Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Rap It Up

Have you ever noticed that there is an elite group of celebrities that are off limits as far as the media (or anyone else, for that matter) finding fault with anything they do or say.  Yes, there are those that are so revered for their talent when they occasionally say something stupid or rude, we pretend we were struck with total deafness and didn't hear a word of it. OR...if it was heard and repeated there is the thought, "They earned the right to say whatever they want".  (but then...does anyone really earn the right to be rude?)

Spoiler Alert: Yes, I am going to say something negative about Hollywood royalty.  If it helps.... I am somewhat conflicted about calling someone out for
something, when usually this person is a class act. 

Thought Number One: Was It the Right Time or the Right Place?

I was more than a tad ( tad is a limited quantity that is more than a smidgen but less than a bucket-full) when I heard the speech that Meryl Streep gave at the National Board of Review dinner in New York City a couple of weeks ago.

Streep was at the event to honor Emma Thompson for her portrayal of Mary Poppins’ creator, PL Travers in the Disney film, Saving Mr Banks.  The speech started off well enough with some kind remarks about her friend.

 She said of her good chum: ‘Not only is she not irascible, she’s practically a saint. There’s something so consoling about that old trope, but Emma makes you want to kill yourself, because she’s a beautiful artist, she’s a writer, she’s a thinker, she’s a living, acting conscience.’

You have to admit...that is some serious praise she is bestowing....although...I am going out on a limb here that the actual  number of people wanting to kill themselves over Emma's talents might be lower that Meryl implied. (I for one, am pretty secure in my mediocrity.)

Anyway....after a couple more  platitudes were tossed Emma's way, the subject took a U-turn. She then went off on a scathing synopses of what a jerk Walt Disney was.  Her tirade called him a "hideous anti-Semite and gender bigot.  She felt the need to read a letter Walt wrote in 1938 to an aspiring female animator, that pretty much said the woman had no chance to be an animator for the Disney organization,  as she was the wrong gender to work in such a creative endeavor.

She reinforced her point by reading a statement from one of  Disney's associates, animator Ward Kimbal who reported that Walt Disney didn’t really like women, Quoting the  esteemed animator regarding his old boss: ‘He didn’t trust women or cats.’  (BTW..there are a number of articles that came out to both support her claims and others that disputed her claims.  One of the most interesting articles was Fact Checking Meryl Streep's Disney Bashing Speech.)

He didn't trust cats???

My beef about her speech had less to do with her comments about Disney and more about the inappropriate place and timing of her remarks such as:

1.  Why use Emma Thompsons big night as an anti-Disney forum?  The movie in which Emma was being honored for  is a Disney production.  Shouldn't this be more about Emma and less about the production company or the movie's subject. 

2.  While the facts may be correct,...perhaps Disney was the worst example of a woman-hating, bigot, (I haven't a clue to the inner thoughts of the man) but that was 30 years ago and he isn't around to tell his side of the story.

3. Even if we go with the premise that Walt was a misogynist and bigot...even then... does it seem right to use that forum to bash him at an award ceremony honoring an actor that appeared in  a movie produced by Disney company about the man, Walt Disney?

4. AND lastly, if she really has a HUGE issue with the man and his company, I would think Meryl wouldn't be working for him.   I bet she cashes the paychecks coming in  for Into the Woods.  Her latest project is a Walt Disney Production. 

Of course that wasn't the end of her little speech.... NO...she went one step further...by adding....

 ‘there is a piece of received wisdom that says that the most creative people are often odd, or irritating,   eccentric, damaged, difficult. That along with enormous creativity come certain deficits in humanity or decency. We are familiar with this trope in our business: Mozart, Van Gogh, Tarantino, Eminem,’

OK...I have questions...Did she mean "perceived wisdom?"

Why does she keep using the word "trope"?  It it a favorite word of hers?

