Trip Report - Cologne and Mosel Valley

Old Jun 22nd, 2007, 09:11 PM
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Trip Report - Cologne and Mosel Valley

This is my first trip report though I have used these boards for research many times. We went to Germany in early May and I have a request to type up my trip report so here it is. Taken from what I wrote in my paper journal while there.

Cologne&Mosel Valley, Germany May 1-7, 2007

We flew in and out of Cologne, Germany. Flew Continental from Newark, NJ. So much easier than last time flying in and out of Frankfurt. The airport is smaller and faster. Iíd definitely choose to fly through there again.

We left home on Tuesday May 1 and flew overnight arriving in Cologne early Wednesday May 2. We were staying our first 4 nights down in the Mosel River Valley at the S.A. Pruem Vineyard Guesthouse in Wehlen, just outside Bernkastel-
Kues. Check in wasnít until later that day so we spent most of the day in Cologne.

Bam! As soon as you walk out of the train station in Cologne you are immediately awestruck at the immense size of the Dom (cathedral). I couldnít even manage to fit the entire thing in my camera viewfinder. We went in and gave ourselves the Rick Stevesí self guided tour. The ceilings are so high. Lots of beautiful stained glass. It has the Shrine of the Magi, which holds the bones of the Three Wise Men. Lots of paintings and sculptures. The church itself took many years to build. It was started in 1248 but wasnít completed until 1880. During WWII 95% of Cologne was destroyed by bombs but the cathedral survived intact. Why? Because the pilots used it as a landmark to know where they were.

Other than that we pretty much just walked around, hung out along the Rhine River, saw a few of the other churches (they are a city of 12 Romanesque churches), and ate our first German meal of the trip. One thing we noticed was that a lot of people were walking around eating pizza. Who knew Cologne was a pizza hot spot!

This trip we chose to travel by car rather than trains and boat like last trip. We had a nice Opel Vectra rental car. It was a fairly uneventful drive to the guesthouse. While I didnít feel as tired and jetlagged as I did on our last Germany trip we still pretty much just crashed and went to sleep early once we checked in.

Thursday May 3
We had stayed here on a previous trip so we already knew the layout of the area. Even though we had the car we liked the 3 km walk along the Mosel River down to Bernkastel-Kues. So we walked.

Our destination for the day was Burg Landshut. We hadnít gotten there last time. Itís a castle, well the ruins of a castle, that sits high above the town. It was about another 3 km walk uphill through the vineyards from the center of the town. What great views. Unfortunately we went on the wrong day. The interior of the castle ruins is now a restaurant. We knew this and planned to have lunch there. Well it turns out they are closed on Thursdays so once we got up there we couldnít get inside. Oh well. The views were worth the walk. At Bernkastel-Kues the river bends almost like a horseshoe. It was pretty cool to see that as from the ground you canít really tell all of the bends that it does.

Will continue in next post...

njlorelei is offline  
Old Jun 22nd, 2007, 09:17 PM
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Friday May 4
Took the car and drove down to Trier for the day. This was another place we had researched last trip but never made it to. Again we did a Rick Stevesí self guided walking tour. This time of the entire town. Trier is the oldest city in Germany. Itís an ancient Roman capital and much of the city still has remnants from the Romans. Itís pretty close to Luxembourg and if we travel here again we might hop the border and explore it.

First stop the Porta Nigra (black gate). This was one of the old Roman gates which formed a wall around the city. Later it became a church. Then we walked up to the Market Square. Lots of shops and restaurants. Saw the House of the Three Magi, Church of St. Gangolf (a Gothic church), and the Dom (cathedral). This Dom is the oldest church in Germany.

For lunch we ate at Weinstube Kesselstatt. It was here that we tried the spring specialty, spargel! Spargel is white asparagus. Delicious! From this point on one of us had spargel at almost every meal.

After lunch we continued our tour. Stopped at the Basilica, which is the largest intact Roman structure outside of Rome. It was the throne room for Constantine. Walked through the Palace Gardens. Then on to the Imperial Baths. Also built by Constantine and is the most intricate bath of the Roman world. Too bad they arenít in use today! We took a quick walk down to the house Karl Marx was born in but we didnít go inside. Then we headed back to the guesthouse.

Saturday May 5
Again made our daily trek to Bernkastel-Kues. I really wanted to try some of the famous Bernkasteller Doctor Riesling wine so we ended up eating at the Doctor Weinstube for lunch. This was one of the best meals on the trip. It was a cute little outdoor garden area we ate in.

We had to go back to the guesthouse early today because we were having a wine tasting there. One thing we learned on the tour was that until the night before they hadnít had any rain since March 24!!!!! Now we had noticed that the hillsides where the vineyards are looked brown and more bare than we remembered but we just figured it was because it was early in the season. I guess itís also because of lack of rain.

We ended up tasting 16 wines. It was an incredible tasting. Everything was Riesling and yet the flavors were so varied. We started out with dry young wines, then moved to older ones. Some were Sonnennuhr, from the sun dial vineyards which is the most famous and usually the best tasting, some were from other parts of the vineyards.

For dinner that night we went to the Karl O. Pohl Winery restaurant. We had eaten here last time and liked it. Imagine our surprise when the waitress, whom we remembered from last trip, also remembered us. I guess they donít get too many Americans in there or else she has a fantastic memory.

I'll finish up in next post...

njlorelei is offline  
Old Jun 22nd, 2007, 09:19 PM
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Sunday May 6
Time to check out and head back to Cologne. We stayed our last night at the Holiday Inn right at the airport. This way we could drop off the car a day early and not have to worry about anything the next day.

We went into Cologne again for the day. This day was all about beer. In Cologne their specialty beer is Kolsch and itís made in many breweries there. Itís served in tall skinny glasses. There are waiters that just walk around with beer. If your glass is empty they automatically give you another and just put another line on your coaster. If you donít want anymore you put your coaster on the top of your glass. You could easily drink 10 beers if you donít watch out. They go down so easily.

Since it was a Sunday all of the stores were closed so we really just walked around when we werenít eating or drinking. The one place I did want to go to was 4711 Glockenstrasse which is where the original cologne (perfume) was made. We happened to get there right at 4pm so we even got to see and hear the chimes and watch the carousel that goes around the top of the building. Fun.

Monday May 7
We flew home on an uneventful flight. It was another excellent German adventure.

njlorelei is offline  
Old Jun 23rd, 2007, 05:59 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I've always been interested in this area and plan to do it in the next couple of years.. thanks for your details!
Travelnut is offline  
Old Jun 23rd, 2007, 06:24 AM
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thanks nj

I really love this area and can't wait to go back. Thanks for pointing out some very interesting things!
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