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!
Good news for those of us lucky enough to live in the Mosel region or are coming for a holiday – there is always something wine related going on nearby, not to mention concerts, antique and flea markets, even motorboat racing.
Such events are a great
way to sample the regional food and wine whilst rubbing shoulders and supporting the local economy so please do try to visit at least one.
A full list of the upcoming festivals and other events can be found here. The website is in German but most of it is easy enough to follow, or there is always good old Google Translate.
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.
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.
If you fancy seeing the river from a different angle, why not try canoeing or kayaking?
A few weeks back we packed my son and his cousin off on a “tour” run by Mosel Kanu Tours who have several stations along the middle part of the river and offer several options for getting you afloat. You can either rent a vessel and make your own arrangements to get it back to the starting point, or if you do the tour, they transport you and all your kit back at a pre-determined time. It s not a tour in the real sense though, and don’t expect to be accompanied by an instructor or tour guide – you make your own way downstream and at your own pace so you can make up your own itinerary as you go along.
Buoyancy aids are provided as is a floating waterproof container to stop you losing your keys, phone, sun cream and the like overboard. Liability insurance is also included in the price. There is a choice of boats available, namely kayaks, Canadian canoes and those stand up board things that seem to be the rage now. The kayaks can accommodate one or two paddlers and the canoes three and four.
For more information, click here. Incidentally, they also do bicycle hire.
Ice cream as we all know comes in a dazzling array of flavours ranging from the traditional through the exotic to the downright weird. However, on a trip to Cochem I tried ice cream – made from local wine.
Initially I expected it to be just wine flavoured ice cream, but the first lick proved it indeed was made from the real thing and four scoops later I honestly could feel the effects! Maybe that was just a placebo effect, as surely ice cream cannot be alcoholic?
Anyway, all I can say is if you have a sweet tooth and love refreshing ice cream as opposed to the rich creamy varieties, get yourself over to Cochem and give it a try. Unfortunately I did not get the name of the particular parlour where I had it, but it was right in the historic centre and I saw other places selling it. You can probably get it in other towns along the river too, although I have struggled to find it in Zell.