What makes Mozart, Van Gogh, Tarantino, and Eminem deficient in decency or in humanity?  I am not an expert on any of those men but I think I am safe in saying they were decent enough not to trash Meryl Streep at a dinner in her honor. I am not sure people with problems of any kind can be deemed lacking decency or humanity.   Plus, I find it interesting that she is only picking on men. Does that make her a gender bigot?

So...Thought Number Two:   Crabby Pants and I have decided to do a parody. 

As you might imagine, rap music isn't exactly my #1 choice as far as music genres go...so there are  no expectations here at TAOBC,  that the rap duo of Ceeinpee and Cher-hanna achieving super-stardom.

(Explanation...Given that Marshall Mathers turns into the name Eminem....you can appreciate that Crabby Pants would be Ceeinpee....right?)

Am I safe in assuming, that Chris Brown and Rihanna are offended?

I think you have monsters alive in your head,
Telling you to say stuff that’s better unsaid,
You may think you’re special, but keep it under your breath
It just sounds so crazy, yeah it just sounds so crazy...

I may not be a rapper or rich or secure
But I don’t stand on platforms and make you endure
My opinions and comments that cut to the quick,
Besides being rude, they are making us sick,
We get you’re  a diva, and a great actress too,
But no one’s a fan... like you are of you.
Mozart is spinning in his grave at the news
That he’s odd and deficient, at least in your view
I guess Tarantino will have to do a movie that’s dark
And full of expletives to prove your remark
That he’s  tormented and anguished and humanity’s blight,
Eminem admits that he’s crazy so, you won’t get a fight.
Maybe Van Gogh didn’t hear, there's a chance that might be,
But really, can't you...Do unto others as you want done to thee. 

Repeat Chorus

I think you have monsters alive in your head,
Telling you to say stuff that’s better unsaid,
You may think you’re special, but keep it under your breath
It just sounds so crazy, yeah it just sounds so crazy...

Just for the sake of giving you the appropriate tune...I picked out one of the other parodies of this song.

Join Top Sites Tuesday and be #1 on BlogDumps!
The purpose of this Meme is to encourage
Networking between bloggers and to have fun while doing it!
Make sure to visit all the other participants and leave comments

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

From Here to There

Amsterdam...Part Twee (Dutch for the word two)

I am committed to wrap up my travelogue today....yes, I am sure you are eager for me to get back to my normal nonsense (with the word normal being used in the most broad spectrum sort of way).  The problem for today is whittling down this last post as I still had a number of things I originally planned to talk about. Things like cell phone usage in Europe, acquiring health care coverage for when you are overseas and buying media minutes for your tablet and/or computer.These things have changed considerably since our last trip abroad. BUT...I sense that it is time to wrap this up.  

 For the sake of expediency, I have opted to talk about lodging and transportation to and around Amsterdam.

Thought Number One:  Getting TO Amsterdam

We went to the  Andernach train station early for our 9:00 AM train anticipating arriving in Amsterdam around 1:00 PM.  What is the old Robert Burns poem about the "best laid plans of mice and men often go awry"? 

Although...just a quick sidebar:  Are we sure that is what he was saying?  That Scottish brogue being more than a tad indecipherable doesn't exactly say that. 

But Mousie, thou art no thy lane, 
In proving foresight may be vain;
The best laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft agley
And lea'e usnought but grief and pain
For promised joy!

But, as I was saying, our plan was to leave Adernach and arrive in Amsterdam in time for a late lunch.  But...in a far less poetic rendition..Our plans went to shit.

We arrived at the Andernach Bahn station with time to spare, only to find out that the Regional Express train was running 20 minutes late.  No problem (yet) except for the fact that train stations in Germany aren't heated and that left an extra 20 minutes of freezing out bums off.  

Tick, tock, tick, tock....20 minutes comes and goes.  

After 40 minutes, it became exceedingly clear, that we would  miss out Dusseldorf connection for an ICE train into Amsterdam.  

