Wednesday, 9.13.00 – Bernkastel, Germany to Winningen, Germany

We had rain during the night, but it had ended before we left this morning. The skies were light overcast most of the day, and temperatures were again in the low 70's. It was very pleasant riding weather but not the best for picture taking. I guess we can’t always have the best of everything.

We passed through an area that has the steepest vineyards in all of Europe. About every 100 yards, they have a small machine that is like a cable car that runs on a single track vertically up to the top to transport workers up into the vineyard. I'd estimate that the slopes are at least 60 degrees, and possibly more. The rows are planted vertically up the hills. Certainly, the Mosel River valley is one of the most scenic in the world. The combination of the vineyards, castles on the hills (about every half-mile), ancient and colorful towns with historic buildings, and the river itself are hard to surpass.

We ate our "first" lunch of the day in Zell. I hate to think how many calories we are socking away on this trip. Judith just loved the famous Black Cat fountain in the main shopping square. After wandering through the town, we headed out toward Cochem. We stopped again in Beilsten for a pizza.

   

Beilsten has one of the most beautiful marketplaces in Europe. It boasts neat, half-timbered houses and stores situated in a small place cut out of the steep rock at the feet of its vast church and castle. It’s impossible to pass by this town without stopping to look around and snap photos.

We had to stop in Cochem, too. The first order was to take pictures of Cochem Castle. On a previous trip, Gerhard snapped a photograph of Judith bicycling past the castle, which ended up on the cover of the following year’s Tour Book. Ahhh…Judith, my cover girl. After crossing the bridge to the more touristy area, we decided that we could not go any further without ice cream. Typing all of this is making me hungry.

Our destination today was the Hotel Moselblick, overlooking the river. Our room had a great balcony that just screamed for wash to be hung out on it. Although we brought approximately 14 cycling outfits apiece, we finally decided that we had some favorite socks, shorts, and jerseys that we wanted to reuse. Of course we enjoyed another great vegetarian dinner. This has been the best trip yet for really different vegetarian delights. It’s great to actually get very tasty vegetarian food as opposed to just plain old vegetables.