Saturday, May 30, 2009



Happy Birthday Dick! We sleep in and have another European breakfast: tea and coffee, ham, cheese, cold hard-boiled eggs, bread and yogurt. We are missing our eggs and bacon! Then we ask the desk clerk to call ahead to two hotels ( from our new book of Hotels) for the next 3 nights and the problems begin! Both places are booked and he tells us that it is a long holiday weekend in Germany! It is something called “Pinkton” or, it sounds like that. OK, we go to plan “B” except we do not have one! We decide the safest thing to do is to drive to Trier and go to the “big I” for some help.

By 11:00AM, we are heading down a local road and find a German tank in a little village park...Dick never passes on a history photo opt!
We are aiming for Bastogne as Dick wants to see the Mardasson Memorial and museum there. Bastogne was a road network center, held by the 101st Airborne during the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944.From there we head across Luxemburg on more local roads. The countryside is stunning…rolling hills with deep valleys and that beautiful new spring green of farmland. All the houses have beautiful flower gardens and, as expected, the villages are wonderfully quaint and surprisingly with no tourists. We then head through the remote Mullerthal area in western Luxemburg. This is a hilly, heavily forested area with some weird rock formations. There is evidence that it gets lots of hiking and camping use in the season, but it is cool and damp today. We then turn southward toward Trier and drive along the Saur River.

About 2:00PM, we get to Trier and head for a parking garage and the information center. They confirm that it is a long holiday weekend in Germany and give us a list of hotels in Trier to choose from along with a booklet with hotels along the Mosel Valley. We pick the Altstadt-Hotel, across from the Porta Nigra.The Porta Nigra is a huge sandstone structure that was part of the Roman wall around the city. Built in the 2nd Century AD, the white sandstone has turned a dirty black over the years giving it the name of “Black Gate” in Latin. The information center representative calls for us, confirms there is space available, and we walk over and check in. It is an old hotel, but clean and has in room WIFI, which we need to find a room for the next three nights. Dick moves the car to the hotel parking lot while Carolyn logs onto the internet. With the aid of the booklet and a booking site, we make reservations for the next three nights: two nights on the Mosel River and one night on the Rhine. That gets us through the long weekend.

It is mid afternoom and we are both hungry so we head out to explore Trier on foot. It has a nice pedestrian shopping area near the Porta Nigra which we explore and where we pick up some sandwiches to eat for a late lunch as we walk down toward the main square which is surrounded by colorful old buildings. There is a market going on in the middle of the square and the locals are buying!We then head back to the hotel by way of the Cathedral or Liebfrauenkirche. Along the way, we find an antique shop with the mother-of-pearl demitasse spoons we have been looking for. Dick now has his Birthday present!

It is again cocktail time, so we get some ice from the sister hotel bar across the street and have drinks in the room while we try to catch up on our postings. Most of the places we have stayed in Europe have not had internet so we are way behind. About 8:45PM, we head to dinner at the Strassa Dom restaurant.It is still white asparagus season in Germany, so we try their version along with a schnitzel and some apple strudel. It tastes very good. We walk back to the room by way of the Porta Nigra and observe that they roll up the sidewalks in this town early and it is time we joined them.

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