From the Romantic Rhine to the Mosel Valley

Last weekend, Michelle and I did a road trip to Germany.  The first leg of the trip included the Romantic Rhine, studded with castles at every bend of the river.  But we knew that the best was yet to come – the Mosel Valley.  We had planned on covering the Mosel on our way to Trier on Saturday but time got away from us, so we decided to change our original plans and head back towards Koblenz (but not quite that far) on Sunday so we could cover the best part of the valley – from Bernkastel-Kues to Cochem.

But first we were in Trier.  We didn’t get there until around 8 on Saturday night and as we were out late on Friday we really didn’t intend to do much beyond getting a quick bite to eat.  But the best laid plans… well, you know how it goes.  It turns out there was a free music festival in Trier.  The music festival was in the older part of town which is exactly where we wanted to be and bonus, there were food tents everywhere.  So music festival it would be!!

We ran into some drunk teenagers right after leaving our hotel.  It’s sad how old we’ve become.  We totally lectured them on drinking and making sure they stayed hydrated.  Then moments after that we ran into some bachelors.  At first we thought they were security – very lax security that were able to drink.  Turned out we were wrong.  As you can see from the picture, they were collecting signatures for the bachelor along the way.

Michelle signing the bachelor's back

Michelle signing the bachelor’s back

Can you tell they've been drinking for a while?

Can you tell they’ve been drinking for a while?

Moving on to the festival.  We were expecting… I’m not really sure what we were expecting.  But what we heard wasn’t it. From the Blues Brothers to instrumentals to the Spice Girls.  I think they covered a little bit of every genre.  Regardless, it was pretty cool and a lot of fun to just walk around the city, eating and drinking our hearts out and meeting people along the way. I guess the big camera must have screamed we don’t live here because everyone wanted to jump in on pictures.

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German gingerbread... yum!!

German gingerbread… yum!!

There were a lot of food stalls... a lot

There were a lot of food stalls… a lot

Really cute square in Trier

Really cute square in Trier

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This is where we heard a bit of Blues Brothers

This is where we heard a bit of Blues Brothers

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At least 10 different types of sausages here

At least 10 different types of sausages here

Reminds me of a cow's udder...

Reminds me of a cow’s udder…

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They insisted on a picture when they saw my big camera... yes, I screamed tourist.

They insisted on a picture when they saw my big camera… yes, I screamed tourist.

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This is where we heard the Spice Girls (or a dj spinning Spice Girls I should say).

This is where we heard the Spice Girls (or a dj spinning Spice Girls I should say).

This is just a portion of a massive cathedral that we walked by on the way back to the hotel.

This is just a portion of a massive cathedral that we walked by on the way back to the hotel.

Roman ruins under a building.  Trier is known for it's Roman ruins ...

Roman ruins under a building. Trier is known for it’s Roman ruins …

The next morning we were up and at ’em early, ready to hit the road to Cochem, essentially back tracking towards Koblenz. Our plan was to stop only in Cochem so we could spend a decent amount of time there rather than just quickly popping in and out of villages along the route.

As far as drives is concerned, this was definitely different than the Rhine.  It was windier, hillier and filled with more vineyards than I could count.  There were also significantly less castles along this route.  But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t stunning because it absolutely was.  I think the pictures speak for themselves on that.

A family of swans!

A family of swans!

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I love how the vineyards mark their territory

I love how the vineyards mark their territory

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We literally made about a 2 minute stop in the Bernkastel-Kues area to take a few pictures.  And while it was cute and we debated checking it out, we decided to continue on towards Cochem and spend our time there.

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I loved that this sundial is actually a part of the rocks!

I loved that this sundial is actually a part of the rocks!

A different view of the sundial

A different view of the sundial

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We also made a super fast pit stop in Traben-Trarbach.  I couldn’t resist when I saw the adorable bridge with the archway. The pictures don’t do the area justice and while I enjoyed spending our time in Cochem, in hindsight, I think we would have also enjoyed this little town.

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View from one side of the bridge

View from one side of the bridge

I ran up on this bridge to take some pictures of this cute town!

I ran up on this bridge to take some pictures of this cute town!

We continued our journey towards Cochem.  The drive flew by, in part, I think, to the beautiful scenery at every turn!

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Who doesn’t love a cat with a glass of wine in the middle of a rotary?

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Hangliders

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This one is for my Uncle Richard and Aunt Janice - saw tons of bikes along the way but I got a kick out of these ones.

This one is for my Uncle Richard and Aunt Janice – saw tons of bikes along the way but I got a kick out of these ones.

And for my dad :)

And for my dad 🙂

Finally just after 1PM we made it into Cochem.  At first it didn’t look like much.  But similar to Bacharach the day before, you had to move off the main road to see beyond what the eye beholds.  First settled in the late 800s, Cochem was established as a town in the early 1300s.  It was greatly damaged in several wars over the years, including WWII, but has continued to be restored and has grown to include the village on the other side of the Mosel River bank (we did not venture to the other side), connected by a bridge that was built in the early 1900s.

The castle upon our arrival in Cochem

The castle upon our arrival in Cochem

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The bridge connecting both sides of town

The bridge connecting both sides of town

Another one for my dad

Another one for my dad

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Cute band playing

Cute band playing

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Dessert for lunch... why not?

Dessert for lunch… why not?

Another Joshy sized door ;)

Another Joshy sized door 😉

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We walked from one end of town to the other and then decided on our walk back that we would head up to the castle, Reichsburg Cochem, to check out the views.  It was an uphill walk the whole way and by the time we made it to the top we were breathless and a bit sweaty (awesome right?) but it was some much needed exercise after that ice cream lunch!  In the end, we decided to do the group tour (which is the only option) of the castle.  Apparently the castle had been mostly destroyed hundreds of years ago but a wealthy merchant restored it in the 19th century.  The castle was beautifully restored inside, but sadly I’ve become of the mindset of “you’ve seen one castle, you’ve seen them all” and it takes a lot to impress me these days.  So while it was lovely, it wasn’t my favorite.  However, the views made up for it and I can’t say that I wouldn’t love to live up there!

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We walked around Cochem for a few more hours and then had an early dinner before starting the 3 1/2 hour trek back home to the Netherlands.  It’s amazing what difference just a few hours makes – Germany was like another world from the Netherlands and yet not far away at all.  I always thought the Dutch and Germans were very similar, especially given their proximity.  But after a few days, while I still see some similarities, I can most definitely see a lot of differences in these two cultures as well.  Not to mention the landscape!

On the way home, I was beyond excited to see not one, not two, but SIX hot air balloons!  I know it sounds silly but I love seeing them – maybe it’s because you don’t see them all that often so it makes it a little more magical when they do appear. Apparently, unbeknownst to me, they are rather common in the southern part of the Netherlands.  We are planning a trip to Cappadocia, Turkey in the fall and plan to take a ride on one.

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All in all, it was a fabulous girls weekend away – a much needed respite from the Netherlands, some quality time with my best friend, and a chance to explore a new place!  I can’t wait to see where we end up next year!

Knuffels en kussen,

Julie

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