Saturday, May 30, 2009



What with no A/C in these German hotel rooms, we sleep with the windows open and that means that we hear the trash trucks come by in the middle of the night and we hear the kitchen staffs of two hotels arrive and start their days at the top of their voices at 5:00AM. (Or you do if you don't sleep with the iPod earplugs to drown out al sorts of noise!) While we both slept fairly well, we are up early due to the noise. At least one of us is! Fortunately, it is still very cool in this part of Germany so being without A/C right now is not too bad. By the way and for the record, this is our 44th wedding anniversary.

After another typical German breakfast of hard rolls, croissants, ham, jam, yogurt, and a hard-boiled egg, we pack up but leave our luggage in the room while we explore Trier a little more. After taking some photos of the Porta Nigra, we buy tickets for €14 for a 30-minute tram ride around the historic, old city. This takes us to some places we have not seen such as the Roman baths, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We wonder why they cannot make these tram cars with a little better suspension system. Even on city streets, this one is rough and when we hit cobblestone streets, it is uncomfortable. As we drive along the street beside the baths we pass a long section of the city walls.
After the tram we walk back to the square for some pictures with the morning light. The fruit and flower market are in full swing!

We then go back to the church or Baslilka und Kurfurstliches Schloss as Dick wants a picture of the outstanding organ pipes. The bascilica was built for Emperor Constantine around 305AD, then in the 1500's part of it was incorporated into a Renaissance castle so it is rather odd looking as seen in yesterday's picture. The church has lots of beautiful marble carvings at each column and it also has a double choir nave, one at each end. One is for the altar and the other was for the Emperor! Back at the hotel, we check out and head for three more sites on Carolyn’s list. One is the Roman amphitheatre, but it is charging €16 just to walk through and we pass on it, as the one we visited in Turkey was in much better condition. The second is a bridge across the Mosel River that uses the original Roman Bridge as a base. We drive across it, but unless you are on the bicycle path along the river, you cannot see the Roman part of it. Finally, we visit the St Matthias Church and take some rather crooked photos of its simple but elegant interior. They are setting up for a program in front of the church so we can't get a picture of the colorful facade, but do take some in the garden and well tended graveyard beside the church.That does it for our second visit to Trier. We were here the first time in 1984. Our impression of the city is very positive. It is clean, easy to navigate with a good GPS and has some significant sights to see.
Now we head, by the most direct route, to Cochem on the Mosel River. The GPS takes us through more beautiful, spring-green farm country until we arrive on the ridge overlooking Cochem down on the banks of the Mosel. What a beautiful view! We wind our way down the steep sides of the river valley and find our hotel with ease. It is the Moselromantik-Hotel Kessler-Meyer. Our room is very nice
and our balcony has a view of the river and the castle. The hotel is new looking with a pool and spa and nice public areas.

We do not bother to unload after checking in, as we want to drive north to Koblenz and see the river valley on both sides of the river. Our drive takes us along the west bank of the Mosel River and then back on the east bank.We are amazed to see how steep some of the vineyards are. The valley sides are terraced in most places

but we also see rows of vines planted up and down instead of across the hillsides. Some are so steep that we wonder how they can pick the grapes and get them down to the road but then we see small tram tracks running up the hillsides and have the answer to our question. Still, if you fell while picking on some of those slopes, you would break your neck.
On the drive to and from Kolbenz there are several nice castles, but I think the prettiest one is the one at Cochem though this one is a close runner up!.In Koblenz, we go to the Deutschen Eck or German Corner where the Mosel and the Rhine merge. Across from the point is the Festung (Fortress) Ehrenbreitsteinwhich was used to house captured flyers, mostly British, during WWII. It is a formidable looking place. After a stroll through the old, pedestrian only part of the city, we head back up the Mosel Valley to Alken, on the east side of the river. Our goal is the restaurant Burg Thurant.
When we arrive at the restaurant, there is only one table left in the small front courtyard and we take it. The menu is in German, naturally, and the owner/waiter has very limited English but we manage to select a delicious meal. Carolyn has a bowl of potato soup and prawns done scampi style but with a twist that we cannot quite place. We both agree they are wonderful. Dick has a seasonal garden salad and salmon. The salmon, grilled to perfection, is served over tagliatelli (SP) pasta with a sumptuous cream sauce and sautéed spinach. We share a bottle of local Riesling wine,

The service is slow as each dish is prepared when ordered but we enjoy the wine and watching the sun slowly set behind the western edge of the Mosel River valley. We pass on dessert and head for our hotel in Cochem where we finally unload, clean up, watch the sunset and crash!

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