Last one on is a rotten egg
Sorry...but I have to have another sidebar:  There are several types of trains in Germany. The smaller towns like Andernach have either  Regionalbahn or Regional Express trains to service their commuters.   (there are other types, as well,  but for the sake of this discussion...we were waiting for a Regional Express train.  The Regional Express train was to take us to Dusseldorf to catch an ICE train.  ICE trains are the super-fast trains that have fewer, if any,  stops between the larger cities. They reach speeds up to 320 MPH.  

Dusseldorf station..looking for a heated place to hang out

OK...back to the train.  The Regional Express train finally showed up in Andernach about an hour and 20 minutes late thus getting us into Dusseldorf around 12:30.  Needless to say the ICE train was long gone. We make our way to the Bahn counter to find out that the next ICE train out to Amsterdam is at 5:00 PM which would put us into Amsterdam at around 8:00. 

Despite the set back, we found a cafe  in the station and bought some Wifi for our Ipads and settled in for 4.5 hours. (I had bought European plans for our Iphones but not our IPads.) The 5:00 train was right on time, letting Bahn earn back a portion of my lost respect for them. 

Once we finally made it into Amsterdam it was raining, but thankfully, Hubby had picked a hotel that was less than 5 minutes from the train station.

The Sint Nicolaas...If you ever have occasion to travel to Amsterdam there are a lot of lovely hotels, but you would be hard pressed to find one as charming and as friendly as the Sint Nicolaas.

Looking toward the train station
from our window.

The building was once a harbor office that sat on a point where two canals met.  The canals were filled in at some point in the 19th century, leaving it in the heart of the city center and within walking distance of most of the major tourist destinations.  We booked the top floor room where the original hoisting beams remain.I am sure it is probably one of the smallest rooms in the hotel but it is the only room (out of the 27 rooms) that has a little Juliette balcony. This would be where the freight door would open as cargo was lifted into the harbor office back in the day.

After we got checked in we went out for a late supper at an Argentinian Steakhouse and walked around the city center for awhile

I was surprised to see how nice the Amsterdam Christmas Market was.  I expected that the German Markets would be superior as they are more widely advertised. but while the Amsterdam market is considerably smaller, the booths had things that I hadn't seen elsewhere.  With just 2 weeks before Christmas there were a lot of holiday shoppers out in both the Christmas Market and the Amsterdam shops.

Thought Number Two:  Getting Around Amsterdam

The following morning, we were excited  to wake up and  see sunshine...at least for the time being. It not only rained from time to time but at several points, it snowed.

As for getting around Amsterdam...you can walk just about anywhere but if you need or want other options there are trams, water taxis, (car) taxis and bicycles.

Yes, the bicycles are the normal mode of transportation in Amsterdam.  Depending on the website, the numbers vary but I've read articles claiming everything from 80,000 to 881,000 bikes are in the city. (click here for Amsterdam a City of Bikes )

a portion of the bike parking in front of the train station

 You probably would never need or want  a car (thankfully) as parking is a hassle. Our hotel offered a valet service if a person opted to drive into town,  but I never quite figured out where a person would park, even for that. 

On our first morning, we decided to walk to the Anne Frank House.  It was a lovely walk and was less than 15 minutes to the museum. The lines are usually lined up around the block so it is a good idea to buy your tickets online. 

Yet another sidebar:  As with all things dealing with the atrocities committed and  endured in WWII, visiting the Anne Frank House isn't meant to be cheerful.  It was interesting and informative and heartbreaking.  It had been years since I read her diary, but it was gut wrenching to see the actual diary and walk through the hidden annex. I re-read the book when I got home and found it more meaningful with an advantage of seeing the actual location. 

Upon leaving the museum there was a canal boat station within just a few yards from the museums exit. We had purchased 24 hour passes prior to our arrival so, it was just a matter of boarding one of the boats.

The boat tours are a wonderful way to get around Amsterdam.  You can buy boat passes for various lengths of time.  Within whatever time frame you purchased, you  can get on and off the boats as often as you like to visit museums, or any of the cities districts. The boats will pretty much get you to any part of Amsterdam. BTW...all the different companies follow pretty much the same route.

