Friday 23 June 2017
I picked Sylvia up from the Royal Canin head office at 4pm and we drove to Marseilles where we caught a flight to Frankfurt. With the state of emergency still in place in France it is now necessary to battle lengthy cues at emigration even when traveling within the EU.
Arriving in Frankfurt we were met by my sister Rachel and her husband, Edward. Heading through Wiesbaden and down alongside the Rhine river, we arrived at their place in the picturesque village of Woolerschied in the hills not far from Lorch. Their adult children, Tristan and Killian, were there to meet us. We had a pleasant evening chatting and catching up until well after midnight. It had been three years since my last visit. Rachel had visited NZ after the death of out brother Gareth in April last year.
The next morning we rose a little late to a traditional German breakfast of breads, meats, cheeses and coffee. Mid morning we set off to Kaub, a town on the Rhine famous for its mid-river castle, built in 1327, originally as just a tower to collect tolls on the river. Years later the outer structure was added after the pope, through the local bishop, told the owner to stop collecting the tax or he would be both excommunicated and attacked. He told the pope where to go and built the outer structure in the shape of a ship to break up the river ice and reinforced the structure with soldiers and cannons. Tolls were collected here up until the mid 1800s.
This place is also where in 1814 Field Marshal Blucher built a bridge out of boats and took his twenty thousand Prussian and Russian troops across the river to give Nepoleon a spanking.
This part of the river has a number of castles mostly on top of the surround[ding hills. The river is also one of the busiest cargo rivers in Europe.
From there we drove alongside the river as Rachel gave us a running commentary on the stories around the many castles on this part of the river. Tristan was keen to demonstrate the speed and handling of his new company car, an M3 BMW; the performance was somewhat governed by his mother from the back seat.
We then headed up the hill to a place called Loreley, apparently it got its name from a young lady who fell off there a few centeries ago, romance or lack of was involved. Here in the 1930 Hitler had a 17,000 seat auditorium built. It is still in use today. There is an open air bar on the edge of the cliff with stunning views over the river. The management had yet to hear about the great German efficiency as the service was worse than bad. Eventually we got a drink and enjoyed the stunning views while chatting away.
Later in the afternoon we returned to their place where Edward cooked up a variety of meats on the grill. We ate, drank and chatted again late into the evening.
Sunday morning after another late start and great breakfast it was time to head back to the airport.
Tristan and Killian dropped us off for our afternoon flight back to Marseilles.