This past weekend I visited the Mosel wine valley with my husband, Jon, and some sweet friends. It was my first official ©Travel with Wendy couples trip, so I chose a big van and a small group to test out the process. What a blast we had! Here are the highlights and some of our miss-steps (that turned out to be wonderful.)
I already knew this would be a fun trip because I’ve traveled with Frances quite a bit and Diane already sent me a picture of her favorite Reisling Mosel wine. We knew we would search for this if we had time. With bags packed and men in tow, we were ready for an adventure!
First stop – Speyer
Speyer is one of my favorite city’s and I visit it often. Sometimes I meet my friend and fellow blogger Cheryl from Outside my Southern Comfort Zone for lunch. Here, we pow-wow and talk shop. Only a few hours away from Stuttgart, Speyer makes a great day trip.
Here is what we were able to see in just a few hours and grab a great lunch!
Alte Hammer by the river – wonderful daily specials, be sure to park your car close by to enjoy the walks in the park and the playground for the kids. Sailboats and boatliners go up and down the river, making it a beautiful, peaceful setting to grab a bite to eat. Say “hello” to Petra. She loves practicing her English.
Kaiserdom – Speyer cathedral is on the UNESCO world heritage sites to see and was built in 1036. We decided to pay a little extra per ticket for the crypt and imperial tour (headset with English) and travel back in time. It was a little creepy but also very interesting.
Old Town Gate – The Altstadt (Old town) pedestrian area of Speyer has a beautiful walkway through town, so when we reached the end, we decided to climb the gate tower for a better panoramic view of the city.
Tower closes from 12-2 for lunch, so be sure you hit it just right. We had to hoof it.
Other amazing sites to see in Speyer
- Technik Museum Speyer – wonderful museum highlighting all the forms of travel throughout history
- Historical Courthouse
- Historical Museum of the Pfalz
- Sea-life Speyer – great aquarium for KIDS!!
With so much to see, you can see we could have easily made this a whole weekend trip but…alas, off to the Mosel we go!
Next stop – Bad Bertrich
Pronounced (Bad Bear-trisch), I was corrected several times in my pronunciation. I smiled and attempted a few more times, before I got it right. Alles gut! (All is good)
Our main focus for this Mosel valley trip was the Bernkastel-Kues annual wine fest and parade along the Mosel. However, being someone who loves the little towns, I did a little research and found a great B&B/Hotel in Bad Bertrich.
This quaint, much smaller town in the Mosel valley region is known for the volcanic salt spas. The valley was carved out of six volcanic eruptions over 50,000 years ago. It is the only spa in Germany with Glauber salts (a sodium sulfate) that has been used for healing for many, many years.
We stayed at the Hotel Bertricher Hof, were we met Sabine Pellio who was the consummate host. Our rooms were quite large and the setting just perfect. Every morning we were greeted with a huge breakfast and personal service. We felt like family in this beautiful hotel by the Swan lake.
Day One – Touring the Mosel Valley
Before catching a boat ride down the Mosel we decided to discover our temporary sweet home of Bad Bertrich. *Spoiler alert…funny story coming up** Diane who was window shopping was walking through the cobblestone streets when a bird decided to “dribble” on HER HEAD! UGH! In Italy and in many countries this is a sign of good luck, it turned out it was for us too. It was too bad she had to take one for the team, but we all benefited from her misfortune/fortune.
We missed our boat ride by just a few minutes but with having such good luck now we headed quickly down the road to the next boat stop, the river town of Briedel. We never did find the boat dock, and ended up on a closed narrow street. As I was turning around Diane saw a winery sign of HER FAVORITE WINE, Weingut Eduard Korth, No kidding! It was absolutely unbelievable.
There was a man standing in the doorway, kinda waving, like he was expecting us. As I approached and told him about Diane and her love of his wine, he invited us in. Turns out he has a very good relationship with the US Military and has many, many stories of his family’s business working with them over several years.
