Day 5: Up and Down the Mosel

We were up and out by 9:00 and drove directly to the Burg Eltz castle, a castle that is still inhabited by the Eltz family.  We found the parking lot without any problems but by this point, I had to go potty so bad I couldn’t see straight (remember Trier?  Yeah, lesson not learned).  This is when we discovered a very steep road we had to walk down to get to the castle, but I was just thankful it was downhill at this point.  We took a few photos then made it to the castle, where they had a lovely, clean bathroom.  Aaaah, now we could get our castle on.

That’s some crib!

We took the English guided tour, which lasted about 45 minutes and took us into some interesting rooms.  But here is the thing about castles:  they look super cool from the outside, and they seem so novel, given we don’t have very many of them just laying around in the States.  But once you get inside, all castles pretty much look the same and aren’t nearly as impressive on the inside as the outside.  Oh, well, as this one was a biggie, we had to see it for ourselves.

We then left the castle as it was not only starting to fill up with other tourists (good thing we were there so early!), but it was starting to get hot outside, too.  We hoofed it back up the long, steep road to the parking lot and headed off to Cochem, our next stop along the Mosel.  Cochem is a nice, fairly large town, and we parked the car by the train station and set off to find the TI.  Now armed with a map, we toured the town, along with the thousands of people who had the same idea.

As it was lunchtime and we’d already had a full day, we were a bit hungry and in search of a good spot where we could just pick up a sandwich again (like we had in Trier but minus the drunk man).  We searched high and low and finally came across a little place along the main road/popular shopping area and had our sandwiches.  Feeling much better about life, we were off to go up the chairlift to take in a birds-eye view of Cochem and the Mosel Valley.

Heading up the hill surrounded by castles and vineyards

The chairlift was fun (and not too scary, as it felt we were pretty secured), and Jim and I were able to ride together.  I made him promise not to shake the lift.  He mostly didn’t.  Up at the top, we went on another short hike (I wasn’t counting, or anything, but it was our second hike of the day, after Burg Eltz) to the lookout point and took in the views up and down the Mosel.  The natural beauty of this river is gorgeous, with miles of vineyards, swans gracefully swimming about, and random castles smattered up on the hillsides.  It really was something else.

We went back down the chairlift without incident (yet were in the direct, hot sun), stopped briefly in an internet café (which are hard to find anymore) and headed back to the car.

Beilstein Swan

Our next stop was, according to Rick Steves, a town that oozes quaintness, called Beilstein.  And yes, it was quaint, but no more so than any of the other dozens of towns along the Mosel that looked almost identical.  We wandered around for about 10 minutes (and I got to get close to a swan sitting by the road to take a close-up picture.  The swan just glared at me, he was all business, that one) and stopped at an outside restaurant for a snack.  It turned out to be a rather sugary stop, as I ended up accidentally ordering a cold chocolate drink with ice cream in it, Jim got a coffee drink with ice cream in it, and we shared an apple strudel (also with ice cream), something we both had been wanting to try.  It wasn’t that great, and perhaps not the best representation of the dessert that is so popular in Germany.

Now hopped up on sugar and with a bit of a gut ache, we got back into the car where we headed back to Zell and proceeded to sit on our balcony the rest of the evening, polishing off the bottle of wine and watching the river traffic for hours.  It was a blast.

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