The countryside driving from Koln down along the Mosel River is just beautiful. A lot of the crops are being harvested now, so there were tractors in the fields, and cows with cow bells. We made most of this drive on country roads instead of the autobahn, so we saw it all close up. As we got to the river we started seeing the vineyards. I knew from reading about them that the hill sides are very steep, but I still was amazed at how steep they are. It's really hard to imagine how people will pick those grapes come October. And seeing mile after mile of rows of grapes is quite amazing. Our hotel in Muden, Germany, The Hotel Sewnig, has a vineyard also. We sat on the patio after we checked in drinking several of their wines while eating dinner. Later that evening, Christy, Carl, and Sean took their laptops down to the hotel bar to get on the internet (I just read while we were down there), and we got quite a kick out of the locals that were at the bar drinking and singing drinking songs. The next morning we headed to Burg Eltz Castle. It wasn't very far away, and the guidebooks all said that the parking lot was an easy 10 minute walk away. Well, their time estimates were just a little off - it took about 15 minutes, and it was a STEEP walk - maybe easy on the way to the castle, but definitely not easy on the way back to the car. The castle has been standing since the 1200's, and never been damaged in a battle or war - it is still owned by the Eltz family. The picture on the front of my Shutterfly account was taken on the walk from the parking lot to the castle. We really enjoyed our tour. We were reminded again of how little history we Americans have compared to the European countries.
Then we headed off to St Urbans Hof winery. It was so different from any of the other wineries I've been to. We were the only people there at that time, and they took us upstairs to the tasting room, which was a lovely room with a large table that could have seated about 20. She brought each wine out one at a time, and was very knowledgale about the different wines and how they were grown. It was quite interesting, and relaxing (especially compared to the last winery we had all been to in Virginia). I had not realized how different the different types of Rieslings could taste depending on the type of soil, etc. We ended up buying 7 bottles, and could have bought a lot more if we could have figured out how to get them all home! I sure hope I can find a way to get some of their wines here in the states.
Then we headed off to Trier, a city full of Roman ruins dating back centuries. It was getting late when we got there, so we only had time to visit the museum before things started to close. (That is one of the things it would be hard to get used to in Germany - things close at around 6:00 pm every day, and on Sunday's most stores and all are closed). The next day was kind of rainy, so we ended up taking the little train tour instead of walking - made it hard to take pictures, but we stayed much dryer. If it had been a sunny day, we definitely could have spent more time exploring all of the ruins like the coliseum and the baths that we only saw from the outside.
The first pciture is some of the fields and cows we saw on our drive, and the second one is vineyards along the Mosel River. The last one is one of my favorite photos from the trip - the 4 of us along the trail to Burg Eltz castle, with the castle in the background.
Next up will be Stuttgart and the Porsche museum.