Because of time and space limitations as far as this blog post goes,  I won't give you a play by play of every museum, church, monument, shop etc. that we toured.  (I hear you collectively sigh the sigh of relief). We managed to see most of the districts with enough time to go back to Dam Square and hit a couple more shops for souvenirs before it was time to retrieve our luggage from the hotel. (We checked our bags at the hotel after checking out earlier in the day.)

On the day of our departure, we were scheduled to catch a 5:00 ICE  train into Cologne.  Once we were back in Cologne we would catch a Regional Express back into Andernach.  Again...Gang Aft Agley.  That Robert Burns really knew what he was talking about.

This is the second part of the video that is a compilation of photos from  my husband's 2 prior visits and my visit into Amsterdam.  The first video that includes the hotel and Anne Frank House pictures was on my last post  Two Sided Guilder.  

Join Top Sites Tuesday and be #1 on BlogDumps!
The purpose of this Meme is to encourage
Networking between bloggers and to have fun while doing it!
Make sure to visit all the other participants and leave comments

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Two Sided Guilder

Already, I have misled you about Amsterdam.  They no longer use guilders so the title should of been "Two Sides of the same Euro" I guess..but then it would be less "Dutchy".  I am all about "Dutchy."

I know that my regular readers are aware that I am married to a Dutchman.  His grandparents were part of a  group of Dutch that came to America and settled into a community made up of other Dutch. Then those Dutch families had lots of Dutch babies.  So, in other words, he is a pedigreed Dutch person compared to me being somewhat of an ethnic mix, of sorts. My family is predominately Irish, Scottish and a few dozen other things...none of which were from the Netherlands.

 His family still has roots in the Netherlands in the area northwest of Amsterdam.  Anyway...I was excited to get a chance to go to a country where all the natives pretty much look like my husband and his family. Yes, I can identify a Dutch person at 50 yards.

As for my trip...today's post is a little bit of a precursor to explain a few things prior to the second post I will do that is specifically about my visit to Amsterdam.

The weeks leading up to my planned departure I  noticed an interesting reaction when I told people that I was going to Amsterdam. They sometimes get that curious look, that knowing half-smile on their faces. "Amsterdam," they say with a mischievous grin, "lucky you!" I sometimes am hesitant to tell people that we sent our youngest child to go to the University of Amsterdam for a year as we thought it would be a great experience.  No!! Not the experience of recreational drugs and hookers. He could of gotten both at his state party schools,..... of course, I choose not to know about any of that.  (fingers in my ears...lalalalalalalalala)

 Yes...there are great things to experience in the Netherlands...specifically in Amsterdam.  Let's talk about the museums.  There are at least 89 museums. [click here for list of museums]

I could of (and would have loved to) spend another few days just visiting more of the museums around town. 

 Undoubtedly, millions travel to the Netherlands to see the just re-opened Rijksmuseum and its famous "Night Watch" painting, along with many other attractions of this truly charming city. But, let's face it, often the first thought that pops into people's brains is the acceptance of soft drugs and legal prostitution in the Netherlands. 

That is not to say other countries do not have a liberal attitude toward recreational drugs and prostitution. But the Dutch, with their history of practicality and compromise, decided to deal with these matters in a pragmatic way. In the process, they created a whole new world for tourists craving tolerance and a brush with the forbidden.

Still, there are great misconceptions about what is and is not legal there. Just to clarify some of those misconceptions, the Dutch do have rules and laws. 

 So what, precisely, is legal in the Netherlands?

You may be surprised to learn that recreational drugs are illegal in the Netherlands. Yes, even pot. But an official policy of tolerance emerged and in 1976 the Dutch parliament decriminalized possession of less than 5 grams of cannabis. That gave rise to a type of establishment found only in that country. In hundreds of "coffee shops" across the country -- not to be confused with "cafes" where you, in fact, go for coffee -- you can select from a menu of cannabis products and light up in full view indoors or at a sidewalk table.

