Saturday, 21 September 2013

Last day of summer

It is 20 September, the last day of the European summer.  The first day, 21 June, was our last day at work.  Two days later, we flew out of Australia, and we've been in Europe since 27 June.  To us, it seems like a very long time.  Every day, I wake up and take note that I am still in Europe, and still on this holiday.

Jean and I are both getting excited about returning home.  I remember some years ago, a North American airline advertised 'home' as one of its most popular destinations.  It will be great to get home, and see familiar faces again. 

The Rhine river, between Koblenz and Bad Honnef, does not have terribly many castles on its banks.  We saw quite a few more yesterday as we headed towards Koblenz.  Which is a bit disappointing.  Along this stretch, you see some industry; some medieval-looking houses; churches with tall, sharp spires; towns; railway lines occasionally on both banks; and, of course, tall, green rolling hills smothered with trees.

The 200 metre high hills that follow the course of the Rhine are made up of large, sloping, jagged slabs of rock that poke out at the sides.  Often, pine trees line the very top of the hills.  As you sail along the Rhine, the hills themselves roll up and down, rising from ground level to their height of 200 metres or so and down again, like massive waves on a wildly disturbed sea.

At last we arrived at Bad Honnef, where we were met by my cousin, Renate.  It was great to see her again.  Together, the three of us walked the very long distance to our hotel.  Renate said that, in former times, the hotel would have been out of the Bad Honnef boundaries!

A modern German shopping mall: narrow with no cobbled streets, in Koblenz
The Liebfrauenkirche 
This memorial remembers the 1,000 people killed in Koblenz in the last days of the war.  The nearby church, the Liebfrauenkirche, was 87% destroyed.
A map of the Rhine area
The boats along the Rhine love kids.
Jean on deck
This could be Canberra.
A passing church
Jean laughing at a joke 
Last day of summer: notice how rugged up we are

The Rhine appears to be quite wide in places.
Another passing church
A passing castle
We were met at Bad Honnef by my cousin, Renate, the lady to the left under the sign.

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