Where Victor Hugo Walked

Many of you know that we have been able to visit our daughter, Meg, and her husband at their home in Germany this summer.

Because we stayed with them in their spacious and lovely home, we were able to travel to many different cities, and even countries, as they were 30 minutes from several Castles, an hour from Luxembourg and France,  and just a few hours from Switzerland, Belgium and many parts of Germany.

Here at the end of our journey, I am going to tell it to you as I read CS Lewis’s  “Space Trilogy” for the first time: back to front!

We are well into our last weekend here, so the first thing I will tell you is about Friday in what is now one of my favorite cities: Koblenz.

30 minutes from their home is Koblenz-Altstadt (Olde Towne), at the confluence of those two magnificent and historic rivers, the Rhein (Rhine) and the Mösel (Moselle)!

Victor Hugo, author of “Les Misérables”, wrote so lovingly of this area, and its thousands of years of history is overwhelming, like a tympani drum beating incessantly.

After a quick lunch at the house, we made the beautiful drive to Koblenz (in 2 cars- not too many SUVs over here) and found an underground parking garage with two matchbox car-sized spaces next to each other!

 

I am getting used to popping out of some underground parking lot into a beautiful, historic an interesting place,   but I was not prepared for what I saw in Koblenz!

Right in front of us was a square, in the middle of which was a beautiful fountain in the shape of a sculptured column 10 meters high or so. The bottom of it was a pool, of course, but at the base of the column was a boat with amazing figures in it. Above that were carved scenes from Roman,  medieval and early modern times! Exquisite.

The next Square was home to a church and school of beautiful construction, with a large statue of Joseph Müller in the middle. It was surrounded by lovely shops, and one side was the Altstadt Hotel and Café. We noted that and pressed up the hill, stopping and the Oxford Shop, full of beautiful classic clothes and accessories. We enjoyed looking at all of the Oxford paraphernalia and the old maps of the school, and Aaron left with a Campbell plaid umbrella worthy of his recent promotion.

Walking along the Moselle (Mösel) River, we reached the “Deutsches Eck” – the German Corner. This glorious spot is the beautiful confluence of the Moselle with the Mighty Rhine (Rhein), with river cruise boats, sidewalk Cafés and a cable car across the Rhine to the Burg (Fortress).

Atop a base of immense proportions, straddling the confluence peninsula, was a statue of Kaiser Wilhelm on horseback that can only be described as, well, HUGE.

Did I mention that the horse had wings?

Another hour of strolling, talking to locals and to each other, some amazing gelato, and tea on the hotel patio, then we headed back.

Ute, their landlady, had accompanied us to Koblenz and was a sublime guide. She agreed to come for dinner, also.  Meg quickly put together an impromptu dinner party. When Ute returned, she brought boxes of letters and pictures of her family members, mostly from World War II Germany.

After a lovely dinner, with Meg’s delicious Spicy Alfredo Chicken and a salad with Câprese topping, we sat in the living room and talked and listened to those tales from the other side of the Maginot Line.

Some had fought on the Eastern Front and were Russian POWs, not released until 1954. Another was injured, taken to hospital and able to run away and escape the dreadful Nazi regime for a time.

As so often happened during this trip, we left with a more complex understanding and appreciation for those whom God had placed in our path.

In the coming weeks I will bring you tales from Frankfurt to France, from Munich to Metz, from Lauterbrunnen to Luxembourg.

My favorite place?
Meg’s kitchen table.

With kindest regards,

Nancy

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