Things got a little complicated in 2008, when the Netherlands, as other countries, imposed restrictions on smoking in public places. A great battle ensued as coffee shop owners complained the ban would put them out of business. Dutch compromising ensued. So, today, you cannot smoke in most public establishments, but you can still smoke marijuana in a coffee shop.

So, to recap: No cigarette smoking in public; yes to pot in small quantities and mushrooms are OK in very small quantities. Keep in mind their laws concerning banned drugs are harsh. 

And then there is the  Red Light District of Amsterdam.  The Rossebuurt, as the locals know it, is unlike any other place. (Yes, there are other Red Light Districts in other cities around the world but Amsterdam's is one of a kind.) Certainly, the RLD that everyone knows about is the one where women, of all nationalities, parade their wares in red-fringed window parlours.  There job is totally legal and is regulated as any other type of employment. 

Any tourist that wanders over to take a peek...and face it, what tourist DOESN'T do that?...what they will notice first (or at least in the top five  things they notice) the groups of voyeurs that are made up of packs of men, couples holding hands, giggling groups of women out for a "girl's night", or a bus load of Japanese tourists with their cameras.  The cameras, however, can not point toward a working person in one of the windows.  Taking pictures is strictly banned. (You do realized there are both men and women that work in the RLD, right? ...and at a few windows you might have to ask if they are man or woman...if it matters to you.)

What you might not think of when you think of this part of Amsterdam is how very charming that part of the city can be.  There are long winding cobbled streets with 14th century architecture.  The Gothic Oude Kerk (The Old Church) and Cafe' Pacifico. for example, are both in the Red Light District.

If you look close, you will see the windows trimmed in red.

Same street after dark..easier to see the red windows.

My next post will cover our arrival into Amsterdam, albeit several hours late...thanks to the ICE train delay out of Dusseldorf and some of our activities.

Here are some of the pictures of our visit to Amsterdam.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Where is the Princess?

Stolzenfels Castle
Middle Rhine

On my last post, I left off with our traveling south from Koblenz...appropriately named Going South. Clever, huh?

We continued our journey south to see some of the 40 castles and fortresses that still exists along the Middle Rhine.  The Middle Rhine is one of four sections of the river. Actually there are more than 40 castles and fortresses in this section according to some sources....those say correct number is 48. ("po-tate-o... po-tah-to",... it's still a lot of castles and fortresses) The Middle Rhine runs the length  of the river between Bonn, Germany and Bingen, Germany.  One of the most expedient ways to see a lot of these, would be to take one of the Rhine cruises. However, if you are there in December, you have to check to see what cruises are available. Many of the tourist cruises end on October 31st.  We chose to drive the distance so we had the luxury of stopping where and when we wanted.  Today, I am going to talk about just two stops.  I fear that I am already past the point of boring you with our itinerary.

Thought Number One: Stolzenfels Castle
No sooner had we left the city of Koblenz heading south...thinking our next stop would be in Boppert when we saw the prettiest castle sitting up on the bluff...which of course meant we needed to scope it out.

According to Europedia, the Stolzenfels Castle is open to the public everyday of the year for tours.  What I quickly determined is that Europedia is as accurate at Wikipedia...which means that I wasn't horribly shocked to see:

We, however, weren't deterred from walking around.  While my photography skills don't do justice to how pretty the setting actually is...it truly is  no less than spectacular. (My husband's camera does a bit better job capturing the richness of the colors but neither can capture the true beauty of the place.) There is a winding trail that goes up to the castle past a chapel and a gate house.  

A little background about the castle:

  • The castle was built in 1259 as a toll station on the Rhine until 1412.
  • It was occupied by several countries including Sweden in 1632 and France in 1634 and 1646.
  • The French destroyed much of it in 1689 during the Palatinate Succession War.
  • After the defeat of Napoleon, the town of Koblenz demanded ownership and gave the ruins to the Prussian Prince Royal, Friedrich Wilhelm.
  • In 1836 the castle was restored to it's original glory.

