It was a Friday evening and I wanted to do something special. Therefore I went to have dinner at the “Station Rolandseck”, a converted train station now housing an art museum and gallery and of course a restaurant. Behind the historic building is a new gallery, the Hans Arp Museum (www.arpmuseum.org), which was recently completed and opened by the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, on 28th of September.
Hans or Jean Arp was a French-German painter, sculptor and poet (16.09.1886-07.06.1966). He was a co-founder of Dadaism, but was also involved in the surrealist school of art and with a group called ‘abstraction creation’. Arp led a very interesting life and his works are breathtaking. If you are interested please visit the various webpages with reviews of his works. It’s a worthwhile undertaking.
The Hans Arp Museum (right) and Rolandseck Station (left) seen from the ferry
I sat outside on the large balcony of the restaurant with a splendid river view enjoying the autumn sunset. I ordered a delicious mushroom pasta and drank another delicious wine from the Ahr, a 2005 Heimersheim Pinot Noir from the Nelles winery (www.weinhaus-nelles.de). Drinking good wine and smoking a wonderful cigar I sat contemplating the river, the surroundings and its history. If the river could talk we would hear the most magnificent stories, sad as well cheerful ones of ancient times , peopled with quite exotic figures.
I imagined that I sat in this place about 2000 years ago as a Roman centurio looking at the riverbank opposite of Rolandseck where the barbarian Germans would wait and plan to cross the river and besiege our fortifications. I would have certainly drunk something “winy” maybe sweetened with honey or mead.
Travelling forward in time to 200 years ago, I would now have come back as a French soldier, maybe an officer, in the army of Napoleon Bonaparte. I would have found that the wine quality had improved considerably. As a good French nationalist I might have had problems praising the German wine. I would look to the opposite side of the Rhine river, disgusted at the prospects of meeting fierce resistance from German troups who would try to prevent the French and their allies from crossing and moving East.
I also had to confront the prospects of crossing the river later that evening. Now it is the year 2007 and instead of being on horseback I can cross by ferry. This time it is in peaceful circumstances; I just want to reach my lodgings in Bad Honnef to get ready for another day of learning.
The view from the terrace over Rhine and Seven Rock mountains