Mosel Valley, Water Edition: Rain, Pools and Rivers

Because there is no rule that says I have to write through my day in a chronological fashion – let’s mix things up and try a backwards approach.

I said yesterday that I wanted snow.  Instead I get a tweet from a colleague this afternoon with a Global & Mail article on the record heat wave in Germany.  In fact, they tell people not to go out in the heat if they can avoid it.  Thinking back to my terrible luck with the US heat bubble of ’11, I’m starting to think my summer travels should be restricted to the southern hemisphere.  Anywhere that is willing to call its current season “winter” or has a daily high below 20 degrees C will do.  But given my love of travel in general,  it’s hard to make the most of the beautiful summer off and simultaneously avoid the heat.  So there it is.

When I was planning our time in Cochem I did some research of “things to do.”  There is a castle, and cruising the river and wine tastings – all the big local stuff.  And then trip advisor recommended Moselbad – a local pool.  I remember rolling my eyes and dismissing it.  I mean – I can go to the pool at home.  Why would I take any part of my glorious German vacation to go to a pool.  I’m sure you’ve put this together by now.  It was hot!  We had 2 choices….a 40 minute walk uphill in the heat to see the castle.  Or the pool.  It wasn’t really a choice.  The heat had already driven me to a point that I couldn’t complete my sentences and my anxiety was through the roof (heat – why do you torment me so!), so Ray made the call that a cool down was in order.  A 20 minute stroll down the side of the Mosel ended us there.  There was 2 large outdoor pools (and inside ones, but you had to choose one direction when paying, so we went out).  One had a water slide and the other was a pull size Olympic Pool.  I timed Ray has he swam his best 100 m freestyle, and dared him to take a dive from the 5m platform (he didn’t bite) and mostly i just floated there in the cool water, next to the Mosel River, for 2 hours.  A total win.  Lesson learned – never never dismiss swimming as an option.  Regardless of the country.

Of course our attempted 100m laps and endless tredding of water left us sore as we spent the earlier part of the day hiking a small mountain in the cute tiny village of Beilstein (BILE-SHTINE).  Seriously – the whole village fits in a photo.  Burg Metternich was in ruins, but the views were worth the climb.  Ray photographed and stitched together the amazing panoramas below (I believe you can click on them to see them in all their glory).  As well, for the second day in a row, we settled on cake for lunch.  And Beer for Ray.  So Beilstein = cake + hiking.

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3-3We made it to Beilstein by way of a boat.  River boats set sail up and down the Mosel all day.  The Mosel runs through Germany, Luxembourg and into France, so this route is used to transport coal, steel, and agricultural products from one place to another.  1 boat can take 3000 tonnes of product – incredibly impressive.  The 500+ km can be navigated easily, and water levels are controlled by 14 locks, 1 of which we had to pass through.  While the drive from Cochem to Beilstien is only 10 km, the river boat takes 1 hour each way, and is a beautiful and relaxing way to sip in the Mosel.  The sides of the valley, no matter how steep, are rich in vineyards growing none other than the famous Riesling that the Mosel Valley is know so well for – a wine first brought here by Romans 2000 years ago.  The boat, and the hike, were both done in the presence of varying degrees of rain. From 10am until we returned around 2:30 – it rained.  I kept having to clean rain drops of my lenses (they were ruining my photos!) but given that it was warm, the cool rain was welcoming.  I was willing to have my photography inconvienanced for the sake of sanity.  Of course, as you already know, the heat returned when the down pours stopped.

And this ended the day with clear skies.  After a post-swim nap (swimming makes you sleepy!  so does jetlag and heat), we headed for dinner around 8:00pm (the only time it is cool enough to thing about food) for the second night in a row to a little Italian place over the water.  We returned so Ray could have another round at their Bruschetta.  He swears he has never had a tomato so amazing – direct from Italy of course and in season.  While yesterday we had pizza, today we went for pastas…and even saved a small place for a coffee white chocolate ice cream with whipped cream piece of yumminess.  Ray is now talking about wanting to go to Italy.  What month of the year is it cold in Italy?  We’ll go then.

3-1So our time in Cochem is coming to a close.  It was exactly what we wanted for the start of our trip – an easy, lazy, low pressure way to settle into a busy vacation.  Tomorrow morning we head by rain to Trier for the day, and then continue our journey to Luxembourg City for the night.  Then on Sunday – Paris!  While I’m thrilled about Trier and Luxembourg – I am even more excited for a hotel room with AC!  I know – I’m a broken record.    I’m okay with that.  Excited to share with you a great deal of Roman history from the town of Trier tomorrow!

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