Friday 8 July 2016

Moseying along the Mosel

Cochem and the Mosel River

Germany, 1st – 4th July 2016

For the time we’d have in Germany we decided to spend it along the Mosel and Rhein (Rhine) rivers after Steve and Diane who we met in Austria highly recommended it for motorhoming with there being Stellplatzen in almost every village or town and cycle paths following alongside the river making for good flat cycling terrain. So after the couple of days primarily travelling across the country we’ve spent this week in the Rheinland-Pfalz region meeting friends, visiting towns, cycling and staying on some great riverside camperstops.

After a chat to our British neighbours at Oestrich-Winkel who had travelled the opposite way to us along the Mosel and Rhine, we left the Stellplatz and headed to Lidl to stock up on food. We then travelled along the road following the River Rhine along the eastern side which was a pleasant drive bar some sections of roadworks, seeing lots of barges carrying various things. It seems people live on the boats with many carrying their cars on-board and some having garden decks set up. We didn’t see much along the route that made us want to stop and visit, although a few villages/towns on the opposite side of the water looked quite nice, but there were no bridges across, there are just a few ferry crossing points.

After passing through the edge of Koblenz we arrived to our meeting point arranged with Colin and Ro, a stellplatz at Urmitz-Rhein (GPS: 50.41864 7.52443, €7, Serv. pt. & elec. extra). This looked like a nice spot in the photo and it turned out to be a good choice with the bays arranged in two semi-circles, the front one of which overlooks the Rhine. Whilst hovering deciding where to park, a Dutch guy from a camper near us came over to my open window and jokingly said “shouldn’t you be on your way home to help save your country”! This was the first time we’ve had some mention Brexit to us. After a short chat with him we selected a front row space at one end of the row so we’d be able to sit out at the side of the van with uninterrupted views out over the water, and got parked up. Whilst I was buying our ticket from the machine Colin and Ro pulled up and joined us, taking the space alongside.

The Rhein from the stellplatz
We got talking catching up on each other’s travels as they have been touring Europe too in their Dethleffs Advantage like ours for the past year. With beers in hand and wine for the ladies we got the chairs out and wiled away the afternoon in the sun, only disturbed by the occasional train passing over the nearby railway bridge. After a while Ro brought out some snacks of melon wrapped in ham, and cheese with crackers, and before we knew it it was dinner time. With a combined effort, but mainly handled by Ro, we had a nice Thai green curry with a bottle of German bubbly, then the wine kept flowing and we eventually called it a night and went in at gone eleven.

A barge with a load of truck cabs and tractors
The twins
After getting organised then chatting and saying our goodbyes to Col and Ro we got on the road back past Koblenz to join the River Mosel. We thought it looked more scenic than the Rhine and biking opportunities better with cycle paths being more consistent. There are lots of road bridges crossing the river so it’s easy to get from one side to the other, and the main road alternates from side to side. We passed through Cochem and parked at a stellplatz at Valwig at the side of the river (GPS: 50.14282 7.21340, €6) which was a simple gravel parking area. With lunch eaten we got the bikes out and cycled into Cochem to have a look around. I’ve been here several times before on day trips with friends when I’ve been at the Nürburgring race track with my cars, but only saw parts of the town and it was a few years since I was last here so it was worth going to again and besides Jo hadn’t been before. It’s a nice place to spend some time wandering around the old town streets and through the gardens along the riverbank path. I was tempted by the currywürst being offered at a lot of places but resisted after not long having eaten lunch. We did however give in to sampling a piece of cake each in a café where they had a selection of nice looking treats to choose from.

