Flooding on the Moselle


On a rainy morning, congratulating ourselves that we made it through the Trier lock on the last day before its closure, we cruised back to Wasserbillig in Luxembourg. 

The first foreboding of things to come were some rather big tree logs floating towards us. With relief we tied up at the Wasserbillig yacht club pontoon, where Leonard, the harbour master, had reserved a good spot for us. Just then the heavens really opened up! Anxiously we observed the water level of the Mosel rising. Things didn’t get better as whole forests seemed to rush past and some very thick logs and branches were hitting the Freshwater with increasing regularity, making it strum like a metal drum. This “music” went on all night.

We were expecting golf and guitar pro Aussie John the next morning when we heard that his train was cancelled due to the floods. However, after a complicated journey, he made it to Luxembourg where Austin met him. 

As Austin and John arrived back at the Freshwater the sun came out for long enough to have lunch on deck and a walk along the now raging Mosel. But this was clearly only a tease. As we heard bad news from tragic floods in Germany, France and Holland, we gradually realised that we would not be able to leave our mooring for a while to come. The rain continued and the town quay with it’s big bollards was gradually disappearing. We watched anxiously as the water level crept up the wall behind the yacht harbour, one brick at the time, counting 8 bricks of 12 cm heights so far, happy that we were on a floating pontoon with adjustable gangway.

To show John something else than just rain, we caught a bus to Trier the following day. We had a pleasant stroll around town and re-visited the Porta Negra, the Basilica, Crown Palace of Kaiser Constantin und the Dom.

After tasting some of the local food it started drizzling again and we fled to the current Nero exhibition. 

This emperor definitely had a huge image problem. Although not an innocent, he wasn’t as evil as he was made out to be. Against common believes, there is evidence that Nero didn’t start the fire which destroyed Rome, and that he played the violin while Rome was burning, is also questionable. But with his attempts into art, especially singing and acting he became a figure of ridicule. The 1951 film “Quo Vadis”  with Peter Ustinov added to Nero’s negative popularity in more recent times. Overall, it is said that Nero, having only a couple of murders and poisonings under his belt, wasn’t more or less evil than other rulers at those times. Psychologically probably not the most stable, he committed suicide at the age of 30.

If this rain is continuing and tree trunks keep banging against the boat waking us up, we will be concerned about our psyche - or our livers, as the gin level seems to be lowering proportionally to the rising water levels.

Reichsburg Cochem

Today we caught a train down the Mosel to the lovely town of Cochem where Austin and I had moored a couple of years ago. Well those moorings had totally disappeared under the floodwater, and even the more substantial cruise boat pontoons were in trouble now. 

The town itself was charming as always and John enjoyed the tour through the castle “Reichsburg”, but maybe not so much the steep ascent to it.

He quickly recovered after a couple of local beers and a “Curry Wurst”.

We heard in the news today that the flood of the Seine in Paris reached the critical 6m mark, and paintings in the lower level of the Louvre are being removed. 

In the meantime we are busy planning how to get John next Tuesday on time to his train to Saarbrücken, because - and of that we are sure - it won’t be by boat!

© Austin Robinson 2019