Just a heads-up, also a request for you to share your own stories if you've ever traveled to these areas of Germany:
We are thinking that in the middle of our three weeks in Belgium this summer that we will take a side trip to western Germany and explore some or all of the above areas. Right now I've got some research to do, including:
*is it easier/less expensive to get there from Antwerp by rented car or train?
*what are the hostel options?
*what's the best home base?
*do we want to take a Rhine or Moselle River cruise/ferry trip? If so, from/to where?
*do we want to rent bikes and do the Moselle River bike trails? to/from where?
*do we want to go to several "dots" or make it a more direct round-trip? We're thinking 4-5 days total, and hostels with family suites seem to be the way to go. Very inexpensive, very easygoing.
I'll post info as I find it--so far I've found a hostel in Koblenz that is actually in an old fortress overlooking the Rhine/Moselle confluence!!