Friday, July 10, 2009

The Rhone and the Rhine Rivers

© 2009 Constance Hobbs. All rights reserved.

My husband and I were strolling along the Lake of Geneva, better known as Lac Leman here. It is the second largest fresh water lake in Europe and is known for its turbulent currents. The lake has its source in the Swiss Alps, the Rhone Glacier in Valais, at an altitude of 7,100 feet. Its crescent shape was carved as a glacier receded. My husband made the smallest remark which impressed me. He said, "in a few days this water will be in Camargue." I thought about all the many people who must have traveled this river for centuries, just as we travel on a highway today. This was a route to the south of France. The river is wide and beautiful in Avignon in the South of France where Roman life is still quite evident. In Arles Van Gogh painted along its shores and there are beautiful Roman ruins visible there today. Finally the river empties into the Mediterranean Sea. The Rhine River, another very important European river, also has its source in the Swiss Alps. It empties into Lake Constance, my name sake, which lies in the northern alpine region and borders Switzerland, Germany and Austria. The Rhine continues from Lake Constance through Germany, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and finally empties into the North sea. The many castles and prehistoric fortifications that line its shores testify to its importance as a waterway. Two very remarkable rivers, both with their source in the Swiss Alps, carrying along with their currents ancient stories of lives and loves won and lost.

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