Wednesday, September 27, 2000 On the road south along the Rhine River
Had a quiet night even though we found later that there was a bar two floors down under our room. They’d closed the doors because of the rain and cold, which must have helped. At breakfast we met an English couple who recommended a place called Soul near St. Johann. Also gave us a card on the Hotel Gasthof Purner in Innsbruck. He was Polish and had lived in Italy during the war. He’d left Poland and gone to France, from there to England. Said he was 77 years old. They spend three weeks every year and come over by Ferry at Dover. They were at the end of their holiday.
Weather is overcast, we left about 9 am. During his morning walk, Jim had purchased a blue card for short time street parking at a gas station. That should help us. We arrived in Koln about 10: 30 am. Got diesel; trying to keep the car half full due the strikes that are still happening in Europe. It’s still overcast. Found the parking under the Cathedral, not an easy feat! As we were leaving the car we discovered it was starting to sprinkle so we took our umbrella…good thing as we needed them later!
Walked up to the top of the tower, 509 steps…highest one we’ve ever done. But well worth the energy. Then went inside and spent time admiring the beauty. The main altar has a gold shrine, which has held the remains of the Three Magi since 1164. Parts of the church were badly damaged during WWII. Still working on repairing that damage and damage done by the environment, pollution, etc. The book we purchased states that Cologne (another name for Kohn) has a saying, “When the Cathedral is finished the world is finished”. It was raining as we left.
Leaving Koln we worked our way down the East Side of the Rhine. Tried to stay next to the river, but lots of industry. By the time we reach Koblenz, the view improved and was well worth the extra trouble. Lots of castles, quaint villages, etc. Stopped at Marksburg Castle and took the tour. We missed the turn off at first and found ourselves on a winding two-lane road headed up the mountain…no place to turn around. After several miles, Jim finally took a chance and made the U-turn. Traffic was heavy on this road which made the turn rather risky, but didn’t see any alternative. Found the entrance and had a twenty-minute wait for the next tour. At tour time there was only a young couple from Colorado and us so they gave us a tour in English, which, according to Rick Steves is very rare! She was excellent and very informative. Castle has never been damaged and has furniture, plus many museum artifacts.
On the road to Bacharach by 5 pm. We needed to cross the river. Drove for nearly an hour before we found a car ferry, that crossed the river at St. Goar, less than a ten-minute ride. We arrived at Letty’s Pension right at 6:00 pm. Jim knocked and knocked. No answer. Finally found the bell and got a response. Nice little room on the second floor on the front. Very clean, but no telephone and no TV. Jim is starting to read my book “Left Behind”. He complains, but doesn’t have much else to do. We were asleep by 10:00 pm. Jim has clogged head, hope it’s not a cold. Probably from the climb up the tower today when we got chilled at the top.