I woke up at 7:15. That’s about midnight back home. The rain was coming down lightly, but it was still humid and warm out there. Oh well, rain stopped a Zurek Family vacation in the past. After lazing around for a bit, I got into the shower and back out. Next, it was time to push Rich off to the showers.
Once we were done, we worked on getting Mark started. As we waited for Mark, his cellphone was ringing and ringing. Pretty soon, Uncle Max came through the door looking for us. I explained that Mark was moving and we’d wait for him to get done, since our Skoda was blocking his garage.
Back at the house, Aunt Uschi had breakfast ready and waiting for us in the 3 season room. I explained that I had been slow to get moving. I had held everyone else up. I’m sure the guys wouldn’t get going until I did. We had eggs and bacon with brotchen (rolls) and an assortment of toppings. Rich found out that Uncle Max had Air Force coffee. I think it made Uncle Max’s day that someone else liked it.
We cleaned up the dishes and headed out to tour the Mosel River Valley. This is Aunt Uschi’s home area. They produce a great deal of wines with their vineyards growing right up the side of the mountains along the valley. Mark drove us out of Ramstein and off on the adventure. The rain continued to come down, but only lightly.
Our first stop was Bernkastel-Kues. These two towns are fused together with the river running between then. Bernkastel was the side we chose to park. The town appeared to be full of tourists and people were walking everywhere.
We walked into the downtown area. Right in the middle of town is the market square. This wide area provides the stage for functions put on by the town. Today, the tourists were walking, sitting, and just seemed to be everywhere.
Bernkastel has a house that molded itself into its surroundings. It goes up and then juts out, and bends around the houses next to it without touching them. I’ve seen many pictures of it and paintings. I was able to take that picture myself. Today.
We ambled along the streets with the other people. An occasional car would drive up the street. Even though they are cobblestones, many houses line the street and these are the actual residents. There is a castle in ruins above the town. Many of these relics appear up and down throughout the valley.
Rich saw the mention of black bears throughout the town. We discovered that the valley was the home for many of the population. Bern in the name of the town actually started out as baren for bear. Fountains and flags throughout the town continue to honor the bears in the original name.
The shops were full of wonderful things to look at. Since I was limited on space in my luggage, I was afraid to look. I saw a lot of things I would love to have. Prices are still pretty good for us in Europe. I wonder how much that would have added on to the vacation price in the end?
We continued to wander around and found a nice biergarten at the top of one hill. We went in to sample some of the local wine. The ruins were overhead of us with the steep hill leading down to the Mosel. We had a great view of the river and Kues across the way.
Back in the car, we headed up river to explore and see what we could find. Rich had done supply runs from a base just west of the river and had come down to Zell in the valley to buy wine. We were able to see the place he went. It brought back great memories for him to see the Schwartz Kat zellars.
Construction knows no bounds. We had to shift back and forth from one side of the river to the other. It was amazing to see all of the bicycles, camping, and general enjoyment of the river environs. With the rain cleared up, we had sunshine and nice weather for our tour.
We got to Cochem at the near top of the valley. A weinfest was in progress. We parked and walked around to see what the fest had to offer. Rich saw a fischbrotchen shop along one of the streets. It was on his list to get one of these. It must have been good. He didn’t stop talking about it. I’m still hearing from him about that sandwich.
We walked to the old wall of the town. From the backside of the wall, you could see the opening used a toilet by the wall occupants. Yep, it just fell to the ground right on the street. Glad that doesn’t happen anymore.
As we wandered the streets, we looked up one side street to see an SUV headed down the steep mountain side. Well, people live up there also. I did get a picture of the car coming down. Slow and steady is definitely the battle cry there.
Aunt Uschi, Mark, and Rich stopped for potato pancakes. Right there, the fountain was spraying out colored water. It was supposed to harken back to the fest days when the fountains really did put out wine and you just had to stick in your cup to catch the goodness.
We walked among the rides, people, and activities until we got back to the car. This side and the other side of the river were all dressed up in flowers and flowerboxes. It was really beautiful. Somehow, it is all idyllic and presents such a beautiful world for visitors.
Going out of town, Mark stopped so we could try to get a picture of the very nice castle in the mountains above Cochem. With the sun down so far, it was really hard to get anything that wasn’t too dark. I need to see if I can make the picture show the beauty that we could see.
The road leading out of town was on the other side of the river, but construction soon forced over the river. We got to a place where we could turn toward home. This way took us through farm country and little villages where house and barn were one and the same building. It was a nice way to end the tour of the valley.
Back at the house, Uncle Max was home and waiting. We loaded the Brittany spaniels, Hamlet and Clover, into the car and went to dinner. Up the hills over town is the Schloss Hotel. Above here is the ruins of a castle in the area. It was very warm inside the restaurant, but we managed to enjoy dinner with some very good German specialties.
Then Uncle Max wanted ice cream for dessert. In town, they took us to their favorite Italian ice cream shop. It appeared to be about to close. The clerk was sweeping and talking to someone. We came in and ordered. The ice cream was tasty. I was totally full and still managed to eat every bite of mine.
It was dark and very foggy at this time. We went out to the hunting land that my uncle manages through the state. Hunters help to control populations, other hunters, and general well being of the animals and land in an assigned area. It’s a great idea to let the people who use the land help with this control. Hamlet and Clover went about their business and enjoyed some time on the property.
At the house, we continued to talk. An earlier conversation had been about the Civil War and my uncle had an album of songs around the history and personal stories of the Civil War. We listened to a few tracks before the Hazelnuss liquor was poured. I can image this warm and part of something sticky and sweet. My aunt says it’s popular over ice cream.
Finally, it was time to say good night and return to Mark’s. The three of us settled in and continued to talk. We got all caught up and shared stories. Before I knew it, it was 1:00 AM. Where did the time go. I was so tired. Jet lag was still with me. I said good night and moved to the stairs.
It was a great day. I like talk to Aunt Uschi, Uncle Max, and Mark. Tomorrow would be too soon to leave.