We stayed a few hours tasting many wines and became good friends with Bartho, who we look forward to seeing again soon.
Next, we traveled along the river to Traben-Trarbach
SKIP THIS RESTAURANT! We grabbed a bite to eat at Vier Loewen in Traben-Trarbach, food was o.k. but pretty disappointing service. So I can’t really recommend this place for lunch. Tourist prices as well. HOWEVER, the towns are GORGEOUS!
Next, we decided to walk the bridges between the two towns of Traben and Trarbach. These unforgettable towns are some of the most photographed of the region.
With many buildings and historical landmarks on both sides of the river there is a lot to see. We visited the Middle Mosel Barockvilla and Museum and snapped a lot of pictures of life in the middle ages in the middle Mosel region.
Day Two – Wine fest and parade
Waking up to inclement weather was un-fun, however, we asked Sabine to borrow a few umbrellas and we were off to Trier, the oldest Roman city in Germany. The tourism office is located right down town near the Porta Negro (this city gate is still in tact and enormous.) You can find parking along the main road on a Sunday, however, there are parking garages all around the main city center.
With many, many sites to see in Trier we definitely could have spent a whole weekend discovering this city and everything they had to offer. However, today was parade day, so we walked through the old town, snapping pictures of the Rathaus (courthouse), the jewish neighborhood and visited the gothic cathedrals while the bells were chiming for Mass.
The rain finally stopped so it was time to head to Bernkastel-Kues for the wine fest and parade!
OFF TO THE PARADE & FEST!
Parking for the parade is everywhere near Bernkastel-Kues, however, depending on how close or how far you don’t mind walking, it ranges from FREE to €5-10 for the day. Look for the BLUE Parking signs around the town. We parked near the Aldi. The parade starts at 1400 (2 p.m.)
Having been before (about 20 years ago), I knew the costumes for this parade were unbelievable. They didn’t disappoint. They also have wine glasses for a few Euro and a necklace carrier for you to have easy access for another sip. As the different vintners pass through the parade they pour FREE wine samples to eager participants. What’s not to love??
The costumes range from Roman times to the Medieval ages and are typically themed for the towns or the wineries that they represent.
There are many princesses and queens crowned for each town and each float has several ladies-in-waiting in their court as well.
There are lots of Roman togas, some are simple others well, they really get into character.
The fest food is incredible! Some of the best fest food you’ll have in Germany. There are regional specialties like Speißbraten with kraut on a bun, sautèed mushrooms with krauter (herb) dip and spicy steak sandwiches with grilled onions, YUM!
The wine in this region is known for being dry to sweet white wines, mostly Reislings. To learn more you’d have to set up a tasting with Bartho though.
Last day of our tour
After a full day at the fest, a relaxing evening in the spa and a good night’s sleep we headed out early the next morning for the town of Bitburg. Having been subjected to a weekend of wine, I only thought it fair for our men to finish with a beer tasting at the famous Bitburg Brewery.
This pretty little town made famous through it’s nationally famous beer was also worth walking around in as well. The tour was given in German however our tour guide, Melody-Ann was German-American and was sweet enough to accommodate our group. The tour was about an hour or so and explained the family business history of this regional beer that is a favorite for many people.
Our tour included:
- 2 free sample beers and a pretzel
- 3 free sample beers at participating local restaurants
So we decided to have lunch at a participating restaurant the Hotel-Restaurant Eifelbrau. This ornately decorated restaurant had spectacular menu choices. I had the appetizer of shrimp in remoulade sauce and a small salad. So yummy!
After our bellies were full and we all tasted some beer (I had a Rädler/Schantee in these parts) which is Pils beer and lemonade. We loaded up the van and started to head home.
I think we all felt like we saw and did quite a bit this weekend but with our peaceful “home away from home” and our evenings in the spa bath we were also able to “chill!” We are really looking forward to our next tour of the Mosel region where we will explore some more small towns and visit with Bartho and Sabine!