 Thought Number Two:  Bacharach, Germany

After making stops in several towns along the way, each being more charming than the last, we pulled into Bacharach and parked next to one of the old fortress towers. 

My husband had been to Bacharach a couple of other times prior to my arrival, so you will notice some differences in the pictures. The day, I arrived,  the town had Christmas markets in the streets.

Bacharach has two very prominent tourist draws. One of them being the ruins of an ancient chapel. The Werner Chapel, unfortunately,  has a tragic story attached to it.  The chapel was first built in 1289 to honor a 16 year old named Werner of  Oberwesel who was murdered. The murder was blamed on the Jewish community and the accusations brought with it a number of crimes against the Jewish population.

The chapel remained uncompleted and was further damaged by the French when they destroyed Stahleck Castle that was located just up the hill.

What remains of Werner Chapel, however, is the architectural skeleton of what is some of the most enduring examples of Gothic art used in design of buildings.

The real attraction to the area is the Stahleck Castle that sits further up onto the hillside.

Background of the castle:

  • There is no clear evidence when the castle was built but it is believed to be around 1135 AD.  
  • The castle was sacked 8 times over the course of its history leaving it in various states of ruin.
  • It was finally beyond repair when the French destroyed it in 1689. The French not only decisively destroyed the castle but also, destroyed Werner Chapel as well.
  • In 1909, the castle footings and remaining walls were stabilized so work could begin to rebuild it.
  • By 1925 it was rebuilt  incorporating the remains of the original structure, with the help of Erst Stahl.  His intent was to  rebuild it in it's original "spirit".  The newly rebuilt castle was intended to be a hostel. 
  • During the First and Second World Wars, the buildings were taken over and used by the Third Reich for various reasons including an indoctrination camp for the young men of Germany.
  • It returned to a youth hostel in 1947.
  • Today it houses over 42,000 overnight stays a year. The 168 beds are nearly always reserved.

So...that is where, I will leave off for today.

Next week, I will show you Amsterdam.

Join Top Sites Tuesday and be #1 on BlogDumps!
The purpose of this Meme is to encourage
Networking between bloggers and to have fun while doing it!
Make sure to visit all the other participants and leave comments

Friday, January 10, 2014

Going South

 On the last travelogue post, we were in Andernach, Germany...So Many Castles, So Little Time.

After spending the day in Andernach exploring we met up  with a group of "new" friends for a lovely dinner.  The group consisted of  a Brit, a German, a Canadian, and 3 Americans.  It was great fun comparing viewpoints on so may things. The one dinner companion that spoke German told us the server wanted us to be "aware" that a large party was coming in, so we might want to settle our bills....hint, hint.  No parties ever came in and we staked out our real estate until near closing time.

The following morning, however, we were back on the road to head south to the city of Koblenz.

While Koblenz is only 12 miles SOUTH of Andernach, we were confused why the GPS sent us north.  Huh?? That can't be right.  THEN it sent us to the other side of the Rhine.  As both Andernach and Koblenz are on the west bank, we considered the possibility that perhaps the GPS was trying to sabotage our day. We considered briefly, just turning around and figuring it out without GPS help but figured we'd find it eventually.  The thing about Germany is that it is only about the size of New Mexico.  At some point you are bound to come to a river or road that is familiar.

After a number of  twists and turns,  we drove back over the Rhine and we did, in fact, get to Koblenz.
If you ever take a trip along the Rhine, this city is one to make sure to see, It is a unique blend of historical and modern.

My husband had been there several times and wanted to go up to the Ehrenbreitstein Fortress. He had been there in September and thought the tour was interesting and the tram ride was great for getting a bird's eye view of the region.

