My friend Karen in the Netherlands: 4 nights, 2 countries, 5 cities (Part 1, Koblenz)

     My Mexican friend Karen has many gifts. One of them is being a mentor. Her mission is to empower educators by giving them sparkling red shoes and leading them through the yellow brick road of understanding. As if with a magic wand, and while I was still in Mexico oblivious to the fact that a few years later I'd move to the Netherlands, she showed me all the fun there was not in helping students learn but in leading them to understand. I'll forever be grateful. Thank you, my dear Sagittarius. (Our birthday is on the same day!)

     This October, after eight years of friendship where both of us endured broken relationships, sickness, loss, fought battles, personal growth, and even her daughter's wedding in between, she made a dream and a promise come true by spending a few days in Eindhoven before arriving in Israel, her final destination. It was my turn to build life-lasting memories. During the few days she stayed with us, she got to experience Koblenz, Nuenen, Eindhoven, Den Haag, and Amsterdam. Here is how it went, what was learned, and some tips if you ever plan on going to any of these places!

Koblenz, Germany

      Eindhoven to Koblenz isn't a short ride. I know. You know. My love knows. Karen found out. Why did we do it? Three reasons: one, cross a border; two, see the Rhine River again; and three, go somewhere my darling and I hadn't previously been to. Maybe it's happened to you, but we've discovered we don't mind revisiting places we've been before, but we genuinely enjoy spending time exploring the ones we haven't. There are some one will never and ever get tired of, but really, how many times can one go to, let's say, Keukenhof? 
     But back to Koblenz. The car ride just flew by, we girls uninterruptedly chatting about this and that, and Spinoza. I'll come back to this one later. Once in Koblenz, we parked right by the tourist information center so its convenience was unbeatable. Here's a map of the place so you get an idea of the city's layout.

     Since the arrival was rather late because of our late breakfast and general vacation mode, some key places were not visited. Still, I can suggest five not-to-missed spots: the cable car, Ehrenbreitstein Fortress, the History Column, the Thumb and lunch at Maximilians Altes Kaufhaus. Oh, and a geocache! 
     As for the cable car, you get to cross the Rhine River for later admiring Koblenz from a distance, especially breathtaking is the marriage of its two scenic rivers, Mosel and Rhine. By the way, did you know the Mosel River is the river that gives its name to Moselle wine? It's produced in the three countries this river goes along: France, Luxembourg, and Germany. I read that high-quality Mosel wine is synonymous with Riesling. Guess I have to check Vivino out. ;-)

Mosel and Rhine Rivers, Koblenz

     In order to get to this charming view, we briskly walked along Ehrenbreitstein's enduring stone walls and museums. If you have kids or still listen to the child in you, you'll find the children's museum, Landesmuseum Koblenz, quite entertaining. 

Ehrenbreitstein Fortress

     Once back in Koblenz, we decided to look for a place where we could find local food and people. I asked Google for help and we ended up merrily eating heartly authentic food at Maximilians Altes Kaufhaus. R & Karen ordered warm, homey beef goulash soup, while I went for the traditional schnitzel. The food, prices, and atmosphere were superb and its location by the Mosel River outstanding!

     Having replenished our calorie intake in order to continue, we started strolling through this timeless city, encountering hidden treasures, like the Thumb or the History Column. I was especially blown away by the last. In ten scenes, from bottom to top, it tells Koblenz story in sequence, beginning with the Romans and including the crusades, the 30-year war, the French Revolution, World War II, and the city today. I wish I'd taken more photos, but don't despair! I found this webpage where you can see every scene in detail. 

The Thumb
History Column

     Last but not least, R asked if we wanted to find a geocache. I mean, who doesn't?! Yes, yes, many don't, but we love it! It was rather dark, so we thought of leaving without it. It was just then that....we found it! I can't give away its exact location, but a clue hurts no one, right? (To read more on geocaching, you can go here.)

     I'd definitely look forward to coming back, even better if taking a river cruise down the Romantic Rhine too. If anyone has done so, please do get in touch to share your experience. I'd love to learn about it!

     There's still more to share about Nuenen, Eindhoven, Den Haag, and Amsterdam. I hope you'll want to read the next post. As for now, I must be a house manager and delay my responsibilities no more. 

Tot de volgende keer!


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