The plan had been to dock at Koblenz but the cruise ship hadn’t been able to get a berth there. Instead we continued Andernach, a few miles downstream. A courtesy coach was put on for passengers who wanted to visit Koblenz. I asked the Titan guide what there was to see in Koblenz, he thought about this but all he could come up with was Deutsches Eck, the flat promontory at the confluence of the Moselle and the Rhine with the statue of Kaiser Wilhelm I. If this was the best he could come up with, I decided to give Koblenz a miss, especially as the coach wouldn’t be back at the boat until 9pm. The plan we’d been given of Andernach also suggested it was a walled town.
Andernach is one of the oldest towns in Germany and still has an almost complete set of walls along with the gateways into the town. The first sight of the town is the impressive Bastion built in the C17th as a customs post and toll collection point, to control shipping on the river Rhine. The top is now a memorial to the soldiers who died in both world wars.
The Medieval walls stand to their original height round the original old town with wall towers and gateways. Outside the walls, vegetables, fruit trees and wild flowers grow.
The Rhine Gate or Corn Gate dating from 1200, was the main entry into the town from the River Rhine. It is a double gateway with a ‘holding’ area between. The side facing the river was rebuilt as a mock castle. Behind is a timber frame house. The two figures on the inner gateway symbolic representations of the gatekeepers and affectionately called the ‘Baker Boys’
The tall Round Tower is a prominent landmark and is the strongest of the town fortifications and even withstood an attempt by the forces of Ludwig XIV to blow it up in 1689. Only a bit of the base was damaged.
To the south east of the town along the walls is the remains of the Archiepiscopal castle which was was part of the electorate of Cologne, built around 1200. It was destroyed in the C17th by French troops during the War of the Palatine Succession.
AS well as the impressive wall, Andernach is a very nice German town with a lot of character. Like all German towns it is well cared for with no litter or graffiti. It has a good range of shops and market place. I liked it.
The “Catholic Church of Maria Himmelfahrt”:http://wasleys.org.uk/eleanor/otherholidays/rhine/h_andernach/church/index.html dominates the skyline of Andernach with its four tall square towers and Romanesque architecture. The inside is even more impressive with its painted arches, ceiling ribs and frescoes. I slipped in during Mass and sat quietly at the back soaking up the atmosphere.
The museum is housed in a lovely late C16th building built as a palace for local nobleman for Georg von der Leyden.
There is a pleasant walkway along the river front to the ‘Old Crane’ of Andernach, situated just outside of the walls, downstream of the town. This is the site of the old harbour and the C16th crane was in use until the early C20th. It needed two to four men to work the treadwheel which rotated the crane top.
Another half mile beyond is the world’s highest cold water geyser, reached via a Discovery Centre and a short boat trip.
Andernach definitely has a lot going for it. There are more pictures “here”:http://wasleys.org.uk/eleanor/otherholidays/rhine/h_andernach/town/index.html.