Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Up the Mosel - 8 August 2009

BeilsteinThe snorer in the next tent woke us early so we decided to make an early start to the day so got up and headed for the showers. We had not walked more than 20m from our tent when we felt the beginning of a totally different sort of shower; so it was a mad dash back to the tent to get it down and packed away as soon as, and as dry as, possible.

A misty morning Mosel momentOur next intended stop was a picture-postcard village on the banks of the Mosel, called Beilstein. We enjoyed a coffee in a dry cafe while waiting for the rain to pass and then wandered around the town which would look much more attractive in the sun, than in a foggy mist.

Trier CathedralWe swapped from bank to bank, following the Mosel upstream and stopped off again at Zell for another wander and coffee before heading further upstream to Trier. Although a Cetlic settlement for 1300 years before the Romans arrived, it was Constantine who really put it on the map. He made Trier the capital of the Western Roman Empire and built a massive Basilica and huge bath complex.

Porta NigraThe symbol of the town is the Porta Nigra which is the most impressive Roman fortification in Germany and has survived only because a pious Greek recluse lived here and a monastery in his honour was founded there along with a church. The huge structure is held together without mortar, using iron pegs to join the stones.

Roman bathsConstantine's Basilica is the largest intact Roman structure outside of Rome and is really very impressive. What remains of Constantine's bath complex is also amazing and it is a pity that more of it has not survived the ravages of time and scavengers.

Cathedral alcove ceilingFurther still up the Mosel we found a very humble camp site with the bare minimum of facilities, not the most impressive last memory of German camping. By contrast, our last German meal was very memorable. In the little village by the camp site was a Guest house that also had a restaurant. Given the number of cars outside it was clearly popular with the locals; we soon found out why.

Trier town squareWe enjoyed a wonderful meal with a non-tourist price tag and the wine even came from the restaurant proprietors own vineyard/winery.

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