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Koblenz is situated at the confluence of the Rhine and Moselle rivers and has it's origins in Roman times, celebrating it's 2000 year anniversary in 1992.

We stopped for the night at a stellplatz (a parking place for motorhomes usually with some limited facilities such as electric points, waste disposal etc.) on the bank of the Rhine looking across to the centre of the city.

We crossed the river by one of the main bridges and went for an explore. The best bit was an excellent lunch in an Argentinian steak house - beautiful tender and tasty meat.

Koblenz
 

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Braubach stellplatz

The next morning we had a short (about 9 mile) run to Braubach again stopping at a stellplatz right on the river Rhine. According to reports the attendant who looks after the place is very surly and unhelpful but the guy we met was absolutely fine, maybe a different man.

The afternoon was quite wet but we took a stroll between the showers through a lovely little riverside park, well laid out and maintained, and found the pier where we could catch the ship we wanted to use for a river cruise the next morning. We also found the ticket office and purchased our return tickets for Bingen.

The Rhine is very fast flowing and the upstream run takes about 5 hours but downstream only 3.

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The Rhine is very much a working river and huge quantities of freight are transported on what must be hundreds of massive barges, some tankers, some carrying containers and others carrying bulk cargo. Of course, unless you're really into such things people don't go to look at barges rather the more romantic sights the middle Rhine valley (a world heritage site) has to offer. One of the most romantic is the castle that stands directly above Braubach, now the home of the German Castles Association.

  Rhine barge   Braubach Castle  
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The Wednesday morning dawned fine, thankfully, and we walked down to the pier to catch the paddle wheel ship Goethe. She was built in 1913 so is a centenarian but non the worse for that, she made better progress against the flow than the other cruise ships and working barges. Inside she is essentially a large floating restaurant serving very good food and wines. Sue had a Schweineschnitzel with mushroom sauce and I had blood sausage with poached apple and mashed potato all washed down with a nice bottle of rosť. To finish we both had Eiskaffee.

  Goethe 1   Goethe 2  
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A principle attraction of the middle Rhine is the variety of the castles constructed on the hills on both banks. Many date back to the middle ages, some are ruins but others are hotels or residences. The different architectural styles must be of great interest to the experts. Here are a few examples.

  Castle 1   Castle 2  
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  Castle 3   Castle 4  
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All in all we thoroughly enjoyed our Rhine cruise and would thoroughly recommend it. We only travelled the relatively short distance from Braubach to Bingen but that is the truly scenic part of the river. There are many 'live aboard' cruise ships such as those operated by Viking that travel greater distances but we think we'd soon get pretty bored. Anyway it's time for us to move on.

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