Monday, May 31, 2010

Luxembourg & Mosel River Trip

Thursday, May 13th, was a holiday here, so we took the long weekend opportunity to rent a car and drive to Luxembourg and through the western wine district of Germany.
Shea tells a story about a map project she did in elementary school and how she always remembered thinking that Luxembourg was soooo small and that it was funny that its capital city and country shared the same name...well, you made it to see with your own two eyes kid.
We drove in our rented Fiat Panda to Luxembourg city and toured around the beautiful city for the afternoon. We then headed over to the WWII American Military cemetery, which is home to over 5 thousand fallen American soldiers including the famous General George S. Patton. From there we headed back into Germany, where we checked into our hotel in Trier...the oldest city in Germany dating back to the Roman era over 2000 years ago. We visited the ancient Roman coliseum, toll gate (Porta Nigra), Constantine Basilica, and the birthplace of Karl Marx...quite a history for this little city.
We headed out in the Panda alongside the Mosel River to drive from Trier to Koblenz, Germany on the Weinstrasse (or Wine Road). The road follows along the river with steep hills/mountains on both sides that are used as the vineyards for the famous Riesling wines. Every several kilometers you enter a small quaint village with not much more than a couple of vineyard B&B's, a few restaurants, a beautiful old church, and a castle just up the river.
Shea and I took our time stopping in several small villages along the way. We hiked up a couple mountains and through the vineyards to visit a few castles to try some wine while taking in the wonderful views. We stopped for the night in a small village called Ernst, where we checked into a small B&B. We were walking through the village when an elderly man peeked his head out of his vineyard barn and invited us in for a taste test of his personal vintage. We sat around his wooden table with another couple from Belgium and listened to his life stories while he poured glass after glass of delicious wine and practiced our German. Before we knew it...we had been there for hours and knew it was time for dinner.
The next day we finished our drive up the Mosel to the city of Koblenz, where the Mosel and Rhine Rivers meet. We then crossed the Rhine and followed it south back toward home while making a few more village stops along the way.
We had a really nice driving trip over the 3 days and got to take in some amazing scenery, castles, and delicious wines. It's a place you feel lucky for having gotten to visit.

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