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TRAVEL reservoirs until it could be sluiced into the river. On into Germany, and to say Cologne’s mighty cathedral dominates the city is an understatement. I was glad they finally completed those soaring spires in the late 19th century, making the cathedral the tallest building in the world at that time. The next morning, we were enjoying wraparound views from a cable car. The destination was impressive—the giant Ehrenbreitstein Fortress, looming over the confluence of the Rhine and Moselle Rivers from its 390-foot perch opposite Koblenz. An actor in period costume conducted the lively tour of the Prussian complex, built in the early 19th century and now housing an excellent museum. We learned that it is the latest in a number of incarnations of a fortress, going back 3,000 years, on this strategically important hill. It is a storybook example of the 40 or so castles on the steep hillsides along the lovely Rhine Gorge. They range from the fairy-tale to the formidable, from NOT WANTING TO MISS A THING, I ATE LUNCH ON THE AL FRESCO AQUAVIT TERRACE LOOKING OUT OVER THE SHIPʼS BOW different periods and in various stages of preservation or decay. After leaving Koblenz, I sat out on the Sun Deck of my Viking Longship to spot them one by one, including 11th-century Marksburg Castle, the only one never to have been captured, and the wonderful Pfalzgrafenstein Castle, like an anchored ship in the middle of the river. Not wanting to miss a thing, I ate lunch on the al fresco Aquavit Terrace® over the ship’s bow. If leaving the beautiful gorge behind left my spirits a little dampened, they quickly perked up again when we arrived in the wine-making town of Rüdesheim. With a whole evening in port I wandered along the Drosselgasse, Clockwise, from above: Take in stunning views from the Aquavit Terrace; bridges traverse the Rhine in Strasbourg, making it the perfect place for a stroll; Marksburg Castle overlooks the Rhine below EXPLORE MORE 2020 VIKING.COM 29