Both, the Rhine- and the Moselle Valley are beautiful regions in Germany, I'm not sure why I prefer the Moselle Valley, but in my opinion it's a bit more romantic and pituresque. But it can be also 'head-thing'. Like in some other languages, in German and in French grammatical genders are used for rivers (and for all substantives). As far as I know, in English there is no difference, you always use 'THE', but we say : 'DIE Mosel(ge)/LA Moselle(fr) - so it's a girl ♀️ or 'DER Rhein(ge)/LE rhin(fr) - so it's a boy ♂️. That might affect my objectivity, because if the Moselle is female, it MUST be more romantic than the Rhine, or?! 😁
Well, the last few month were quite tough and I desperately needed some days to slow down, but wasn't in the mood to travel several hours, that's why the decision to spend a few days in the Moselle valley, was easy to make. It's only 160km (100 miles) away from my home and it's a very nice ride through the Hunsrück (low mountain range.)
The source of the Moselle is in Bussang (Vosges)/France, and it flows 544 km (338mi) through France, Luxemburg and Germany, where it discharges into the river Rhine at Koblenz. The German part between Trier and Cochem is known for its many bends, what can be seen very well on the map below.
The Moselle is the oldest wine-region in Germany and the largest with vines on steep slopes. Celts and Romans first cultivated wine 2000 years ago in this region. Terraced hillsides and precipitous slopes, which face either south or south-west, create beneficial microclimates for wine grapes. The superb rieslings grown in these conditions, rank among the finest white wines in the world with their wonderful mineral notes. Some vineyards and their wines boast wonderful bizarre names: Bernkasteler Badstube (bathroom), Wehlener Sonnenuhr (sundial), Kröver Nacktarsch (naked butt), Graacher Himmelreich (kingdom of heaven) and Piesporter Goldtröpfchen (drops of gold).
Nearly every little village along the river offer wine-tastings. One of the reasons, why so many people use the bicycle instead of the car for excursions, I suppose. :) If you meet a group of blissful grinning cyclists, you can be sure they:
a) come from a wine-tasting AND :
b) are right on their way to the next one.
You can have the wine send home, means you don't have to transport it on your bicycle. There are over 500 named vineyard sites in the Moselle Valley, imagine, how many wine-tastings you could make... :)
Additional to vineyards, you find lots of cobbled towns and storybook castles and ruins along the Moselle. One of the most beautiful castles in Germany is Burg (Castle) Eltz. It's not directly at the riverside, it's located in the heart of the Elzbach valley, not far away from the Moselle (10 minutes by car). From the parking area a shuttle bus is going to the castle, or you can walk an easy and nice 15-minutes-trail through the forrest.
Burg Eltz is an authentic medieval castle. It was built in the 12th century and it has been owned by the Family Eltz for over 800 years - now in the 33 generation. Worth mentioning is, the castle was never destroyed during all this centuries. It is said, that the owners always had a good connection to the French royal house during the Franco-German conflicts, what contributed to the fact that the castle was spared. (It pays to be always nice to your neighbours!) 😀
Back to the Moselle valley. For me, it will be always a mystery, why some villages are tourist magnets while others remain in a state of slumber. Bernkastel-Kues is such a tourist-magnet at the Moselle. It would be really a lovely little town - without all the tourists and souvenir shops. 😁 Hehehe, I know, that's ignorant and that I am nothing else but a tourist - but sometimes I try to imagine, how it would have been to visit a popular village or city maybe 150 years ago... - absolutely different, and less crowded, I suppose. However, Bernkastel-Kues is worth a visit if you like cobblestone and half-timbered houses.
Above photo seems to be a bit boring, but I was very impressed, when I saw it. At the wall of this house the extreme high-water-levels of the Moselle are shown. Look at the second floor, where the high level on the 28th feb 1784 is marked. ('Mit Eisgang' means 'with ice conditions') what means that ice floes past the 2nd- floor-window. Btw, the Moselle riverside is around 300 meters away from this house. 1783 and 1784 must have been catastrophic years with extreme weather conditions and numberous of extreme natural events. See here, if you like to know more about it.
When the weather is nice, you can enjoy beautiful sunsets at the Moselle (I'm sure also beautiful sunrises, but I didn't check that, I'm not an early bird.) During sunset, lots of people make an evening walk, or a little tour with their bicycles. Or you enjoy a glass of wine on the balcony and make a little 'grapevine-shooting', like me.
Or you spend the evening with the Egyptian geeze family... 🙂