Flower show

Wed, 2011-06-08 21:24
29. May 2011
It’s 10am on a Sunday morning, and instead of spending a long lazy weekend morning we queue in a row before the booth to get tickets for the national flower show in Koblenz.

Flower show - an ugly, medieval word; chatting old ladies with knitted sweaters and umbrellas sipping tea while admiring rows of potted pink petunias; and grey haired gentlemen with sport caps and knickerbockers handing hand-cut paper medals to the winners of the “most elegant bloom” competition. All set against a grey sky; light dribbling rain falls silently on the home-made cakes. I feel very old.


But this one is said to be different; for a start the sky is perfect blue, it’s hot and dry and the gardeners can’t catch up with watering all the millions of flowers and trees that have been planted during the last months. And then there is the new special attraction...
But first we have to admire the flower fields in front of the freshly renovated Electoral Palace. The former car park has been remodeled into a field of colorful bloom; the cars have been banished to a subterranean parking garage. The small garden between palace and river Rhine has been refurbished as well; in the garden of sounds a carpet of natural sounds is laid out with the help of a battery of hidden speakers; unfortunately completely absorbed by the voices of the visiting crowds. Is this the special attraction?

Patience, patience. The junction of Rhine and Mosel is occupied by food stalls and stages; we are greeted by brass band sounds, a medley of James Bond soundtracks - a very strange mixture of the traditional and the modern, but not strange enough to be the special attraction?   

The area at the old Prussian fortress of Ehrenbreitstein, once impenetrable bastion against enemy invasions has been revived for the show. It’s historic killing fields now are occupied by the orchid’s tents, and indeed here are the “elegant bloom” medals. The fields of roses, the forest exhibition, the large playground, the beekeepers and cherry farmers and, hidden on a small forest clearing, the cemetery gardener’s displays. Very creative, surprisingly modern and probably a constant burden to the progeny. Despite it’s a sad aura the area is crowded with visitors; the area seems to have it’s special attraction.

But that’s not the one. The special attraction is easy and immediately recognized by the long queue of people in front of it. The brand-new arial ropeway over the river Rhine!  From the park near the river junction it quickly raises up to the hills of Ehrenbreitstein on the other river bank, and as soon as it’s glass-paneled gondolas leave the bank and hover high above the brown floods the female passengers inevitably let out small sighs while the men loudly speculate about the non-existent chances to survive a drop. This alone was worth the early morning rise.    


50° 21' 39.8448" N, 7° 36' 14.0832" E