Cochem at the Mosel

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What a difference a day makes! The sun was shining, the puddles evaporated and the sky almost blue when we said goodbye to good old Father Rhein and turned into the Mosel. This time we were going upriver, against the current. We didn’t mind going slower  while enjoying the beautiful surroundings. And really, the current in the Mosel is quite mild, as a matter of fact in parts the water is as still as a lake. 

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The river snakes in big loops through steep hillsides. Behind every corner awaits a surprising view. Of course the vineyards are the common thread. The wine grows in neat rows and square patches on the steep slopes and we wondered how the wine growers can tend the vines on such inclines.

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To have the earliest possible sighting of oncoming traffic we followed the example of passing cruise ships and navigated to the outer edges of the river bends . But like the current flow, the traffic is so much less than on the Rhein.

So before we knew it, we were in Cochem. Welcomed by a Dutch and an American man catching our ropes, we tied up well to counteract the wash from passing cruise ships and barges. We were lucky to get a spot on the pontoon as this is a popular little town. Sitting on deck and enjoying the night lights of Cochem we decided to take a day off cruising and stay an extra night.

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We strolled through the narrow lanes of the centre and then climbed the road up to the “Reichsburg Cochem”, where a charming lady in medieval costume led us through the inside. We learned that the 12th century castle was largely destroyed by Louis XIV’s army but was reconstructed according to old plans by another Louis, Mr. Ravené, at the end of 19th century.

The family Ravené lived in Berlin and had made a fortune in the rail and iron industry. They used the castle as their summer residence. Today the castle is owned by the town Cochem. The living quarters are very pretty with painted ceilings throughout. In the hunting room we met some of the local wildlife like this originally 200 kg boar. Interesting were also the huge cast iron wine beakers of 4 and 5 litre capacity which was the daily ration of a man in the middle ages. For more festive occasions the wine was poured into big wine horns which were then passed around. The door locks were luckily fitted with an iron plate designed to guide the key held by an unsteady drunkard straight to the keyhole.

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Back down in town workers were busy setting up for the impending wine festival. A bar with big wine barrels was already built in the middle of the market square, where that night the festivities were to begin with music and dance, and, of course, plenty of fermented grape juice.

At 8pm the place was full of people drinking, eating and dancing. Unfortunately the band was so loud that we didn’t stay long. Plus Austin needed his ice cream! We found this amazing italian ice cream shop and had tiramisu, biscotto-keks and my favourite, pear and parmigiano ice cream - delicious juicy pear with bits of parmesan cheese mixed in - sounds strange until you taste it.

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20 km out of Cochem, while cruising upstream, we heard shouting from the side of the river. It took us a good 20 seconds to identify the shouts as “S-u-s-i !  S-u-s-i!” and a further 5 seconds to get over the surprise to see my old Remscheid buddies Renate and Georg standing there. A meeting place was quickly arranged, and it was great to spend some time together, especially since it was their 40th wedding anniversary. Love and Congratulations Renate and Georg!


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Lock on the Mosel River


© Austin Robinson 2019