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Exploring the Mosel valley and castles

Home -> Europe -> Germany -> Travelogue Germany -> 23 February 2010

Tuesday 23 February, exploring the Mosel valley and castles

Today we make a long trip to and through the Moselle valley and visit a few nice towns. And we see a lot of castles.
Castle Eltz at Müdel Castle Eltz at MüdelWe first drive to a spot from where we see Eltz Castle that is fairy-like on a rock in a valley. It is a very special castle because it survived all wars undamaged, something that not many castles can say. The castle is more than 850 years old and still owned by the same family which also does not occur often.
In winter, the castle is not open to visitors so we only admire the outside.
The Moselle riverThen we go to the Moselle which we first see from above. It is a winding river that flows in large loops from the Vosges to the Rhine at Koblenz. A part of the Mosel forms the natural border between Luxembourg and Germany and the winding part from Trier that runs through the hills is called the Moselle Valley.
A picture of us, made by Esmee The Moseelle river at CochemCochem is the first town where we stop, a real tourist place. We take a walk along the water and Esmee is busy with her camera (the images are still a bit askew, she does not quite manage to keep the camera straight).
She also likes to make pictures of all the long barges on the Moselle, and many pass by, it is a busy river.
Cochem on the Moselle river The castle of CochemAnd like so many towns along the Moselle, Cochem has its own castle, the 1000-year-old Reichsburg, which stands on a 100-meter-high hill. But this castle was destroyed (by Louis the 14th in 1689) and it was only rebuilt in Gothic style in the 19th century.
We walk to the market square and through the center for a while but when it starts to drizzle we walk back to the car to visit Bernkastel-Kues, another typical German town with many craftsman houses. As we drive along the winding Moselle, it gets dry again.
Bernkastel-KuesBernkastel lies in a big bend of the river with the ruin of Burg Landshut across the road. But much nicer is the old town that is full of half-timbered houses, some of which date from the 15th century. Just like in Cochem everything looks well restored and maintained here.
There are also some special houses where the base is narrower than the upper floors. In this way, the space above the narrow medieval streets was also used.
Bernkastel-Kues Bernkastel-KuesThe most beautiful part of Bernkastel is the market square with only old half-timbered houses, such as the 17th century town hall. In the other houses are shops, restaurants and wine bars because this region is known for its wine. The town is very popular with tourists although it is not that bad with the crowds today. We walk around for an hour and admire the buildings while Esmee has more eye for the shop windows.
Bernkastel-Kues Bernkastel-KuesTimbered houses consist of a wooden beam structure with a filling in between. Because the beams are visible on the outside, they get the characteristic appearance of a building that is lined with beams. This form of building houses mainly occurred in areas where stone was too expensive or scarce and we know them mainly from Germany and England.
Bernkastel-Kues Vineyard near Bernkastel-KuesAround the Moselle there are slightly sloping hills and they seem to be ideal for growing grapes because we see them over the entire length of the Moselle valley for miles. Mainly white grapes are grown from which the well-known Riesling wine is made (named after the white grape variety Riesling). At the edge of the town we walk up until we reach the beginning of the vineyards.
Bernkastel-Kues Look, something interestingEsmee is in the meantime busy with her camera and probably she has taken more pictures than we did and she mainly makes close-ups, she likes them more than a vista or a bigger scenery. But she throws most of them away in the evening when we look at all the photos. But she is getting better at it.
We are now looking for a restaurant to have a drink and have a nice view of the Mosel and the vineyards. And also to get warm again after being outside in the cold.
Eating french fries Watching tvAt the end of the afternoon we drive to Gunderath where our house is and we order a family portion of fries. We get a bucket full, way too much for us but we like them. It is not the first time and it will not be the last time we eat fries on this holiday, but thta is what grandparents are for, right? With a duty to spoil our granddaughter (and yes, we make sure she also gets fruit and vegetables). After dinner, she relaxes for a while watching tv with her favorite cloth on her head.


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