Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Mosel Valley

One of the areas we’ve been wanting to return to is the Mosel Valley.

The Mosel river flows from approximately Luxembourg to Koblenz in Germany where it joins the Rhine River. We stumbled across it 11 years ago when we shipped our motorcycle over from Baltimore for 6 weeks touring Europe.

Back then decided to just wander without a plan for the first time, (signs of things to come!). We’d stopped in the Ardennes area of Belgium, famous for the Battle of the Bulge and Spa/Francorchamps the Grand Prix racetrack. We wandered across the border into Germany and discovered first Trier then the Mosel.

The river valley is narrow and winding, very steep sided. Apparently ideal for growing the grapes that are used to make our favorite wine: Riesling! All along the valley (which is only 100 miles long at the most) are those fairy tale castles you see in travel brochures. We soon discovered that every guest house and restaurant served excellent appel strudel and wine from their own vineyard.

Being on a motorcycle we could only sample the wine in the evenings when we stopped, but we wanted more!

We’re BACK!

A bus ran the length of the valley and a day pass on it was only $7 and would let us get on and off as we liked. We were camped at Burgen near the  
eastern end of  the valley and intended heading West when we left, so we took the bus to back track on some of the towns we’d seen on the way in.

Diebicht was the furthest east we went, a nice town along the main road but when we explored a little higher up the hill we stumbled on the “Old Town” and some very nice old houses. We also stumbled on a bakery with Appel Strudel and coffee!

Strudel, OHHHH!!
Alten was similar but a little more touristy, we tried the beer and local wine, and had lunch before returning to Burgen for some more beer and wine and a HUGE dinner in the local restaurant. Sleep came quickly when we finally got back to the rig.
Awsome houses
2 nights stretched to 3 as we lazily sat in the campground and watched the tour boats go by every couple of hours. My 2 sisters are due to take one of these cruises and so I called Jackie and we talked about schedules etc. Something else to look forward to when we get back to UK.

Time came to move on again, less than 2 weeks now to our ferry to UK, my how quickly a couple of months had gone by. The broad plan was to continue along the Mosel and stop near Berncastle for a night or so then on to Trier with maybe a river cruise from there for us too!

Castles were everywhere.
The rig, which by this time had acquired the name “Nelly Belle” in honor of Roy Roger’s sidekick’s jeep that was always breaking down. Started to stink of diesel fuel.
Nelly Belle!!
It was the first time this had happened, and as I started to watch the fuel gauge I became convinced that it was dropping faster than it should. We had just gone thru a little town called Zell when I spotted a lay by and pulled in. 

Once the hood was up it was obvious that the entire right side of the engine was soaked in diesel.

Thank goodness it IS a diesel, I think a gas powered engine would have caught fire. Diesel is much less flammable than gas and there are no high energy spark plug wires to ignite the vapors.

It was still driveable so RAC couldn’t help. After a very stressful drive around Zell we found a Fiat dealer and in an hour they had fixed another old and rotted rubber pipe

As we continued along the river we noticed a number of camping areas exclusively for motorhomes. These are called “Aires” in Europe and offer limited facilities for self contained campers at very cheap rates. We stopped for “Strudel and Coffee” at a restaurant overlooking one such place. We discovered that it didn’t have electrical hookups and we’d just filled the refrigerator and had no idea how to get it to run on gas. We decided we’d get a “proper” campground.

A little further on we saw what looked like a suitable spot and pulled in. This too was an “Aire” with no bathroom block etc, but it did have electric hookups which provided 2 Kilo Watt Hours of power for $1. Turned out that was all we needed to run the fridge for the night and it was $7 a night to camp.

That whetted our appetite for low key camping and we discovered one almost in the heart of Trier which we had planned for our next stop.

Trier is another ancient city dating back before the Romans, it boasts a truly massive Roman city gate, an amphitheater and like many Roman towns is centered on hot springs that fed their baths. Aptly the baths here are named the “Barbara Baths”. They must have known we were coming!

Roman city gate in Trier
We excelled ourselves by catching a bus to the center of the city then walking all the way back again. Along the way we discovered the shopping area and the ancient marketplace which still functions as a market today. We even stumbled on the house where Karl Marx was born. And no he wasn’t one of the Marx Brothers he was the “Father of Socialism” for all the good that did him!

Karl Marx was from Trier?

How bazaar that he lived on Karl Marx Straat!!
We even managed to discover the red light district, but it was daytime and therefore closed.

On our last day we took a taxi ride to the “Harbor” where the cruise boats leave from and we took the 2 hour tour grandly called “On the trail of the Romans”. Quite where the trail was and what it was supposed to mean wasn’t very obvious as the commentary lasted for about 3 minutes of the 2 hours and was only in German! The scenery wasn’t that fascinating either!
Some nice parts of the cruise

Our Mosel experience was complete.

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