As luck would have it, and by that I mean bad luck...we maneuvered  our way up the winding, twisting roads to the top of the bluff where the fortress sits, only to find out it was closed. There were still plenty of things to be seen in the area but no tours and no tram for me.  In lieu of that,  we made our way over to the St. Kastor Basilica and the Deutches Eck (The German Corner) where the Rhine River and the Moselle River converge.  On the point of the rivers meeting is a monument to Wilhelm I (AKA William I)

Crabby Pants standing next to Le Pouce by Cesar next to the Ludwig Museum of Contemporary Art

On the day I was there is was cold and dreary but still very fun to walk around the Basilica, the monument and the promenade. Despite the fact that the fortress was closed, there were still a number of people milling around the church and  the Ludwig Museum of Contemporary Art.

After spending a considerable amount of time just looking around, we made our way into Koblenz city center.  There were 5 (at least that is what we could find) Christmas markets to keep us occupied for quite a while.

Are you someone famous?

As I mentioned, Koblenz's city center is an interesting mix of quaint and charming (as most historic European cities are) and very modern as well. After stopping at a cafe on one of the side streets for lunch, we continued on to a modern mall to warm up and have some tea/coffee. The cafe had a lunch crowd waiting for tables or we might of just parked there.

Normally, I try to avoid malls but on the occasion of both of us being half-frozen we decided that would be a great place to hang out for a bit.

I didn't take a pic of the mall so this is off the Internet

One of the things we discovered while sitting at the Starbucks, is that owners can bring dogs into business establishments.  Not just service dogs, mind you.   While we sat looking out the window at the children ice skating on an adjoining rink,several people came in to have coffee with their pets.

kids skating on the mall's ice rink
Sooo...my friends, that's where I will leave you today.  If you are interested in seeing some of the other photos, I have put together another slide show.

BTW...You will notice some of the pictures are clearer as those were taken in September by my husband when he had the good fortune to be there on a sunny day.  

Monday, January 6, 2014

So Many Castles, So Little Time

Those exit signs take a little getting used to.

Thought Number One:  Seeing New Places

After leaving Cologne, we made our way back to Weissenthurm to meet up with some friends for dinner. As
Cologne is only an hour north of Andernach, we had plenty of time prior to meeting at the Pfeffermuhle restaurant to finish our exploration of the ancient town.

One of the aspects of taking a trip along the Rhine is that each town will have at least one castle and some type of wall or fortress that remains from the Middle ages.  While the Rhine is far too long for me to post any type of a map to show you the various "castle" stops, I scanned portions of a map to give you the general idea.

These maps comprise less than 60 miles of the Rhine

In reality, this is a very small portion of the route we would be traveling over the next few days but from Cologne to Andernach, you can see that there are a number of castles in that stretch.

For today's post I am going to stay within Andernach, though. As I mentioned in my post The First Day, I had spent my first afternoon seeing some of the city and it's charm, but there was more to see.

As we pulled into town we parked next the the giant fortress wall that remains fairly intact around the town.  Considering the town is over 2000 years old, the old town is full of historical remnants.  While the wall and castle were built in the 12th Century, much of the wall and towers still remain  in fairly good shape.The castle was destroyed by the French in 1689.  That would be when the French also put the "dent" into the Round Tower, that I talked about in The First Day post, as well.  

One of the things that I found interesting, is how the people of Andernach incorporated the wall into building homes.  There are homes that are built to back up into the wall.

A portion of the remaining wall
As we walk toward the castle remains
Cute little windows in an ancient wall

Does living in an Medieval Tower cost more than  in a Medieval wall?
Wonder how many tourists stare into this person's window.

From this angle you can see how the homes are built into the wall.

Looking back at the wall from the castle ruins.

One of the remaining walls and keep of the castle.

Walking along the Rhine toward the Bastion
A toll booth on the River Rhine

Very classy toll booth, don't you think?
Thought Number Two: Remembering the Places We've Been

Join Top Sites Tuesday and be #1 on BlogDumps!
The purpose of this Meme is to encourage
Networking between bloggers and to have fun while doing it!
Make sure to visit all the other participants and leave comments