Pete Johnson
Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Waking up this morning in Cochem, Germany was different than the past few mornings.  The Hotel Zehnthof is a quaint and somewhat romantically elegant establishment located on a small hill with the typical German narrow alley-like street.  The friendly staff, possibly the owner(s), was quick to assist with any needs that arose.  In addition to very nice and clean rooms, they provided us with a wonderful breakfast to send us off on a good day.

We boarded the bus with our belongings and travelled about 1km to the other side of the Mosel River where we exited the bus and walked steadily and tirelessly uphill about 1.6km to the amazing Reichsburg Cochem Castle.

5-27 Cochem Pete-J Castle

While at the castle, we learned some great history and viewed many fantastic exhibits that were designed and/or built in the past four centuries.  Some include: furniture, paintings, and knight armor.

5-27 Cochem Pete-J Furniture

Due to the French invasion in the 17th century (1689), portions of the castle were destroyed.  In the 19th century (about 180 years after King Louis XIV caused the destruction), a wealthy Berlin businessman, Louis Ravené, decided to buy the ruins and rebuild the castle in 1868.  However, he decided not to restore it to its original Romanesque style and condition. He instead decided to hire architects to create a Gothic type theme for the castle that could serve as a summer vacation home for his family.  He originally purchased the damaged fortress (for about €500) and the rebuilding of the structure had cost millions of €.

The tour guide was very pleasant and spoke very good English.  At one point, she pointed out a “secret” door that led to a passage way.  Indicating to the group, she explained how to open the door by “rubbing” or “stroking” the engraved portion of the door depicting a picture of a woman.  Doing so released the lock mechanism to the door allowing for an individual to use their fingers to grasp the side corner of the door and pull it open.  To the amazement of the group, it worked.  However, the tour guide was just having some fun.  She actually staged the fictitious door opening and was doing so by activating a secret pedal-shaped lever towards the bottom of the door near the floor (sort of out of sight from most people in the room).  I was able to maintain a less than revealing look while she did this.
How funny!

5-27 Cochem Pete-J Secret Door

After walking downhill a shorter route (about .8km), we boarded our bus and headed down the highway towards Bernastel-Kaus, Germany.  While traveling, we noticed many more mountainous hills with lots of remarkable vineyards.

5-27 Cochem Pete-J Vineyards-1

5-27 Cochem Pete-J Vineyards-2

The beauty and elegance of the land is certainly inviting in this land of wine-making.  As we continued, two more castles could be observed in the distance.  Additionally, a “double-bridge” was seen as we passed nearby.  Trains travel across it on the top while motor vehicle traffic utilized the lower portion.  According to our trip coordinator, Sven, this type of bridge is one of only three in all of Germany.

5-27 near Cochem Pete-J Double Bridge

We then continued our bus journey through several more wine villages that portrayed romanticism with its river and scenic landscapes.

We also passed what appears to be one of the most “steepest” mountainous hills in the country, possibly the world, according to Sven.

5-27 near Cochem Pete-J Steepest Hill

Once we arrived in Bernastel-Kaus, we walked through a portion of the village that housed many shops that were located in traditional German-style designed buildings.  Also, many of us searched for a restaurant to our liking.  Seven of us settled on the Kelterhaus Wien-Pils Stuben restaurant.  We enjoyed five of the Flammkuchen (four original and one vegetarian) which were very delicious.  White wine, soda, and beer accompanied our food choices.

5-27 Bernkastel-Kues Pete-J Lunch-1

5-27 Bernkastel-Kues Pete-J Lunch-2

5-27 Bernkastel-Kues Pete-J Lunch-3

After a little relaxation time, we visited some shops and then enjoyed ice cream.  Shortly thereafter, we retreated to our rendezvous point to meet the rest of the group for a boat ride along the infamous Mosel River.  Here, we viewed the various villages from the water while enjoying drinks and camaraderie with our new friends.    Additionally, we had experienced sailing though the locks (a waterized elevator, if you will), a new experience for several within the group.

5-27 near Bernkastel-Kues Pete-J Locks-1

5-27 near Bernkastel-Kues Pete-J Locks-2

Once the boat reached its destination, we met up with the bus and traveled to Trier, the oldest city in Germany, to check into the Penta Hotel.  Shortly thereafter, we split up into several groups and toured various parts of the city including the old Cathedral and the Gate.

After a sit-down dinner at the Wiestube Kesselstatt, we casually strolled back to the Penta Hotel for the night.

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