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Published: July 13th 2015
Abbey ruins with great reflections.
Friday 10 July 2015
After a good night's sleep in our wonderfully appointed apartment in the Mosel Valley village of Sankt Aldegund we have a full day to get to Metz by late afternoon. We went to say our goodbyes to our host and were introduced to a Belgian couple who were staying on for a few days. Their English was very good, explained by "Nobody else speaks Flemish so we have to learn other languages...". It would have been easy to stay on enjoying the chance to chat with this couple and our hosts but we have some serious meandering to do up the Mosel Valley, so it was into the car for a self-directed excursion. Polly can be silenced but faithfully records our movements on her map, so we never feel entirely alone.
Our plan was to drive up the Valley, crossing the river as often as needed to ensure we enjoyed the views from both sides. As we drove, there were places we stopped and explored a little, admiring the energy of the many cyclists enjoying the almost flat well-formed cycle path entirely separated from the busy road. There were river cruise boats making their way
Another castle near Cochem.
upstream through the locks, and a large number of riverside camping grounds already filled with summer holidaymakers. On the steep hillsides the grapevines marched, sometimes straight up the slope and sometimes along well-formed terraces. We had wondered how the vines growing in vertical rows were managed, given the steep gradient. Then we noticed many single rails climbing the rows too and saw small carts that must run up and down on the rails.
Lunchtime was upon us and we stopped in an attractive looking village but made the mistake of choosing the first hotel/restaurant we came to, because it looked very quiet. There may have been a reason for the quietness that should have alerted us. Suffice to say we would not eat there again after an experience of Toast Hawaii!
With time rapidly advancing we continued our drive which took us past Trier where unfortunately traffic was too heavy to contemplate a look at the town. Now we had Luxembourg in our sights, taking the advice of last night's host and stopping there for cheap diesel. When we reached the town we had been advised to stop at, we stared at the line up of huge service
stations along both sides of the road. As with lunch, the best deal was not the first one we came to, although all prices were much cheaper than that asked outside Luxembourg.
Back to the task of reaching Metz, our stop for two nights. Before long we encountered very slow traffic on the motorway due to general congestion at entrances and exits. On this Friday afternoon, with the summer holidays under way and a public holiday, Bastille Day, on Tuesday, we wondered if this frustrating driving was caused by holiday makers as well as commuters. It made us feel glad that at home we are free of the daily stress of coping with congested roads.
The final task of the day was to enlist Polly's help in finding our way to our hotel located in an area on the outskirts of Metz with the names Technopole and Metropole, where huge new buildings suggest congress venues, sports stadia, perhaps a university or two. We found a giant supermarket of a scale that makes it really hard to see the end of the building and chose a few tasty bits and pieces for an in-room evening meal before exhaustion set
The chariot to get up the steep slopes to the vineyards.
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