Susi and Austin's

Travelling the Rivers and

Canals of Europe


On the Moselle with the Lodi

Monday 22 May 2023 6:54 PM

Finally, just in time for our first days of cruising it's warming up! I am trying not to be too jubilant as the very chilly days of the so called “Eisheiligen” (Ice Saints)might be still ahead. This is the third time for us on the German Mosel, but a first going downstream. We intended to stop at different places from last year, but found that several of our chosen moorings had been washed away by floodwaters. Beginning our tour on the Friday after a public holiday (Ascension) when lots of locals enjoy a long weekend, was probably not a good idea. The river was busy with sports boats while for the commercial barges it was business as usual! We were lucky to fit into a 170m long lock with one of the giant cargo ship and marvelled again at the skill of entering the 12m wide lock with an 11.5 m wide body.

When we finally reached Bernkastel we were pretty tired and ready for a safe arrival drink. Like all the other harbours on the way, this one was fully booked too and our last year's mooring at Cafê Rosie was also occupied. We vaguely remembered a small pontoon on the other end of town, and luckily, we found a spot there just big enough for us.

Meandering down the winding river along extremely steep wine hills the following morning, we had to laugh about some of the odd names the vintners chose for their wines, for example the Kröver “Naktarsch” translating to “Naked Arse”. It puzzled me what was behind this rather strange name for a wine. Asking Mrs. Google, the name is a corruption of latin “Nectorius”, possibly also the celtic ”Nackas”, meaning both “rocky heights” and probably derives from the leafless, bare look of the “Nacktarsch” slope in autumn.

We were on our way towards wine town Zell with the well known wine "Schwarze Katze" (Black Cat). You might remember the story from last year about the black cat who sat on top of a wine barrel lashing out at the wine merchants wanting to sample the local drop, thus convincing them that this particular wine must be the very best.

We found that also the moorings in Zell had been washed away. Luckily the lovely vineyard owners managing the riverbank moorings permitted us to stay at the quay. 

We were too early for the Zell Winefest but in time for the spring fair with game and food stalls, a mini Ferris Wheel and, of course, plenty of bottles of wine. A local band played "Who’ll stop the rain” and the rocking of passing barges soon put us to sleep. There is not much to tell, as we thoroughly explored the town, it’s wine hills and flood history last year, except of that on a walk through Zell Klaimt, the left bank suburb, we discovered that the people from the Mosel are not far behind the French with their baguette vending machines. Here they have “an always stocked up and chilled" wine automat.

Our next harbour was once again Cochem. Cochem has lost nothing of it’s charm and therefore is always very touristy and expensive. For us it broke up the long trip to the Rhein. We just moored up before a thunderstorm and a wave of passenger ships hit. Those tourist ships, river cruisers and cargoships make us little sport boats in the harbour bop wildly up and down, and if not cleverly fendered up with ropes sprung, it will throw us against the quay wall and do some real damage!

The next day the beautiful Reichsburg was wrapped in clouds and it stayed cool and rainy. Knowing Cochem pretty well from our previous visits, we took a train to Koblenz and strolled through the city centre. At the Museum Romanticum, below the tourist information, we took a journey through time of the Upper Middlerhein. Interactive stations give tactile, visual and audio experiences of the history, culture and industry of this area. Of course the Rhine castles have all their own legends and characters and have been sung about and put into poetry and art over centuries.

After lunch, Austin thought he was due for a haircut. He found an English speaking barber on the net, so I felt safe to leave him and do some shopping. When I returned, I found Austin asleep in the chair with the young hairdresser still working away. “I am making him younger and more beautiful!” he beamed. Well I could hardly recognise Austin myself! Younger he might have looked, but more beautiful - I am not so sure! That proves again: he can not be left alone!

Nothing a nice piece of cake can’t fix!

Luckily today it is a bit warmer, so no head freeze for Austin! Tomorrow we are getting ready for "Father Rhein” who should have a lot more water flowing down his valley than last year.

Previous  | Index |  Next