Have you ever considered what the source of our mighty Mosel river looks like or indeed where it is? Well, believe it or not, the picture above is that very source and it springs from the ground at Ballon d’Alsace in the Vosges Mountains of France where it is called the Moselle. Continue reading “The Humble Source of the Mosel”
Unfortunately in Britain our network of waterways are no longer used for commercial purposes, instead they are overrun with rental boats and people looking for a slower pace of life which is ironic as everything is becoming do congested.
However, in mainland Europe the rivers and canals remain an important network for internal transport of goods, with huge barges like the one in this video a very common sight. This one was spotted in Zell recently as it headed upstream from the Rhine.
In August Traben Trarbach had the pleasure of hosting Amphib 2014, an international rally for amphibious vehicles which is now in its 28th year but has only been held in Germany on three other occasions previously.
Unfortunately, I could not make the event but judging by the video it looks like a great time was had by all and there was an impressive collection of amphibious vehicles, some of which look very robust and road/river-worthy, but others look really precarious and guaranteed to put a smile on everyone’s face!
All I can say now is, I want one!
Well, this picture is one of the reasons why the river is so large. It is the river Ueßbach which joins the Alfbach just above the lovely town of Alf. The Alfbach is one of the numerous tributaries of the Mosel which constantly feed it from the surrounding hills, and as you can see it carries a fair amount of water through some lovely woodland scenery.
A lot of people just explore the Mosel valley, but you don’t have to go far up the hills to come across more stunning places and it is a great way of getting away from the bulk of the tourists in summer. So put on your boots and waterproofs and get out there – you won’t regret it!
I lived in the Midlands for over twenty years and during that time became absorbed with the UK canal system and narrowboats in general. They were but one of the driving forces behind the industrial revolution and after years of pain and neglect are now an important part of our tourist and leisure industries. I lived near the Hatton Locks flight in Warwick and today one of my long list of favourite CLs is in Leighton Buzzard next to a narrowboat marina – and an excellent pub.
Here on the Mosel, locks and barges are an altogether bigger proposition with some fantastic design and engineering deployed.
I guess my next step up is to visit the Suez and Panama canals!
As you can see from my “Who Am I?” section, I am a Brit (yes, I can still call myself that now that the UK remains intact following yesterday’s referendum!) Germanophile currently trying to juggle a career in the Arab world with a life in the Mosel. I like to think that my situation is unique and that I am the only “foreigner” living in Zell. Yeah, I know that sounds selfish but the region is so special I would hate for it to get overrun with people wanting pie and chips and the Daily Mirror in the same way the Spanish Costas have. Thankfully, that is not likely to happen as the region is not known for being a haven for sun worshipers which is ironic as when the sun shine over the river, it really shines and the river offers aquatic activities on par with most seaside resorts!
Whilst it is no secret the region attracts tourists from many places both near and far (I regularly see cars from Sweden, Denmark, Italy and such places), there are also numerous folk who have – like me – decided it really a nice place to be. Most of those invest in holiday homes which gives them an income whilst also allowing them the opportunity to grab a weekend or more here and there to quaff the lovely local plonk, whilst others are living here either as retirees, workers or even business owners. Originally I bought my place in Zell as a base where I could escape the madness of the Middle East from time to time. Previously I had a flat in the industrial Ruhr region of Germany. That was okay, but not the kind of place I want to spend the rest of my life. So for now, I fly to my new ‘home’ as often as I can, and I am looking forward to the day when I can be permanently part of local life.
So what attracted me to this region in particular? Well, it is unquestionably an area of outstanding natural beauty offering so many leisure opportunities for everyone. Personally, my favourite activities are exploring the region on foot or by bike and discovering the numerous historic towns, villages and castles that the area is so abundantly blessed with. Luxembourg, Belgium and Holland are on the doorstep and other places are within easy reach. Then of course, there is the wine which really does speak for itself, and being in Germany, the beer is not half bad either! I am also a bit of a motorbike fan and the region attracts bikers from all over Europe seeking thrilling rides against a backdrop of thrilling scenery. Oh, and I almost forgot the river – boating and canoeing for starters? Yes please! But above all – and excuse me if this sounds corny – it is the people who are wonderfully friendly and welcoming.
If you have never visited the region, do so. You will not regret it. But shhh, keep it to yourself as we don’t want to spoil the place!