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Published: August 4th 2013
The perfect summer weather continues but we weren’t in too much of a hurry to rise after 2 bottles of wine shared last night. Not that we were hung over, just that the village is so peaceful it was relaxing just to lie in bed and listen to the silence.
The apartment has everything we need and the cooking facilities were such that we will be able to get back to having bacon and eggs for the next 4 mornings and indulge ourselves a bit. So it was breakfast on the balcony nicely shaded from a sun that looked like it was going to produce another warm day.
Our hosts had offered to include us in their daily purchase of fresh bread rolls from the local bakerei (bakery) and we gratefully accepted so that we had something to fill and take with us for lunch on our planned drives in the surrounding countryside taking in the sights of the Mosel and the Rhine.
We had done our washing of clothes in Zwolle but it is amazing how quickly the washing pile mounts up again and so we got this out of the way along with a bit of
outstanding administration before we headed out to explore the river and the towns and villages along its banks.
Initially we thought we might get as far as Trier, the oldest city in Germany and also the birthplace of Karl Marx, but when we plugged it into the GPS it was over 70 kilometres away and we decided that that was too far when we also wanted to stop along the way.
Like most lengthy rivers of the world (the Mosel is 546 kilometres in length), the Mosel wanders its way through the valley created for it by receding ice thousands of years ago.
We reduced our aim of covering too much distance and thought if we got to Wittlich we would have seen a good variety of what the river had to offer in scenery in the area local to where we were staying.
In fact we only got as far as Traben,which on the map looked to be close to EP,yet we had still driven 45 kilometres.
There were not a lot of opportunities to cross the Mosel by bridge during our journey but part way we had to cross to the left hand
side as the road didn’t proceed any further up the right hand side for a short distance.
That switch to the opposite bank of the river from where we started out bought us to Traben and its attractiveness led us to find a car park and set out on foot to explore the narrow streets of the town which all ran gently uphill from the river bank.
While we were out walking and with a view of the river a cruise boat came into sight and we watched as it worked its way towards us against the downstream current. It didn’t appear to have too many passengers on board and the few that were on deck were sheltering from the direct sun under canopies. Cruising is an interesting way of seeing the river but you don’t have the freedom to stop wherever you want to explore a town or village that might interest you more than where the cruise schedule dictates a stop.
Our return down the river road, with the outside temperature from the car reading 27C, was all on the now, right hand side of the river, taking in all the small towns and villages
we had missed on the way up to Traben.
Much of the hillside on both sides of the river, up about 100 metres before the bush line started are planted out in vines including places that one would have considered too steep to be able to tend to the vines and pick the grapes at harvest time.However,most in the steepest of locations had a metal rail running from the roadside up the centre of the vineyard on which a two or three person motorised cart ran to give access for maintenance etc.On the river flats the vineyards were laid out as we would see them at home in NZ where grapes are grown. The predominant grape in the area is the Reisling and the wine is produced in three levels of sweetness including the trocken variety which is the driest.
Crossing back over just below EP we got back home in the early evening suitably impressed with what we had seen during the drive and also the time we taken to walk during a couple of stops including that at Traben.
Tomorrow we shall venture further afield to the Rhine River Valley where we had first intended
to stay for our time in the area but had found accommodation too expensive and more difficult to come by in comparison to the lesser known Mosel.
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