2018/07/24 Germany – from the Mosel to the Rhein

Tuesday 24th July 2018

Our campsite for one night:  Moselvorgelande, Neef  – GPS N50.095051    E7.137050

We are suffering from the constant heat now and there is no sign of it letting up.  Strange how we were so looking forward to some warmer weather – now we say “bring back the cool”.  It appears from the news that a lot of Europe and Britain is suffering from the unusually hotter weather.

We sight a beautiful shady Stellplatz on the other side of the river and soon we are parked under some huge trees.   Lot long after we discover why there are lots of spare spots.

The train line runs about 50 metres behind and immediately above the Stellplatz with regular passenger and freight trains running.  The train noise is just bearable however they are expanding the train tunnel so the noise from the earthmoving equipment – not to mention the blasting first thing in the morning and last thing at night – was a little harder to accept.  Decision time – shade or noise?  Shade won hands down so we hopped on the bikes to do some exploring.

The 1132 Church in the vineyards on the Mosel on the bike ride between Neef and Bremm

Not a lot to see in the village but the ride through the vineyards led us to the ruins of an old cathedral dating back to the year 1132 and just below this,  a small beach on the river bend.  We wondered why there were so many cars here in the middle of nowhere but soon saw the kids and the blow up canoes occupying every spare inch of the three metre wide beach!

The bike trail became harder as tarmac gave way to stones so turned back.

Trees and shade provided some relief from the heat but the temperature inside Ziggy remained at 32 degrees well into the night.

Wednesday 25th – Friday 27th July

Travelled a fair distance up and down the Mosel river looking for another shady spot to beat the heat.

Our campsite for three nights:  Moselufer Sankt Aldegund – GPS N50.080662.   E7.131390

Bingo!  The best spot here had just become available so we grabbed this quickly.  The only spot right on the rivers edge, where the tree was large enough to give us shade morning and afternoon.  We were the envy of many around us.

A barge on the Mosel at St Aldegund

The riverside bike trails were excellent and we headed back to Zell, this time another 20km round trip from south to north passing by quite a few great little villages.    It was just so hot so stopped a few times along the way for refreshments.

Street art in St Aldegund (the original wine maker)

Couldn’t wait to get out of the sun, so turned the bike batteries on and peddled hard and fast back to our shady spot under the trees.   It is still mid thirties under the trees and the breeze is hot, so not much relief expected over the next few days.

Nice architecture in St Aldegund

Nicholas, Lisa and their white Swiss German shepherd Carly (from near Dortmund, Germany) camped next to us.   We watched as they played with Carly and swam in the Mosel river. 

Nicolas and Lisa joined us for the WeinFest – Carly the dog was the only one under the table

So many of the campers here swam in the river and though it was very tempting, we could not.  Hot as we were, we did not venture in as the river is so murky and barges come within metres of where we were camped.

The barges are massive with most being between 110 and 178 metres long and they pass by every few minutes. 

A road separated our Stellplatz and the village and there on the edge of the road, large Marques were being erected for a Weinfest on the weekend.

Went to the opening night of the Weinfest on Friday night where the “wine queen” for the region was chosen and we sampled 10 X 100 ml shots of local wines as part of the festivities.  We received a special embossed wine glass (to take home) as well.

The band “California Dreams” played so many of the songs we know well (in English) as well as many German Folk Songs.  Nicholas, Lisa and Carly joined us at long trestle tables and together we all finished the one litre of white wine sampling over five hours and danced the night away.

Happily staggered across the road to Ziggy where we had more nightcaps and watched as the party continued on until 2am.

We were all a bit slow getting up next morning so after a large breakfast and lunch we headed off again.  The Weinfest was running for another three nights and we had no plans to stay on while the Weinfest partied until 2am each day!

We also met and befriended a lovely older couple Wilhelm & Greet from Holland.  Wilhelm’s son is a Hymer specialist in Holland and we are seriously considering a visit to his workshop to get Ziggy serviced before heading to the UK for our last couple of weeks.  Wilhelm helped my driver replace a front light globe – how good is that!

Saturday 28th July

Our campsite for one night:  Wohnmobilstellplatz, Alken – GPS N50.250931   E7.445730

Only a very small Stellplatz with five squeezy (or four comfortable places) but situated on the Mosel right next to this great little village.  It is a tourist stopover with buses bringing in loads of tourists.  Also a day stop over for cruise boats so the restaurants and tourist shops are rally busy when the boats are in.

Burg Thurant (a castle) stands high on the hill overlooking the town and is a popular tourist stop.

Burg Thurant

Great place to visit and the views across the river are great but suggest, if you intend to stay in Alken, to leave early in the morning (before business hours) as the car parking that runs parallel to the Stellplatz makes it very tight for Mohos turning onto the street when leaving.

