Burg Eltz – A Hidden Jewel

Burg Eltz is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful castles in Germany, if not worldwide. When you first see it nestled in its secluded valley, you immediately understand why.

There has been a castle on the site for over 850 years. Originally constructed to protect the Mosel-Maifeld-Eifel trade route, it incorporates remains of earlier Celtic and Roman fortifications.

Remarkably, the castle has remained in the ownership of the original family. Unlike many other castles from the period, it was never destroyed or abandoned. More recently, a programme of conservation and repair has been in place to preserve it for years to come.

In keeping with the stunning exterior, the castle also boasts splendid interiors. Colourful wall paintings and intricate carvings complement the antiques and artworks collected by the castle owners over the centuries.

The castle sits in the ancient Eltz Forest, a large section of which is now a nature reserve. There are excellent trails for hiking, horse riding and cycling. Visitors must adhere to these to protect the rare species of plants and animals that are present in the forest.

The castle is open daily from 9.30 am to 5.30 pm until 1 November 2018. Full details including entrance fees, directions, history, etc. are available at https://burg-eltz.de/en/

German Public Holidays

I know we are half way through 2018 already, but for those of you still wondering, here is a list of the public holidays for Rhineland Palatinate (or Rheinland Pfalz as it is in German) over the remainder of the year:

  • Day of German Unity – Wednesday 3rd October 2018
  • All Saints Day – Thursday 1st November 2018
  • Christmas Day – Tuesday 25th December 2018
  • 2nd Day of Christmas (St. Stephen’s Day / Boxing Day) – Wednesday 26th December 2018
  • New Year – Tuesday 1st January 2019

It should be noted that in Germany, where a public holiday falls on a weekend no other day off is given lieu. We are lucky this year as they are all midweek.

Source: https://www.officeholidays.com/countries/germany/index.php

37th International Powerboat Race / 37 Internationale Motorbootrennen

For something a little different head over to Traben Trarbach on 9th and 10th June because the 37th international “Motorbootrennen” (powerboat race) is taking place.

Racing teams from around the world will be competing over the weekend in various races, plus of course, there will be practice sessions taking place also. You will be amazed at the speeds these boats reach and how agile they are as they skim across the surface of the water.

The event is free for spectators and the programme is available on the event website (sadly only in German so you will need to use Google Translate) which can be found here. On there is a map showing the location of the event and parking arrangements, plus the programme.

Mosel Regional Cuisine – Winzerteller

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People often ask me what typical regional cuisine is in the Mosel valley, but it is a very hard question to answer. What does seem to pop up regularly on menus in the eateries along the river is the “Winzerteller” which literally translates to “Vintner’s plate”. It’s not unique to the region, as I know such things are popular in other states such as Bavaria (where it is called “Brotzeit”), but it is the perfect accompaniment to the local Riesling wine.

As you can see, it is basically just a wooden platter with a selection of meats, cheese or both. The meats usually include cured ham and sliced sausage – often homemade – such as black pudding (“Blutwurst”) and liver sausage “Leberwurst”).

The platter in the picture is from a restaurant in Zell (I will publish the name when I remember it!) and includes cured ham and sausage made from local wild boar (“Wildschwein”). It is one of my favourite meals.

Keeping Your Head Above Water

For those of you with property in the immediate vicinity of the river, flooding is always going to be in the back of your mind particularly with the current rainfalls being experienced across Europe. However, don’t despair too much as there are two very useful websites where you can monitor river levels from anywhere in the world allowing you to better decide when to either phone a neighbour and ask them nicely to clear out your ground floor or to make sure your insurance covers flood risk.

The first site is “Mosel Webcams“. As the name suggests, from there you can get real time video images streamed to your computer or smartphone from selected locations in several of the larger towns along the Mosel. The cameras are on all 24/7 and after the storms we have recently experienced the footage can be quite dramatic.

The website was started by two couples – Harald and Bernadette Mohr and Rüdiger and Heidi Mitscher – originally just to show off their home town of Traben-Trarbach, but the idea proved so popular that they added eleven more cameras in other locations and I am jolly grateful they did. Please do make use of the site and click on their sponsors from time to time so that they can continue to provide this excellent service. The site is in German only but is very easy to use even if you don’t speak the language.

The other website I find really useful if a little scary at times is the official “Hochwassermeldedienst” or “Flood Reporting Service” which covers all the major rivers and tributaries in the state of Rhineland Palatinate. Although it is also in German, much of it is pictorial and self-explanatory. For example, clicking on “Mosel” then “Karte” (which means maps) takes you to a simple map showing the monitoring points on the river, each identified by a coloured point representing the current river level status with green being less than the 2 year high water level (or in laymans terms, flood that occurs about once every 2 years in the statistical average) all the way up to purple which is the highest level i.e. greater than the fifty year flood level. It all depends where your property is located which colour is the one you need to watch out for. My house was last caught by the hundred year flood back in 1993, so I only need to start panicking when the alert hits purple.

Clicking on “Hochwasserfrühwarnung” or “High water early warning” reveals a simple map of the region similarly colour coded – green means all is okay, purple means inflate that dinghy and batten down the hatches. Although the map shows no place names, hovering your mouse over each section of the map will identify the municipality and you can click on those to get a bit more detail.

This site also offers graphs showing the current level of the main rivers (“Hauptpegel) as well as the tributaries (“Nebenpegel”) for each of the main rivers in the state.

 

 

Hochmoselbrücke In Ürzig


Love it or loath it, they really are cracking on with the new Hochmoselbrücke near Ürzig. The picture does not really do it justice – it really is enormous. 158 metres high in fact.

There are more facts and figures as well as webcams – unfortunately all in German – on the project webpage which can be found by clicking here.

Moselle for bikers – Mountain biking (Re-blog from European Travel Magazine)

European Travel Magazine

The Moselle region is one of Germany’s picturesque areas in the southwestern corner of this diverse country. Named and defined by its life-giving river: The Moselle. From Koblenz to Trier the river twists and turns about 200 kilometres. Its hillsides are perfect for mountain biking with amazing views and healthy exercise.

The Moselle hillsides are perfect for mountain biking with amazing views and healthy exercise The Moselle hillsides are perfect for mountain biking with amazing views and healthy exercise

The European Travel Team has roamed the area on our own 2-wheelers and offer the last of our 3 recommendations for different cycle trips:

Mountain biking
Strenuous climbs, steep descents, narrow paths and generous vistas. In the Moselle region, you have a network of trails with several thousand meters of altitude in a varied landscape that reward with fascinating panoramic views. Ideal for bikers who want a sporting holiday amongst vineyards and woods.

Nothing gives an appetite like a few hours of slowly climbing the steep…

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