Koblenz was the first stop on our tour round Germany. We visited the town as a way of breaking our journey from Dortmund to Heidelberg and arrived mid-morning in overcast weather.
Like lots of German towns, the train station is quite a way from the city centre, so we followed the rather confusing signs that took us on a rather long walk along the Rhinepromenade to the Deutsches Eck (the confluence where the Mosel River meets the Rhine.
From here we took a cable car across the Rhine to the other bank, where the Ehrenbreitstein fortress stands over the town. The combined ticket includes a return journey on the cable car and entrance to the fortress, which is a lot bigger than it looks! When we visited there was a temporary photography exhibition and they were dismantling the staging from a production of Bizet’s Carmen!
We had lunch in the fortress’ restaurant where we enjoyed some fantastic local cuisine, Mosel wine and a Bitburger beer.
Afterwards the skies had cleared and there were beautiful views across the Rhine and, after taking a few snaps, we continued our tour of the castle. A highlight for us was the ‘Ausgrabung’ or ‘excavation’ multi-media exhibition in the fortress’ cellars, which explained the castle’s history from the Middle Ages to the Second World War.
After finishing in the fortress, we headed back down the cable car to the town, where we explored the old quarter. We particularly enjoyed St. Castor’s Church, which has a wonderful collection of medieval stained glass and statues! The streets of the historic centre were beautiful and after a wander past the Schangelbrunnen fountain (without getting wet from its hidden jets), we enjoyed our afternoon coffee at a gorgeous little café, perfect for Instagram 😉
Unfortunately, we had to cut our time at the café short because it suddenly started to thunder! The skies blackened and we had to run for cover!
After calling in at the Tourist Information for some Mosel wine and a browse around a branch of Karstadt department stores, we headed back to the train station to continue our journey on to Heidelberg and Munich.
A week later, after our stay in Munich, we broke our homeward journey to Dortmund with a half day trip to Stuttgart, the capital of Baden Württemberg. Unfortunately, it was a Sunday and most things were closed but we did enjoy the Festival of Culture, organised by the Department of Immigration and Social Integration. It was wonderful to see the city’s minority communities celebrating their culture through food, song and dance! A highlight for us was the group of Korean drummers!
Another special event was taking place that day as well. The travelling Hamburg Fish Market was celebrating its last day in Stuttgart and it was amazing to wander round the stalls selling all manner of seafood (and some very tempting cocktails)! Our favourite was the fried fish stall which was set up in a helter-skelter-style stall. The fish was cooked to perfection above and was then pushed down a slide to the servers below!
We then headed to the Staatsgalerie, which houses an extremely diverse collection of artworks. We were greeted at the entrance by one of Henry Moore’s sculptures and with a student ticket, entrance to the permanent collections was free! The gallery has work by several well known artists including Goya, Mondrian, Miró and a whole room of Picasso, including some of his sculpture work!
After spending several hours round the gallery, we enjoyed a quick Eisschokolade on the stepped terrace of the Terazza Café on the Königstrasse with views over the Schlossplatz until we had to head back to the train station. Sadly, our tour of Germany had come to an end.