The Rhine Valley and Cologne

We spent the morning cruising through the Rhine Valley, some of the most picturesque scenery you can imagine. The photos are a disappointment as it poured all morning but you can take my word for how spectacular it was. There are numerous castles, each one looking more like Disneyland than Disneyland.  Actually I think Walt must have gor his ideas from here as they have stood here since th 12th century. They were actually built as toll collections points charging river traffic to travel the waterway.

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The above however is neither an old castle or a church but is a fake church built by the Zazis as camouflage of armaments depots on the important railroad that runs alongside the Rhine at this point. There are several of these looking like chapels or ancient ruined castles. Happily the RAF was not fooled all of the time.

i should like to say here that all the German guides we have had have spoken of WW2 and the Zazi era in a surprisingly open manner. There seems to be a general feeling among young Germans of criticism of their forefathers behaviour. Of gratitude to the West for their assistance in recovery and very genuine pleasure in the return of Jewish life to German cities.

I have read a book whilst I have been here, highly reccommended called ALL FOR NOTHING recently translated from the German it was a best seller here!

This afternoon we visited Cologne, where 90% of the city was destroyed. Strangely the Cathedral was virtually  untouched, a bit like St Pauls that was undamaged by the London blitz!

Cologne is a funny mixture of old and new, rural Rhinelander and smart devious Prussian as depicted in the figures below.

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We tend to forget that Germany was not one country but many until quite recently.

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