Train trip to Cochem

After a quick walk to the train station, we hopped on the first train to Cochem. Once on, we showed our 7-day rail pass to the conductor, who stamped it with a start date. He was supposed to check our passports as well but I guess we looked sufficiently foreign so he skipped that step.

Cochem is a picturesque town

A cute train for the children’s Christmas

Gnomes in the garden
High water marks for two horrible floods. Now flood protection prevents this sort of devastation.
Everything was decorated for Christmas
Gingerbread houses to go
Weird little figures on the fountain in the square
The squares (several) are all decorated

Waffles with fruit (in this case, cherries) and sherry whipped cream or ice cream are a big hit here. After trying one, they’re a big hit with us!
Ray had a pressed ham hock terrine and potatoes with his beer. It was served cold in a gelatin.
Hot cocoa is always nice on a rainy day
Goat milk cheese with red peppers and parsley on a thin cracker crust was my lunch choice
Interesting mosaic mural

After a day in the rain, we picked up wine and headed home.

A castle along the route home

We picked up wonderful fresh German bread and had a supper of Rhein spätlese wine and bread.

Pastry, Pens, and Pizza

Ray and I overslept and missed breakfast at our hotel. So we compensated by rolls and coffee at a nearby candy/cafe shop and cafe. The marmalade was great and the rolls were incredible. My coffee was a hot chocolate with espresso, drizzled with chocolate. The shop was a chocolate lover’s delight.

Lots of truffles in boxes, fancy pineapple shaped boxes, and more
Those cakes we’re enough to make one hungry even if you’d just eaten
Truffles, truffles, and more truffles

As part of the Christmas celebration, they made an ice rink with these little pelikans to help beginning skaters

More Christmas pictures
The pen and stationery store
Really nice staff. Pens were primarily Mont Blanc, Caran d’ache, Lamy, and Parker

Street food sausages and glühwein (hot mulled wine)
A bench made out of skateboards

We went back to the hotel for a while, and then, because it was raining pretty hard, went to an Italian restaurant a few doors down for pizza and beer. Their door had a master card logo on it but when we went to pay, they said no credit cards. Fortunately, we had euros. And the pizza was excellent.

Christmas in Koblenz

Not only are we in Germany for the Christmas markets, as these pictures attest, but we were here for a very important holiday recognizing Sinter Klass, a German version of Santa Clauss who arrives on December 6 and puts treats in the freshly polished shoes of little children. I’m not sure how the popularity of athletic shoes affects the custom, and my seat mate couldn’t tell me.

These little Christmas creatures intrigued me
Glüwein is a hot mulled wine. Great stuff!

Customized Christmas cookies
Saw this over the top formal dress in a shop window on the way back to our hotel and had to include it.

And now I’m off to bed.

Jet Lagged Fun in Koblenz

Lufthansa air was a class act. Also my seat mate and one of the stewards helped us practice our German. I didn’t manage to sleep on the plane, but despite that, we managed to successfully use the ticket machine and get the first train to Koblenz. It literally arrived as we walked to the platform.

Me looking silly on flight

Using the rail ticket machine. Google pay didn’t work there.

The rail machine had flags representing about 8 different languages so we really didn’t have to use the German screens but we did anyway.

One complication: the departure board didn’t show Koblenz. Fortunately, Google navigate did and with Google fi coverage we were able to find the correct train at the correct platform, and more importantly, get off at the correct station. On the train ride, it was still dark, as our plane arrived at 5 am, so we were able to see the Christmas lights in passing towns and reflected on the Rhein river.

It was still dark when we arrived in Koblenz but we bumbled our way to our lovely hotel, Hotel Brenner. This lovely family owned hotel showed us the best of European hospitality. If we had shown up early to an American hotel, they would check our bags and tell us to come back much later. Instead, this hotel graciously rushed to get our room cleaned, and allowed us to check in early.

