Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Azores to the Mosel Region, Germany

My next destination is one of the most famous wine regions of the world, the Mosel. I'm booked in to stay at Bernkastel which is the heart of the wine region and a little tricky to get to due to the contours of the landscape therefore the train cannot take you here. The Mosel River has some of the most dramatic bends  in all of Europe and is guarded on both sides by  60-70 degree sloping vineyards. Small German villages dot the shores with half Tudor houses and church spires rising above the roof lines.
So how do you get from the Azores to Bernkastel, Mosel, Germany? Try and give yourself lots of time! I flew on an early morning flight out of Sao Miguel, changed planes in Lisbon, landed in Köln (Cologne) and got a train to Koblenz. I picked Koblenz as it is located where the Mosel and Rhine Rivers meet. I didn't get in till 9:00pm and was glad I booked two nights so I could have a day in Koblenz. The train ride from here to Traben - Trarbach is 1 hour 40min and then that was the end of the rail line. You can go by a long and infrequent river ferry, or bus #333. It's a beautiful journey and hard to contain my excitement with the sight of the vineyards for the first time.
The bus dropped me at the tourist office and my hotel was located around the corner. If you come to Bernkastel, I recommend the Hotel Doctor Weinstube! All the character and charm you would expect from a German medieval winestube but with modern spacious rooms.
Bernkastel is quaint and full of charm and all the ladies are wearing dirndels! Over the bridge on the other side of the river is the village of Kues. There is plenty of walking to do here and every corner you turn there are more Tudor buildings, fountains and friendly people. There is not much English spoken so bring your phrase book.
Here are some photos of the town and the vineyards....then photos of a modern Riesling glass and a traditional glass.

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