The River(Bruce Springsteen) - Driving the Moselle River to Trier and Onto France - 21st June 2016


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June 21st 2016
Published: June 24th 2016
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We had to break what had become a tradition this morning and had breakfast earlier than for the last 5 days.

We are heading for France so we have packing and a general tidy up to complete and be on the road by around 10am as it is a long drive to our destination at Dommartin-le-St Pere.

We have loved our time at St Aldegund and the BBA V3 has slowed its momentum down nicely to fit in with the very relaxed lifestyle that engenders itself in this part of the world.

The Moselle is more laid back than the Rhine area and the pace of life appears far more relaxed.

From our terrace we have watched barges chug by in both directions on a regular basis. The only thing we haven’t seen are any longer distance cruise boats and we haven’t quite figured out why that is.OK, the Rhine carried a lot more cruises last time we were here but we had seen cruise boats on the Moselle too. Perhaps there have been some cruises go by but just not when we were watching.

At one time when we were planning our time here we were going to do some tripping around in the car but we haven’t used Peggy for 5 days.

One of the places we wanted to check out was the oldest town in Germany, Trier, which is near the border with Luxembourg and France.

To get there we plan to drive along the remainder of the Moselle River at least as far as Trier and then leave it over to the GPS to get us to our destination the fastest way which we guess will probably mean some highway driving.

As expected the GPS did try and divert us early onto the highway not far from our starting point but we ignored her and on all the other occasions until we got close to Trier and she gave up trying!

Like the river the road running alongside wanders all over the place and in a couple of places where we took a curve that altered our direction by 180 deg we could have climbed over a hill and seen where we had come from 10 minutes earlier.

As we progressed on the valley started to widen out and in some ways the scenery wasn’t quite as interesting as the villages spread back to the lower hills from the river making them look less compact.

Every village seemed to have a ‘park over’ place for caravans and campervans and many of them were full or almost so. There were also the traditional camp grounds too but those stopped at the ‘park over ‘places were all self contained and did not power or toilet/shower facilities. Many of the number plates we got a glance at as we drove by were from the Netherlands and it looks like the population empties out and heads here. That is why we had seen so many people cycling.

The other feature of the villages alongside the river is the prominent church spires that indicate where the centre of the village is. Every village has at least one main church.

At Urzig we encountered a ‘blot on the landscape’ that has spoiled the landscape above the town for ever.

A huge road bridge was being constructed over the river valley and high above the river itself. We weren’t sure what road this is but can only assume it will be part of a new motorway through the area possibly from Frankfurt to the west.

We arrived into Trier and found a car park on the road easily and although it only gave us an hour that is all the time we realistically have as we still have a good distance to our destination.

We found the town square a short walk away from the car park and this put us in the middle of the old town.

The square was abuzz with people and as it was on lunchtime the numerous cafes were doing a roaring trade.

The buildings around the square have a feeling of France in them although where there were flags flying they were definitely German. France had tried to claim the city on a number of occasions and succeeded during the Napoleonic War in 1794 before it passed back to German hands and the King of Prussia in 1818.

Following the Allied defeat at Dunkirk 60,000 Allied soldiers were marched here before they were taken onto POW camps further into Germany. Needless to say that the city was heavily bombed during 1944 during the Allied advance on Germany.

Most of the main sites have been preserved well and in the hour we had we had time to visit the Trier Cathedral which dates back to Roman times and is massive building. The robe Jesus was supposed to have worn during his crucifixion is housed in the cathedral but is only bought out very infrequently, the last time in 2012.

We went off in search of the Roman Amphitheatre but ran out of time before we found it and although we had thought of going to look for it once we got back to the car we then read that it had been ‘modernised ‘and we thought better of it.

However on the way back to the car we did drop into the Basilica Constantine another building dating back to Roman times of the 4th century. It too had been badly damaged in 1944 with a fire destroying the interior. It has been reinstated but not with the decorations that were there when the fire happened but more modern fittings and essentially it is a large open space.

We had crossed over the 2nd century Roman bridge on our way in and we did so on our way out. This bridge is the oldest road bridge still carrying traffic north of the Alps.

It wasn’t far to the Luxembourg border and cheap petrol, around 20c a litre cheaper than in Germany so it was time to fill the tank.

In a way we were grateful for the opportunity to join a 130kph road and head south on the A3 which also ensured we missed the cities of Metz and Nancy.

It was back to sharing the road with trucks again although most seemed to be going north in the opposite direction to us.

The GPS took us off the A3 at Pont-a-Mousson and onto the D958 a much quieter road that passed through some lovely French countryside with small villages every so often.

At St Dizier we took the opportunity to do our grocery shopping at Leclerc supermarket as the village we will call home for the next 4 nights is very small and the only shop we are aware of is a boulangerie.

In a small village we passed through not far from Dommartin le St Pere we noticed an automatic machine that dispensed baguettes on the side of the road. The cost of 90c seemed a good deal if all you had to do was head out the front door and walk down the road to the baguette machine to top up supplies. The French tend to buy bread or baguettes every day and sometimes twice a day.

There was a succession of small rural roads that interconnected before we got ourselves onto the last road before the apartment, the D173 and as it was now early in the evening we shouldn’t have been surprised by the fox that ran across the road ahead of us as we passed between two fields of ripenening wheat.

For a good part of the drive since leaving the A3 back at Pont-a-Mousson we seemed to drive along a plateau and then drop down into a small river valley where villages were located before driving out the other end back upon to the plateau again. This gave the impression that there were no villages on the plateau itself but rather just where the river or streams ran.

Picking out where our apartment was located was very easy as it was next to the Hotel De Ville (Town Hall) and just below the church.

Our host Ingrid had been looking out for us as we were later than we had anticipated that we would arrive.

The apartment is much smaller than the one we had on the Moselle but it has everything we need so we are sure we will be comfortable here where again we don’t intend to take the car too far and live the village life for the time we have here.

PS:Bruce Springsteen makes another appearance with a title song which also feels the mood of the Moselle River as it meanders its way through France and into Germany before it joins the mighty Rhine River.Enjoy on Youtube.


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25th June 2016

Driving the A3 during rush hour
We arrived at Trier mid afternoon on a Friday to be met by most of the population leaving for France or Luxembourg for the weekend. The traffic was horrific. Never got to visit Trier as our destination was Metz. The highlight of the drive was passing a very fast looking red lamborghini such was the density of the traffic. Perhaps we'll get there next time. Chris
26th June 2016

We were lunchtime so traffic not so bad.But we wished we had more time in Trier as we missed 2 or 3 highlights.Will have to be next time
1st July 2016

Trier
Last time I was in Trier was in 1988 - can't say I remember much about it!

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