Beauty, sunshine, grapes, grapes and more grapes ...
From Cologne, our journey along the banks of the Mosel was utterly and completely breathtaking. On either side of the river are steep, high banks, some completely covered with Riesling grape vines, the wine from which the area is famous. Scattered along the length of the river are little towns that are so picture perfect they look to be straight out of a fairy tale. The castles that stood tall in many of the towns looked like those from storybook illustrations and reminded me so much of a children’s castle cake that they looked almost edible. We were so delighted to be here, it felt like we had stumbled across an amazing little secret and could not wait to explore. We had booked into a site just outside Burgen at the “Knaus camping park” which was about an hour along the river from Koblenz and overlooked a castle. They had a traditional restaurant onsite where we all had dinner and had a German feast (with schnitzel of course) and a MASSIVE beer
Our front yard
Sampling the flavors of the region :-)
View from our site
Mylo making yet another friend
The weather on Saturday morning was damp and drizzly but we wacked a jacket on Mylo and a poncho on Felix and cycled into the local village which was less than 10 minutes on the bikes. It started to pour so we hurried into an Italian restaurant which was rather convenient as Mylo had just said he felt like spaghetti; we were impressed at how good Italian food was in Germany! After cycling through the little town we ended up having a pretty relaxed day as the rain kept threatening to pour but thankfully we stayed mostly dry and enjoyed a dry, quiet evening with some local wine.
Sunday the 13th July
We had heard that “Burg Eltz” was well worth a visit so we packed up the van and headed about half an hour inland. From the car park it was a steep walk down a hill, so much so that we had to wind the buggy from left to right in fear of it running away on us! The castle was such an incredible site, completely hidden from view among the surrounding hills until all of a sudden it just appeared, huge and proud and magnificent. We joined an English tour around the inside after which we grabbed lunch before walking down to the river beside the castle where Mylo had a paddle.
Testing the water
Some cyclists that we spoke to while sheltering from the rain in Burgen had suggested Bernkastel Kues as a good spot so we headed back along the river, past countless beautiful villages and towns and some of the most gorgeous scenery I have ever seen before arriving at our site.
We had a great plot, just behind the playground which Mylo was delighted with, and grabbed some dinner before heading to bed.
Monday the 14th. Bernkastel Kues
After almost a week of grey mornings we woke to gorgeous sunshine. Mylo immediately made friends with a Dutch boy called Thom who spoke no English but they played together for hours, “chatting” away over Mylo’s train set. Our plot was right under a cherry tree so we gobbled more cherries than we perhaps should have but they were too good to resist, the small dark, super juicy type which literally drip when you bite into them.
Our campsite was right on the Mosel so in the afternoon we enjoyed a fantastic bike ride along the riverbank into Bernkastel Kues. The town is absolutely breathtaking, the square in which we had dinner was simply perfect with an amazing double faced fountain and buildings painted in vibrant colours. We splashed out on a restaurant meal and a bottle of local wine, all of which was divine. When we got back I jumped in the pool which overlooked row upon row of vineyards on the opposite bank of the Mosel and I felt pretty darn privileged to be here.
Views of the Mosel
I loved this fountain
view from our table
AMAZING afternoon and evening in Bernkastel Kues
Tuesday the 15th July
Jeremy make pancakes for breakie and we managed to forage some blackberries to have with them Mylo was super excited to have a turn on Thom’s PROPER bike!! We wanted to see more of Bernkastle Kues so headed back in, this time on the other side of the river which gave an entirely different but equally beautiful view. We walked around the streets for hours and enjoyed ice creams in the sunshine before sampling some local wine. When we got back Jeremy and Mylo had a swim while Felix and I snoozed. Today was a perfect day.
Lovely buddies :-)
Mylo and Thom
Foraging for breakfast :-)
Wednesday the 16th July
We said our farewells to Thom and his parents, Arian and Heidi and made our way, upon a recommendation, to a water park that was aptly named “Panorama Bad”. Access was via a long, steep winding hill that climbed tall above the towns of Leiwen and Trittenheim. The view was utterly breathtaking and well worth the nail biting corners upon the approach.
The water park was just what we needed as it was a scorcher of a day and while the boys were too small for the big water slide and diving boards Jeremy and I made up for it, messing about like the majority of teenagers that surrounded us We took turns splashing about with the boys in the kiddie pool, a really fun little area with its own water slide which Mylo loved after initial trepidation. Both boys shared an inflatable seat that was the same as one Mylo had borrowed from Thom yesterday and had proven to be a brilliant piece of kit.
After a few hours of fun in the water we headed toward a “Stellplatz” in Mehring, around 20km from Trier, that had been recommended to Jeremy by another traveler. We had heard about Stellplatz sites before, from Claudia and Mike, as a site that is a lot more basic and informal than a campsite in that there are fewer facilities but with the possible option of water, electric and perhaps a WC. I am sure there is a huge variation in the Steilplatz scale and that we lucked out with this one. The location was simply unbeatable. Literally RIGHT on the Mosel with just a cycling path between the front row of campers and the river. Not only was the location phenomenal but site was also home to a vineyard with the wine, harvested from grapes surrounding us, sold for the ridiculous price of between 5E and 10E per bottle and E1.50 per glass! Needless to say that soon after arrival we sampled a bottle along with some delicious (and cheap!) food from their restaurant while listening to our host sing along to traditional German music.
Thursday the 17th July
As we were three rows back from the water we decided to take our breakie to the waters edge and make the most of this incredible location.
Breakfast on the Mosel
We were beside a lovely Dutch couple with their son who we had chatted to last night and who said that they were moving on so we could take their spot if we chose to. They had prime position of front row right at the end which couldn’t be beaten or refused so we moved our van and now we really were in heaven. Our new neighbours were a lovely Belgian couple, Luceane and Jacques, who Mylo immediately made friends with and paved the way for another bonding. We decided to head into Trier via bus so that we didn’t need to deal with the drama of finding a park. While Trier was lovely, the journey there and back was a mission to say the least so after returning after 10pm we quickly bathed the boys to rid them of the hot, sticky day, and as soon as they were in bed we bought a bottle of the local fizz which was insanely good and chilled out, by candlelight, in front of the river until bedtime.