I also don't have all the pictures one could want for a holiday, partly due to being a bit lazy about taking pictures. But here I goes!
We started off with a kayaking trip on the Lahn- inspired by that excellent kayaking trip down the Ardeche last summer. It was much calmer, nobody fell out at all, although I must admit to being concerned I would come out straight away- the kayaks were a whole different design, much more manoeuvrable and also much more sensitive to shifts in your weight! Not only that, but there were chutes for getting around the occasional weir or little drops in the river, and of course our start point started off with one. Naturally it couldn't go easily, I got stuck half way down, lodged sideways against the wall! I had to be rescued, despite my best attempts at fighting my way out; not a great start. But it went much more smoothly after that- plain sailing the whole way! It was by far the easiest kayak trip of my life, the river carried us on at a reasonable enough pace that paddling was basically unnecessary a lot of the time- I sped up considerably when I did paddle :-) but there were no rapids, no rough patches, just floating along quietly. We got stuck in shallow bits once or twice, but that was about it. Oh and at the very end we forgot to tie up one of the kayaks, and my friend had to paddle downstream, find it, and paddle madly back upstream, towing the double kayak behind him! But he made it back, kayak safe, and all was well.
After the kayak trip, we started our castle tour with Schloss Braunfels, which we rather naively decided to walk to from the town we had stayed in. Granted for the fact we walked from one small town to another, it wasn't terribly far. But with big packs, and not being able to work out how to walk directly to the castle, it was a tad miserable. But also exciting. Castles!!! We got their eventually, and before they were open for business! We hid inside an extended tunnel-like archway for a while, dodging the rain, and eventually the tour opened. It turned out that you basically can't take pictures inside the castles- almost all of them had this policy- so no pictures. It was impressive though, large enough, very castle-like, and with a good collection of armour, including a full plate for a horse and knight, very impressive! The combined weight was 120kg or something insane like that- practically the weight of two people, just in armour, never mind the actual person inside it! We had a lovely tour guide too, and although the tour was in German (most of them were) she translated bits into English for us when she got a chance. And I was impressed at both her English, and her representation of stereotypical German beauty! She had the most amazing skin of anybody I have ever seen. She is secretly Snow White, I'm sure of it. On a related note, we were amazed by German teenagers, who appear to be entirely unrelated to teenagers over the rest of the world. Without exception, all the ones we encountered were polite, and had impeccably clear skin. Maybe they're imposters, and actually store their real teenagers somewhere else, in giant summer camps where they can go be spotty obnoxious teenagers by themselves. Oh right, they're called schools when it's not summer...
After Schloss Braunfels we headed for Koblenz, where our first holiday misery awaited us. After walking around the town we found no accommodation, so we wandered in to the tourist information office and asked them to book something for us. There was nothing. A huge wine festival in a small nearby town had resulted in the place being packed to the rafters, and the advised us to go a good distance to be sure to find something. Okay, no problems, we can head down the Mosel (river) now, stay there a day or two, and come back up here when the festival is over. So we got a train to Cochem, a lovely town some 50 miles or so down the Mosel. Now, I must comment on the marvellous system they had at the tourist information office there. By the time we arrived it was gone 5 O'clock, and tourist information were closed. However they had large boards in their windows to display all the accommodation offered through them, a little blurb about each place, and a light to show if they had any rooms. Not only this, but they had telephones you could dial them on, by simply dialling the corresponding number. Brilliant! If only they hadn't all been full... Time and again we called, and got the same answer. The place was full. The wine festival reached this far too it seemed. Finally we found something, it was in the last three possible options remaining, so we were incredibly relieved. It was a long walk, but we made it eventually, much to our relief.
Cochem was a lovely town, with a picturesque castle on one hill, and a giant, glowing cross atop another hill.
|Action Sam! traverses another dangerous cliff-face.|
|Burg Maus, taken from Schloss Rhinefels.|
|Also from Schloss Rhinefels, I have Burg Katz behind me.|