A year ago we ventured just a few miles out of the valley to the “Geierlay Hängseilbrücke” at Mörsdorf in the Hunsrück, and wow, what a bridge that is!
Opened just a little over two years ago, at 360 meters in length this is the longest rope (or in this case, cable) suspension bridge in Germany. It sits about 100 metres at its highest point and whilst it is not for the faint hearted, the views from the bridge itself are very impressive.
The bridge is actually part of the network of walking and hiking trails that criss cross the area. It is about a kilometer by foot from the village of Mörsdorf where parking is available (sadly not free, although access to the bridge is) along with a visitor centre and a couple of cafes.
By the way, please excuse my finger blurring the bottom left of the picture!
With that view, I could lie here 24/7 and watch the ever-changing landscape of the valley.
This picture was taken yesterday on the road from Reil towards Bengel and Wittlich. In the distance is Pünderich with Marionburg beyond.
I love how the shadows from the clouds darken the land below creating such a dramatic effect. I don’t know about you, but I find such scenery almost humbling.
Germany is famous for its Christmas markets, and virtually every town has one. The problem is, they can be a bit ‘samey’ if you know what I mean. But there are plenty with an unusual twist, and I think one of the most notable and romantic has to be the Traben-Trarbach”Mosel-Wein-Nachts-Markt” which literally means “Wine Nights Market”, a clever play on “Weihnachtsmarkt”, the German word for Christmas Market.
In keeping with the wine heritage of the town, this event offers markets in some enormous old vaulted cellars which are decked out with stalls offering a big variety of traditional crafts, edible treats and of course local plonk. Also on offer is an ice skating rink (outdoor, not in a cellar!) plus an extensive entertainment programme.
The markets and other activities are open from Friday through Sunday to 18th December, and then daily from 22nd December to 3rd January, although 24th and 25th December are closed for obvious reasons. In general, opening times are 11am to 9pm, but please check the website (links below) for the exact programme.
Traben-Trabach is very accessible, being located right on the Mosel between Koblenz and Trier. A shuttle bus service is available from some of the other towns in the locality, and cheap flights are available from various European cities to Frankfurt Hahn regional airport which is only about 40 minutes away, so why not spend a weekend here and experience the real German Christmas spirit?
You can find out more by clicking here for the website but you may have to run it through Google Translate as it is only in German. Clicking here will give you the brochure which has all of the important information in English, French and Dutch and includes a map of the various attractions, programme for the entertainment and more. Alternatively, the Tourist Information office in the town will be able to help.
Christmas – or “Weihnachts” in German – is fast approaching and that means the famous German Christmas Markets are now well underway. For those of us living in or visiting the Mosel, the unique combination of the magical market atmosphere coupled with picturesque surroundings really is unbeatable.
So put on your woolly scarves and gloves and indulge in a glass or two of the ubiquitous “Glühwein” (warm mulled wine) or “Eierlikor” (eggnog) as you browse a multitude of stalls selling crafts, trinkets, sweets and a whole host of other traditional (an not so traditional) Christmas goods.
Most towns big and small have at least one market, some lasting just for a few days and others for much longer, and you can find a selection of those that take place in and around the valley here, or for a little further afield but still close enough for a day trip click here.
When I bought my house in Zell, it was always in the back of my mind that the proximity to the river means that flooding is a distinct possibility. The house was advertised as being in a “high water free” location, and indeed it does sit a bit above the surrounding houses that I know do flood from time to time.
Anyway, I was scouting the internet for old pictures and I was not sure whether to laugh or cry when I found a picture of my street with water half way up the front doors, and my house was in the centre of the picture! The picture was taken in the flood of 1993, which was regarded as the “hundred year flood”. So I figured that – statistically at least – my place should be reasonably safe for a few years to come!
The prospect of being flooded out is to a total land lubber like me freaky to say the least. But the locals don’t seem to share my concerns – water off the proverbial duck’s back to them, if you’ll pardon the pun. They are obviously used to the river bursting its banks, and they know when and how to prepare for it, to minimize the risk, to limit the damage and how to clear up quickly afterwards. This is beautifully illustrated in this German video:
I was astounded when I saw this. The river roars past, quickly claiming large swathes of the adjacent land, flooding the cellars and ground floors of premises located in its way, but with the efficiency the Germans are noted for, those premises are swiftly cleared and everyone resorts to living upstairs and getting around by rowing boats. What Impressed me most was the community spirit and the camaraderie – watch out for the two ladies in the rowing boat before and after they have had a drink!
So watch out for future videos of the Mosel “Hochwasser” – you might see me paddling away from my lounge window on my way to the pub!
I am not a huge fan of Autumn as it signals in the coming of several colder, wetter months ahead as well as short days and long nights. But of course, the early part of Autumn does bring fabulous colors to the ever-changing landscape in the valley. This picture was taken from Zell Barl towards Zell and the road leading between the hills towards Hahn airport and Simmern.
Just outside of the Mosel Valley between Alf and Wittlich is Klostermühle ostrich farm where a farmer’s market is being held this weekend.
I will (when I get round to it) be posting an article on this little place, but it is worth a visit for the wonderful cafe, open countryside and of course the large feathered friends. There is also a Baroque church with a stunning interior just down the road too.
How about this for upcycling?! Spotted on one of the hiking trails above Briedel. The seats don’t look too comfortable though…
Anyone who has been along the river between Trarben Trarbach and Bernkastel Kues lately will have seen the one of the most controversial civil engineering projects in Germany to date – the Hochmoselbrücke or High Mosel Bridge.
Designed to connect various European ports, this bridge caught the public eye because it seems to needlessly follow a route which will carry the autobahn across one of the most important and beautiful wine regions in the world.
Love it or hate it, it cannot be denied that it is an impressive piece of engineering and I am pretty sure many of the objectors will end up using it anyway.