time for shopping while the remainder of the groups complete their castle tour.  A few more photos and we begin the descent to the buses.

This is my first castle fortress to visit and it does not disappoint.  Each area of the castle had its own multiple stories of use through different occupations.  Some areas remained used the same through the centuries.  Others, as we folks do, changed as the times demanded.

The ship had moved through a lock or two during the tour.  It has not arrived at the meeting point.  We have a few minutes to wander around dockside park.  A few more photos and the ship arrives.  We eventually are able to board.  It is lunch time so we must eat.

Afternoon cruising on the Middle Rhine is a welcome relief to our legs. Vineyards climb hill after hill.  Small villages with church steeple nestled in the valleys and river edges.  Remains of long abandoned fortresses can be seen.  There are castles with modern additions.

Time for dinner with all the trimmings.  And it is bedtime for us old folks.  After all we did walk about 3.7 miles today.

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