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Over Hill and Dale

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We had one full day in lovely Beilstein and asked our hotel host for a hike suggestion. She recommended taking the small ferry that pottered back and forth across the river all day, practically below our terrace, to the other side and then walking up into the vineyards, over the hill and down into another town up the river called Cochem, about a 10 km walk. This route was possible as the Mosel made one of it's great bends right at our location. She said we could get one of the day tour boats back in the mid-afternoon so it would just be a one-way walk.

So we carbo-loaded at the frühstück buffet (the Germans and the French) don't subscribe to "wheat-belly"), hopped on the ferry for 1.5 E each and together with two other passengers made a slow and sideways passage over to the other side.

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From there we followed the zigzag vineyards roads as they climbed towards the mixed forest of fall colour on the top of the hill. The views from on high from that side of the river were as gorgeous as from the other side.

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We only saw one other older couple who were taking shelter from the brief bout of rain in a little hut by the road. As we moved out of the vineyards and then out of the forest, we found ourselves on a dirt road through a farm and the signage pointing us to Cochem got a bit confusing. We ran into the other couple again when we had to backtrack to a crossroads and they pointed us in the right direction, their destination too.

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Faster walkers, we got some distance ahead of them, stopping to converse with the odd horse and donkey.

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We were suddenly aware of a woman shouting, and saw our fellow hiker gesturing to us to come her way. She had seen us take a wrong turn and had taken the trouble to go some distance out of her way to set us straight. We ended up walking the rest of the way with the two of them, chatting mainly with her as she had some English, while her husband had none. They were Germans who came to vacation in that area every year and had hiked this route many times.

I think our route would have taken us the rest of the way by road; theirs took us on a trail that was remarkably like hiking down Mt Galiano.

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We finally emerged from the woods on the river again and made our way into Cochem.

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By this time we had covered all sorts of topics of conversation. Their 30's something daughter was completing an advanced degree in an art-related field and had worked with Christo on his 2016 "Floating Piers" installation on Lake Iseo in northern Italy. By the end of the event, 1.2 million people "walked on water", polyethylene blocks covered with fabric. We had lunch with them in Cochem; a very pleasant and interesting encounter with strangers. Coincidentally, she was wearing a sweatshirt made from an unusual fabric identical to the pants I was wearing!

After lunch we said our goodbyes, and Jim and I had a wander around Cochem. It has a large and well-preserved old town - that was packed with tourists. According to our book, it is the most popular tourist destination on the Mosel. There is a big castle on the hill above the town. The original structure was built in 1020 and in the 14th C, a heavy chain was used to block the river and collect tolls from passing traders in order to expand the castle and fortify the town. The castle was blown up in 1689 during a brief period of French occupation and remained a ruin until 1866 when a rich industrialist bought it and rebuilt it in a Gothic revival style as his summer residence, and it is now open to the public.

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We skipped the castle and were glad to board our boat heading back up the river to little Beilstein. The trip lasted about an hour and was really pleasant. Not very many people were aboard and we sat on the open top deck in the sun watching the vineyards slide by.

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We also got to go through a large lock. From the shore, we've watched lots of boats and barges go through locks so it was interesting to have the experience ourselves. It was amazingly how fast the water rushed in and elevated our large boat to the next level of the river.

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Back in Beilstein, we had dinner at a busy small restaurant near our hotel and were asked if we minded sharing our table with "other Americans" who came in after us. They were from Edmonton and we let our server know we were all in fact, Canadians. Ha!

Posted by Jenniferklm 07:51 Archived in Germany

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Comments

Glad you made it to Cochem - Kim said it was a great place to visit. Good thing you ran into those Germans - who knows where you would have ended up!

by Linda Dragert

What are we going to do when you return home and the wonderful pleasure your entrancing descriptions and beautiful photographs have given us is all over? Thanks-a-million for sharing these very special weeks with us. Mervyn and Margo.

by Margo Olson

Just finished catching up on your magical mystery tour. Such a fairytale of castles, winding rivers, gingerbread houses, Roman ruins, grape vine terraces, food and drink and green, green, green. You wouldn’t think industrial Europe, with strife and humanity problems even existed. You’ve educated us and dropped some reality checks as well. I’ve been laying low since my return with not a lot of stamina to walk or drive for that matter. Once you’re home we can catch up on the phone. You of course can stay here if you have to come to Victoiia for any reason.

by Wendy Parker

I have enjoyed all of your wonderful photos and commentaries that you have posted. Oh, to be so young and energetic again.
Rennie

by Rennie

I am going to miss this great adventure!

by Dianne Symonds

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