Bruxelles Central – Luxembourg – Koblenz
I’d decided that although it was out of my way, it would be fun to see the Rhine Valley. It was one of the markers on my planning map of great railway trips, and easily reached from Brussels. One of the routes is to go via Luxembourg and pick up the river at Koblenz, so that’s what I decided to do.
It was a late departure from the hotel as I had a Teams meeting and a few other work-related jobs to do before I could put the work laptop away for the day. I wandered down to Central station on a pleasantly warm morning; no need for my fleece. Indeed I’m starting to wonder if I should have packed half the stuff in this backpack!
The journey to Luxembourg is remarkably unremarkable. Rural Belgium is pleasant but unmemorable. I spent the three hour journey dealing with emails and trying to update this diary but with terrible mobile coverage all I did was to break all the images on the site (which didn’t get fixed until later on in the hotel.) I only had 45 minutes between trains in Luxembourg, which wasn’t really time to get to the centre and back, but I stretched my legs and took a few photos.
The country is famously tiny – roughly the same size as Dorset. It was spotlessly clean but as in so many cities, the station is not the most interesting part of town. Maybe there is hidden depth that I can explore another time.
Shortly after leaving, we were over the border into Germany and following the Moselle valley that stays nearby all the way to Koblenz, barring when the railway shortcuts through tunnels. There was no obvious sign of traffic on the water, barring the odd pleasure craft, but the scenery was pleasant – this is clearly vineyard country.
The one irritation on this journey was that the train made three emergency stops, delaying us by up to 10 minutes each time. We’d coupled to another train about half way to Koblenz and I guess something wasn’t done correctly as it hadn’t happened in the earlier part of the trip.
As usual, I’d decided to walk to my hotel. According to the map, my hotel was just the other side of the bridge over the Rhine, I guessed half an hour away. As I’d crossed the bridge I’d seen the letters H O T E L directly ahead of me, on the top of the ridge, but I’d not really paid any attention as the traffic on the river was far more interesting. I now know that it is 213 steps to the top of the ridge and that is indeed the hotel that is “just” over the river.
The view from the top was wonderful, but I was more than happy to put my bags down, take a shower and have a sit down before heading back down the steps into the city.
Koblenz is a pleasant town. Easily walkable, with plenty of old buildings and a super waterfront. The cruisers all stop here, as it is a historic place. There were two here tonight, including the one of the ubiquitous Viking River Cruisers fleet, which I seem to see adverts for whenever I watch TV. They are absolutely huge, I had not realised the size of the things, but they look immaculate and I can see the appeal.
The second time around, I decided the steps in the dark were not for me, so I took a longer, but as it turned out much easier route via back streets. The view of the city from the top at night was fabulous, though I never quite worked out why someone appeared to have installed a mooring bollard.