Alken viewed from Burg Thurant

Sunday 29th & Monday 30th July

Sadly we left the Mosel and headed for the Rhine.  Have had a few great weeks of touring along the Mosel and have seen so many wonderful villages.

Our campsite for two nights:  Am Rhein, Urmitz (just north of Koblenz)- GPS N50.418449.   E7.524550

Wilhelm suggested this Stellplatz as a great place to camp to visit Koblenz.

With the train station only a five minute walk away and Koblenz three stops or 10 minutes ride – this is a great spot for visiting Koblenz.

Only downside are the pitches are tight – narrow at the front and wider at the back so very little room to put out sun awnings.  It was as hot as Hades and we were in full sun until 9pm at night.  Felt like being in a sauna.   Sat under the trees for the afternoon and watched the millions of heavily laden barges go by.  So much more river traffic on the Rhine than the Mosel.

Another really hot and sunny day forecast for day two so were tempted to leave here and park somewhere else in the shade for the day while visiting Koblenz.  Just as we were ready to drive out, a Moho was leaving the only shady spot in this Stellplatz.  Collected my deck chair and headed for the spot, sat down in the middle of it and waited for my driver to come over – no one was going to take this spot away from me!

Happy to be in the shade now, we headed for the train station.

Had many fond memories of Koblenz when we spent some time here in 1978 and went in search of our favourite restaurant in Old Town.  Sadly the old area on the junction of the Mosel and Rhine had been replaced by new and modern apartment buildings so the restaurant was no longer there.

Nice architecture in Koblenz

We walked for hours around the Old Town which is pretty much all mall area now with hundreds of shops and restaurants with only a handful of the older buildings still standing.  The Deutsches Ecke (German corner) was as stunning as ever with the huge statue of stallion and rider guarding the entry to the two great rivers.   Seilbahn’s took you high above the river to the castle on the other side – the scenery is just amazing.

The Navigator (the one in the middle) with some statues at Deutsches Ecke

Beautiful tree lined streets through parks offered lots of shade as we walked back toward the centre of Old Town.

Stopped for lunch in one of the many street restaurants and enjoyed one of the best meals we have had in a restaurant since the beginning of our trip (Turkey breast in pepper sauce). 

The statue at Deutsches Ecke at the junction of the Mosel and Rhein rivers

Time to return to our shady spot in Urmitz so back to the Bahnhof for what was the hottest and most stifling ride ever.  The train was not air-conditioned and all the windows were fixed so could not open them to get fresh air.  It must have been 40 degrees inside and the ten minutes in there waiting for the train to leave the station and the ten minute ride home left us exhausted and dripping wet.  Everyone is complaining about how unusually hot it has been in Germany this summer.

Back to Ziggy in full shade, and on the river, was still uncomfortable.  Even after our shower with taps set to full on cold – provided little relief.  Sat on the riverbank until the sun went down at 10pm.  Fortunately the nights cool down and soon we were back to the mid twenties around midnight.

Tuesday 31st July

Made the decision to leave the rivers as there seems to be little shade on offer and no cooling breezes and head for the high country.

Our campsite for tonight:  Freizeitpark An Der Rheinaue, Bonn – GPS N50.709862.   E7.138890

Priority was to find shade and cooler temperatures.  We stopped in a Forest for lunch and a cool break for a few hours before heading off again.

We are heading north now away from the mighty and beautiful, but busy Mosel and Rhine rivers.  Too many holiday makers in this area and after more than a year where we have been pretty much alone, it is hard to get used to wall to wall campers though we have not had any troublesome neighbours.

Where every second vehicle we passed on the riverside roads was a motorhome, they are becoming scarcer as we travel higher into the mountains on side roads.

It feels like autumn already as the trees are changing colour and millions of leaves are already littering the ground – Lack of water and the heat here probably causing this.

This Stellplatz in southern Bonn is gratis and solely for motorhomes.  Giant trees on both sides gave us all day shade and right next door is the most magnificent park.  Only downside is that it is close to a four lane road which was a little noisy, but no problems during the night, even with the windows open.

We heard in the distance, what sounded like a band setting up.  Soon cars started filling the carpark on the other side and once this was full, they parked in the spare Moho spots around us.  It is so frustrating that we are not allowed to park in carparks but cars do not have a problem with taking up the limited “Moho only parking spots”.

Justice was served as the local council car pulled up and started booking the cars in the Moho area  – first time we have seen this.  We had a particularly irate parking offender, question us on the ticket issue and not satisfied with our answer (in German) checked out the tickets given to the other cars.

Concert finished around 11pm and we slept like babies.