COLOGNE, GERMANY AND THE RHINE RIVER
Viking River Cruise Tour
By Glenn Arnette, lll
I can not express the enjoyment I found while traveling down the Rhine River on the Viking Sky of the Viking River Cruise Line. The staff and traveling guest are like family. Everyone knows everyone and when touring around you feel like you have been friends for years. Amazing how I never discovered River traveling before this.
Today, travel with me down the Rhine River to Cologne, Germany.
At the end of 2000, 83 German cities were put under the microscope in a study by the German magazine FOCUS. Cologne ranked a proud second in this test. The cathedral city was, above all, able to distinguish itself as a metropolis with a high growth potential.
Cologne is the fourth-largest city in Germany and the largest in North Rhine-Westphalia. Over 2.1 million people live in the Cologne metro area, which also includes the city of Leverkusen, the Erft district, the Rhine-Bergisch district and the Oberbergisch district. Every leading industrial sector is represented here. In addition to the automotive industry, large international chemical and pharmaceutical firms are also prominent here, as well as the electrical and mechanical engineering and food production industries. It is a center for trade, business and entertainment. Cologne is now Germany’s leading city for film, radio and television production. A high export ratio and an attractive trade location make the region a magnet for entrepreneurs as well as investors.
As Cologne stands in the shadow of its magnificent cathedral, it is exciting, on the move and offers some of the best shopping in Germany, including the beer!
As we depart the vibrant city of Cologne, we sail to Moselle with its steep slopes and dramatic scenery. The entire valley is known for its wines, while certain towns and cities have other industries, there are quite a few smaller villages where everything appears to evolve around the grape-the Riesling, that is. The rocky shale soil heats up during the day and stays warm well after the sun has set.
This makes for ideal growing conditions for this grape of which crisp, dry white wines are produced.
From Moselle we head to Cochem. This is one of my favorite “little” places on earth. Cochem is dominated by the Reichsburg castle. It can be seen for miles around due to it magnificent perch on a high hill above the town. The Reichsburg itself is a romantic 17 century interpretation of the medieval castle that stood on the same sit until it was destroyed in 1689.
When you arrive you have plenty of time to stroll the little village, sample the wine and shop the few shops. But most of all the trip to the winery made a nice afternoon and put most of us to sleep just before dinner. I remember it to be a good time!
After dinner, we set sail for Koblenz, the emotional heart of Germany where the Rhine and the Moselle flow together-the “German Triangle”. Already the Romans had named their fort “ad confluentes”, the place of confluence, or “where things flow together”, although the Roman fort (today the area between Koblenz’s old town and the Moselle) was actually erected on the banks of the Moselle. At that time there was a bridge that extended from here across the river. You can still recognize the medieval foundations of the old town of Koblenz in the remains of the gothic and medieval parts of its buildings. It is presumed that Koblenz was populated as early as the middle Stone Age thanks to its favorable location.
In 1897 a memorial to Kaiser Wilhelm I was erected upon a grand plinth as thank you for the unification of the German Reich. The monument was declared to be a memorial to German Unity and for decades served to commemorate the founding of the Federal German Republic that took place in July 1948 at a hotel conference in Koblenz.
By this time you are exhausted with history and landmarks, but know that it is not over yet. Next I will take you to Rudesheim and the Rhine Valley and the famous Loreley.
The Viking Sky has such a history and your enjoyment on board while traveling is their prime interest. From excellent food all the way to a mint left on your pillow at night, you are pampered. I suggest you give the Viking River Cruises a chance to show you a first class trip at a reasonable price. Go to www.vikingrivercruises.com
Until next time, remember to check out the wed site a
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