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Published: September 20th 2019
Castle Landshot, Above Bernkastel-Kues
There is evidence of an original castle dating back to the 4th century. The current ruin is the result of a fire in 1692, but still sits above Bernkastel-Kues as an important reminder, and has a restaurant onsite now.
After Tim picked us up from the Frankfurt Hahn Airport last night, he suggested we go to a town on the Moselle River for dinner. I’ve never heard of Bernkastel-Kues before, but dinner was dinner and we would arrive home too late to bother eating. We wound our way along dark roads in the forests, and after passing through a long illuminated tunnel, we arrived at our destination.
It was magical. I won‘t describe it but it really was as you’d expect a classic german village to be. Check out the pics. We parked by the Moselle River in a large car park that is located where the original railway used to be. The walk up through the town square passed immaculate restored buildings, with dark exposed timber framing highlighting the brightly coloured walls and slate roofs. After some directions from a bar owner, we called into a busy restaurant for a schnitzel and strudel.
A familiar loud accent came from the next table as an Australian woman in her 30’s - I think - berated her husband for some indiscretion or oversight he committed. It seemed he was being given some much needed guidance, as she pointed her
This building overlooks the River Moselle, on what was originally the Bernkastel side, until 1905 when Kues and Bernkastel amalgated and came under the control of one authority.
finger and bobbed her head like a chook eating wheat, in a very ‘Kath and Kim’ tone. ( If that reference means nothing to you, it relates to an Australian self deprecating comedy show: Google it for a laugh.)
We spoke very quietly, after I had one warning, as we didn’t want to be drawn into a conversation with them. I often don’t realise the volume of my own voice as I’m half deaf; that’s my excuse anyway. Dinner was authentic and delicious.
Last night was a late one, and wasn’t helped by a 6.54am call this morning.
It may have been a mistaken call, a ‘pocket’ call, but it woke me up, and then I had to go to another room to get some internet in order to answer it.
I was up and awake.
Tim had an early meeting at work and had gone by 7.30.
Sue and I had only one commitment today, washing.
Well, that was on its way by 10am, and to kill the 70 minutes of the multi colour wash cycle, I suggested a walk down to the cafe Tim recommended. We had a faintly
marked map with the first turn , a cafe called Babbo, and a circle on an intersection that indicated a better cafe, with no name.
This part of Luxembourg is Esch- sur - Alzette, a clean pastel coloured neighbourhood with wide leafy streets, no traffic congestion, and more than it‘s fair share of beauty shops, hair dressers and wellbeing centres. The local church has a tall steeple, tiled with curved slate, and neat grounds that offer no indication that it is ever attended.
We walked down a beautiful road of light green leaves, soon to be bare branches as winter draws near. It snows here in winter, a cold, unforgiving time when life is probably work, unless you’re happy to brave the wet days, slippery paths, and join the determined people who are also trying to make the best of it. I’ve never lived in a winter like this, and I never plan to..
We passed square, box like apartment blocks that were trim, well kept, and the glimpse you had through the windows showed a comfortable stylish life. Many of these buildings, through their design, appear to be pre WWII, and one classic rendered building had
an area of render crumbling near a curved sill of a window, and it was a stone and pebble mix construction. That could go back to the early 20th Century.
The cars parked along the roads are generally prestige brands, so it‘s fair to say this area is becoming gentrified, with new builds and extensions to existing properties bring the houses up to the level expected by the owners.
As we approached the Babbo Cafe, I scanned the intersection to find the better cafe, and located on a wedge on 3 intersecting roads was Le Pitcher Cafe. It was right in the middle of the circle Tim drew.
The first impression was cigarette smoke. The owner, a jaded Colin Farrell lookalike, had a smoke hanging from his mouth, but the place stank. He wasn’t the only smoker. Above the bar hung a bumper bar from an American car, with a homemade, ‘ Iowan By Birth, Luxembourger By Grace Of God ‘ sign, laminated and yellowed from age and nicotine. The owner shifted restlessly and was looking outside every time I watched him. He looked like he was expecting a debt collector, or another unwanted visitor. I think
his cafe had a good view of all approaches for a reason.
I hide my initial shock - this was meant to be the good cafe - and rather than retreat, ordered two coffees. To our right, on the opposite side of the bar, half a dozen men drank beer and spirits, and I sensed a laugh as we sat down.
They knew we had made a mistake coming here.
The decor was Car Club meets Wild West, and I don’t think Colin really ever left Iowa. Number plates, street signs, movie posters and an ancient petrol pump, all competed with old car parts mounted on the ceiling and walls. A notice board, with a smattering of old tin signs advertising drinks and cigarettes hung above our heads, and was decorated with hundreds of shiny staples that were never removed with the notices they held. The centrepiece of this display was the dusty Mopar , Parts and Accessories clock that had stopped at 6.10. If it had a year display as well, it looked like it might be 6.10,1972. This place was in a time warp.
While we were there students came and went, smoked outside,
and drank beer ; it was lunch time. They looked like secondary students as there is a school nearby. I don’t think this owner would be checking IDs.
I paid and we wandered up the street that pointed towards the Synagogue. It was a commercial street with interesting buildings; bakeries alongside lawyers and, yes, more beauty shops, but after a while I stopped at a corner, and decided to turn back, go a different way, through a park, and buy some lunch to take home to prepare.
We entered a small supermarket, and selected fruit and bagged up some bread while the lights in each aisle turned off, and electric shutters on the refrigerated section slowly signalled for us to pay and leave; not very subtle.
Our first walk in Luxembourg was over.
Tomorrow we are driving to Ghent in Belgium for 2 nights. Tim will stay for one, drive home on Sunday, and we will catch a train on Monday. For the rest of the week I’ll be working my way down a list of jobs that has been drawn up for me.
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