The pitches facing onto the river
The next day we continued along the Mosel until our next stopover at a stellplatz at Traben-Trarbach (GPS: 49.95817 7.10261). Most of the stellplatzen in this area are €6-8, this one was €10 but we chose it as it had free WiFi which we were in-need of to book a ferry back to the UK and research a few things in advance of going back, so the extra cost was worth it rather than the alternative of going to a McDonalds or another restaurant and buying food or drinks there. This site was almost like an unmanned campsite with marked out hardstanding pitches with grass between them in the main area and a row along the side facing the river. The price includes electric, service point and toilets & showers. With a riverside spot chosen again we got the chairs out and settled in. The cycle path ran right past us so we got the bikes out and did 10km in one direction before turning back as Jo was feeling a bit under the weather with a cold, and stopped at the town of Traben-Trarbach for a wander around. We spent the evening making use of the internet access, which I did sat out in the sun with a beer while Jo relaxed inside.

We've seen a lot of these brown ducks about
Steep vineyards along the Mosel, we saw a helicopter
spraying the crops but the photo didn't come out clear
A hotel's Amphicar
In the morning having a shower in the block on the site I nearly had to abandon it midway whilst fully lathered up! With only two shower cubicles available they have a button-operated 5 minute timer which would’ve been ok but I spent half the time not under the water adjusting the temperature as it fluctuated from cold to too hot to bear. After the tap wouldn’t turn back on after covering myself in shower gel, I kept trying for a minute then started packing my things thinking I’d have to go back to the van wrapped in my towel to rinse off there. A couple of minutes later the water could be run again which was a relief so I got rinsed off. Our next issue of the day occurred with several attempts at booking a ferry giving a payment failure. Phoning DFDS and waiting on hold I was informed that their payment system was down so we couldn’t book over the phone either. By the time we got moving and used the service point to do all our tanks we were cutting it fine paying with only 4 minutes before 24 hours was up. However after driving to the exit barrier we had our third problem of the day as the barrier wouldn’t open at 2 minutes after our ticket expiry time, so seemingly not giving any time period after paying to exit. With a contact phone number obtained from the visitor information board I called the nearby campsite that runs it and waited for them to send somebody out. With the guy speaking no English and pointing out it was now after our expiry time so needed to pay for another day, and me pointing out on the receipt (that we luckily had chosen to print from the machine) that we’d paid before the expiry and then just driven across the site to the barrier, he called the office and presumably got authorisation to open the barrier and we were on our way. We’ll be more careful of cutting it as close to time with automated sites in future.

A half-built viaduct across the Mosel valley, quite odd to see

Following the road alongside the Mosel again we continued south with a lunch stop in a carpark en route to Berncastle-Kues. At Berncastle there’s a designated motorhome parking area in the Kues part of town at the side of the river but for some reason there’s no overnighting allowed here, parking is for a maximum of 6 hours during the daytime. You get 1 hour free then it’s €1.20 per hour. We thought an hour would be enough and set off over the bridge to look around. The old town area is similar to Cochem with small cobbled streets lined with shops and restaurants but probably prettier with some decoratively faced buildings, and is smaller and quieter. We looked around with time to spare and headed on to another stellplatz that turned out is run by the same people as the last one, this time at Wintrich (GPS: 49.88288 6.94834, €9 inc. Elec. & WiFi, Water, toilets & showers extra). We chose this one and paid a bit more than average again due to it including WiFi as we hadn’t finished what we’d wanted to get done, including the ferry booking. Yet again the pitches faced out onto the river, where we selected one and got set up and got the chairs out in the sun with a drink. I spent most of the evening on my tablet looking at what cheap cars are available to buy for when we get back to the UK.

Our plan the next day was to get into Luxembourg. After our list of key jobs was complete we got on the road around midday and travelled our last section of the Rhine before turning off to a Lidl for a few things and had lunch in the car park. From here it was into Luxembourg which we’ll continue with next time.

- Matt


  1. I have so missed reading your wonderful travel blog , guessing you are back in the UK now , best wishes to you both and good luck with your future plans it's been a pleasure to read all about your travels ☺

  2. Thank you for your kind comments, it's appreciated :) We are indeed back now, we've finally got a blog post up now for the last part of our tour. We'll be keeping the blog going too for any short trips and some info posts