The remainder of the afternoon of the 29th was spent cruising the breathtaking Moselle. Of all the scenes I have enjoyed from a European river cruise, this was the most gorgeous. All along the Moselle, the steep mountains on each side of the river were covered in grape vines of different patterns; a botanical patchwork of various shades of green. There were also quaint little villages with the most beautiful architecture; easy to see, since the river is narrow enough to get an excellent view. Each one was more attractive than the last and extremely clean and tidy.
I walked laps around the top deck, just soaking in the scenery and stopping from time to time to grab my camera and shoot pictures. Then, at tea time, I ran down to grab some kiwi fruit drenched in chocolate from the self-serve chocolate fountain. Does it get any better than this?
As the afternoon progressed, the only remaining people on deck were me, a few passengers knocking down some Beck’s on tap, and a couple of crew members, along with the captain. A few times, the bridges we passed under were so low, the captain had to lower the covered area and the wheelhouse, leaving him sitting crouched down in the captain’s chair, so his head would not hit the roof. Right before passing under the lowest bridge, one of the crew members yelled out to the two of us taking pictures, “Take your seats! Take your seats!! We ran to our chairs and sat down with our heads lowered, so we wouldn’t bump our heads on the bridge.
The afternoon was magical and only topped by our arrival in Bernkastel-Kues; a picturesque town located on each side of the middle portion of the Moselle River. After dinner, Mom and I grabbed our cameras and strolled into town for some exploring and night photography. Our first subject was the castle perched at the top of the mountain, overlooking the city.
Then, it got better and better, photographing the gorgeous half-timbered buildings surrounding the square, dating back to the 1400’s. I even spotted a chocolatier on the square and vowed to return in the morning, so I could pick up some truffles I spotted in the window display.
This is not only wide-angle distortion; the narrow building in the center really DID look like it was about to fall over! It was built in 1410:
The most surprising and quaint discovery was seeing grape vines trained to grow across the narrow cobblestone walkways that surrounded the town square. We couldn’t have picked a better time of year to arrive in Bernkastel, because the vines were full of plump bunches of grapes and they were ripe for the picking. And, picking I did! For dessert, I ate my way through Bernkastel, enjoying both red and green grapes. What a blast!
This morning, after being greeted by a swan right outside our cabin window, we took a walking tour with Nico, our program manager; one of three for our boat of 133 passengers. As usual, it was entertaining and full of information; a great way to start off our day in this quaint little town.
After the tour, we ventured out on our own to do more photography and pick up some chocolate truffles, as well as a Bavarian pretzel, from a little bakery. Our 90 Euro cents purchase was well worth it, as it was the best soft pretzel we had ever tasted!
So, this brings me back to my previous post and how the remainder of my afternoon was spent in beautiful Bernkastel-Kues! I forgot to mention in my swimming post, however, that I did take a short detour on my walk back from the pool. For my Georgia friends who are familiar with Aldi, there was one on the Kues side of the Moselle, so I stopped in for a look around. Aldi started in Germany, so I thought I would see what an original-style Aldi was like. There was one notable difference that I thought was quite unique. In the bakery section, there was a huge lit box that looked like a very large vending machine. Pictured on the front were various styles of bread rolls with buttons below them. Push a button and that bread roll rolls out onto the tray below. I would imagine mothers have to keep an eye on their children in that area of the store!