Emerald Star Cruise Photos
Day 5: Rhine & Koblenz (5)
The cable-car ride began in the lower station of the Seilbahn Koblenz, near the Deutsches Eck and Emerald Star.
The cabins circled through the station without stopping (like chairs or gondolas on a ski lift), and passengers stepped aboard under the supervision of a Seilbahn employee.
Each of the Seilbahn's 18 cabins held a maximum of 35 passengers, but ours wasn't nearly that crowded, and we were able to get a front-row seat.
We grabbed this snapshot of Emerald Star from the cable car right after leaving the riverfront station.
The views from the cable car were stunning as we crossed the Rhine and climbed 112 meters or 367 feet to the Ehrenbreitstein fortress.
At the Seilbahn's upper station, we followed a short path to the Festung Ehrenbreitstein.
Ehrenbreitstein is newer than it looks: Its medieval predecessor was destroyed by the French in 1799, and work began on the current fortress in 1817, when the Prussians made Koblenz a key military installation on the Rhine.
Stone arches and steel entrance gates led us into the Festung, which is said to be Europe's largest fortress complex after Gibraltar. During times of full mobilization, Ehrenbreitstein had a combat strength of 1,500 soldiers and 80 cannons.
The military is long gone from Ehrenbreitstein. During our visit, the staff of Theater Koblenz were setting up for a production of Jesus Christ Superstar within the fortress walls.
The , or Upper Castle Courtyard, houses a museum and a restaurant-casino. Just around the corner, in the , is the Jugendherberge Koblenz, the city's official DHJ youth hostel.
Our guide said good-bye, leaving us to enjoy the panoramic viewing terrace overlooking the Rhine. (Note the inevitable "love padlocks" below the safety railing.)
We put Cheryl's Sony RX100 IV camera in "Panorama" mode to capture this view of the Rhine, the Moselle, the cable car, and central Koblenz. (Click here and maximize your browser window for a larger image.)
We used the maximum 30X telephoto setting of Durant's Sony HX90v pocket camera to take this picture of Emerald Star from the fortress.
The HX90v also let us grab telephoto snapshots of the Seilbahn Koblenz's lower station, the Deutsches Eck, and a boatyard on the Moselle.
We wanted to spend the rest of our free time in downtown Koblenz before returning to Emerald Star, so we left the fortress.
The descent to Koblenz from Festung Ehrenbreitstein was, if anything, even more dramatic than our earlier ascent. (In this photo, you can see a river ship, Viking Lofn, moored next to the Deutsches Eck.)
We passed over railroad tracks and a barge laden with scrap metal as our cable car's gondola glided down and across the Rhine.
Reflections on our gondola's windows enhanced this view of Emerald Star as we approached the Seilbahn's lower station.
We spent the next 45 minutes or so walking around downtown Koblenz.
We had just enough time for a gelato at a local Eis mecca, eGeLoSia, where the line was long but the efficient and friendly staff kept things moving.
Shortly before "All Aboard" time at 5:45 p.m., we snapped this farewell picture of Ehrenbreitstein fortress with Emerald Star in the foreground.
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