After out tight quarters in Boston, we were thrilled to have this lovely, large room. The beds had little packets of Haribo gummy bear candies on them. I swore I was not going to sleep but I took a nap. Later, the manager offered us an even larger room since we were going to be here so long, but we said we were happy with this one.

A cute little dressing table and coffee service
The shower room. There’s a separate toilet room.
View from our room

After my nap, we went for a walk. It had rained earlier but was warm and cloudy this afternoon. Very pleasant. A pedestrian/bike underpass had these cute murals.

The Rhein
Fortress at Ehrenbreitstein
Schloss Koblenz (Koblenz castle)
The Rhein river area in Koblenz is a UNESCO site
Preussisches Regierunggebaude (Prussian Government building)
Cute restaurants and apartments with Riverside views
Cable cars only run on weekends off season
Cable car trestle
Doggy bag station
Beautiful out of season blooming tree
The Viking ship we saw was much bigger than I had imagined. It looked like the cabins had great views.
A strange lion image at the Ecke

Koblenz Eck with statue of Wilhem I.

Pieces of Berlin Wall
Deutche Kaiser, our restaurant for the afternoon.
The local beer, Koblenzer, is quite good
Ray had schnitzel with mushrooms
I had a vegetarian dish with apples, potatoes, and greens

We did quite a bit more but jet lag is claiming me again so I’ll tell you about zinterclaus tomorrow.

Final Boston thoughts

We had a great time but are now heading on to Germany. This is the Lufthansa gate, blessedly heavy with charging ports. I picked up some euros at the exchange here. Always good to have a few when we hit the ground.

We took the train/shuttle to the airport. A whole $5 for both of us and very easy. The transit ambassadors at main stations are extremely helpful.

One thing I found especially pretty in Boston was all the churches. I understand they have some beautiful synagogues and mosques as well. So here are some pics of a few that I walked by.

Happy holidays to all.

Off the Beaten Track in Boston

Almost anytime someone goes to Boston, they do the same things. And those are great things: the Freedom Trail, Chinatown, Little Italy, and the JFK library. There are good reasons that these are popular Boston activities and if you haven’t already done them, I highly recommend them. But, if you’ve been to Boston before and are looking for some fun, different activities, here are some to try.

For a different breakfast experience, we went to Clover, a plant based restaurant. Their cranberry, apple, maple oatmeal is awesome, as is their hibiscus iced tea. Ray also liked his veggie sandwich and coffee.

For a free museum that’s slightly on the geeky side, go to Massachusetts General Hospital. Their Museum of Medical History and Innovation will make you extremely grateful to be living in modern times. Here are a few highlights.

Many displays highlighted WWI medicine, like these sleeping bags used by WWI nurses.
A traveling pharmacy from when physicians made house calls.
Diagnosis has improved dramatically thanks to new tools.

One of my favorite exhibits (not shown, sorry) allows one to try and diagnose three patients using results from modern screening tests.

A sample trunk filled with a nursing jacket and bonnet. Considering what those WWI nurses endured, they deserved more serious hats than these little pill boxes.

Surgical tools from the 1800s. They would not have been this clean, either. The relationship between sterile surgery and survival had not yet been established.

Another fun but unexpected destination is the main library. The library has two buildings, the McKim building, a classical building with notable murals, including some by John Singer Sargeant.

The newer building, the Johnson building, is thoroughly modern, and boasts the latest in library services innovations for Boston residents.

Exterior of the old library building

A fun photo opportunity to take a pic of my son and his wife

Walking back, we were able to enjoy the Christmas lights in the Commons.

The Cartier cat is actually across from the commons but too cool to omit!

Finally, make a quick visit to see the adorable burro statue in front of the old city hall (now Ruth Chris). Believe it or not, placing this staue here was controversial as it was Italian and had nothing to do with the American Revolution to justify it being on the Freedom Trail. But finally, it found its place there, delighting all the children who visit. The bright spots on the statue testify to the many children who have petted the little burro.