Monday, March 17, 2008

December 22

The objective of the day was to find a castle for Papa. It was a frosty and sunny morning, which made for a beautiful drive. I continued to offer up my map reading skills, and we soon found ourselves in Koblenz where the Moselle and Rhine rivers meet. From a bridge we watched an amazing feat of both engineering and steering as a riverboat full of cargo made its way through the locks. For lunch we tried some delicious German food at an Imbiss. Then in the afternoon we sought out a castle. We saw many castles on the cliffs surrounding the city, but sadly it was the wrong time of year to be able to enter any. We did get out and walk around one though. It was a neat experience to realize that hundreds of years ago these strongholds were actually more than just neat-looking, moss-covered, stone structures.
On our way back to our hotel that evening, we realized that we were on the wrong side of the river and the red lines crossing the river on the map were ferries, not bridges. We would have had to backtrack back to our starting place to get to a bridge, so we ended up taking a ferry. I’d never been on a ferryboat before. It was strange for my perceptions. I was sitting in a car, moving backwards, but the cars beside me weren’t moving. Sort of like the feeling you get when the car next to you in the parking lot starts to back out.

We stopped for gas on the other side of the river. Unfortunately we didn’t realize until after the tank was full that the car required diesel. Luckily we didn’t start it. The gas station was tiny, and the clerk was not all that excited about helping us out. They had no telephone, only his cell phone. Also, it was a Saturday evening, and we couldn’t get a hold of any mechanics in the area. We finally got through to the rental company, and they sent a van and a tow truck for us. I got to ride in a German tow truck! It was quite exciting for me, even with all the other stress.

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