Veteran’s Day in Cochem, Germany…

18 Nov

Picking up where we left off last week, just wanted to share a little bit about our holiday weekend getaway to the picturesque town of Cochem, about 3.5 hours northwest of us, near the Luxembourg border. While definitely small (about 5000 residents), it’s actually the largest in the region where villages line the banks of the Mosel River as it winds its way through Wine Country. Y’all, you’ve never seen so many vineyards in your life! I mean, wow. As far as the eye can see in all directions. Although it took us a while to get to fully appreciate them because there weather STUNK. Freezing rain, low lying clouds and fog…Here’s the drive into town…Granted, following the path of the river for the last hour still helped 😉

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Cochem was settled in 886ad by the Romans and Celts. Its location on the Moselle River made it ideal for both fishing and trade. In addition to becoming a significant player in the wine industry over the years, it also became home to a leading Capuchin monastery in Germany.

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The old Capuchin monastery, now closed.

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Cochem, Germany. That’s the Cochem Imperial Castle in the distance.

The Cochem Castle was first mentioned in historic records in 1130ad. In the late 17th century, it came under French rule and was ultimately destroyed just a few years later. It laid in ruins until it was restored in the mid 1800s. Unfortunately, the interior of the castle has now been completely restored (ie. very modern), which always takes away the allure for us 😦

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Western bank of the city…Those are vineyards covering the hillside in yellow…

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Cochem Pinnerkreuz, the lookout tower…

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As with all of Germany, bakeries are no joke here. Stopping in for a bite. Choices, choices…

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View of the city from the bridge connecting both sides…Coincidentally, our hotel is directly above the left red tree lining the river. We had a perfect view ❤

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Window shopping…

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If you look closely, you can see the city bells inside the lighted ‘attic’…So pretty at night.

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Now for the good news and the bad news…The good news is that we woke up the next morning to the sun shining and all the beautiful fall colors parading before us in all their glory! Still below freezing, but SO pretty. Our hotel even had a full breakfast buffet- complete with American style pancakes, scrambled eggs and bacon! (this has never happened before- Europeans eat cold cuts, sliced cheese and bread in the mornings) – in their garden room overlooking the river. Perfect start to the morning!

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Vineyards as far as the eye can see…

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Still following the river out of the region…

Now the bad news…Castle Eltz, the reason for our trip, threw us a curve ball. They closed for the season the weekend before our trip. 😦 I know, right? We should know better by now- places here, especially those without heat (ancient castle??), often close for the coldest months of the year- so it’s our own fault for not checking. In our defense, though, we’ve never found a castle that closed, actually, so it didn’t even dawn on us. At least we thought to look up the driving time the night before and stumbled onto their website BEFORE making the trek out there, though! Needless to say, we were bummed. Oh, life’s little plot twists! Ha! So we’ll go back in April when they reopen- what’s wrong with another excuse to get away, right?! Instead, we made lemonade and opted to detour on our way home by Ramstein Air Force Base. Ramstein is the largest US base overseas (54,000 service members and civilians) and serves as headquarters for our Europe and Africa Air Forces. Oh, neat tidbit: it’s used to coordinate and execute most all of the US global drone program.

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What’s so snazzy about another base, you ask? Well, I’ve been wanting to see it since we lived here the first time back in 2010. All Americans here know of it and talk about it, mainly because of its HUGE shopping mall with all the conveniences of home. It’s nothing for folks to make the 2 hour trek to it monthly or at least seasonally to get their ‘must haves.’ John has worked there many times, including twice in the past month- and he was actually there sitting in their food court when he first got word that we’d be moving here!- but it’s just never worked out for me to get there. I suppose I’ve just learned to make due with what I have available to me here?? I do 90% of our shopping on the German economy and hit up the stores on base only for our true ‘must haves,’ maybe monthly? Alas, it was still nice to finally see it. And I was definitely impressed. It’s HUGE! The base itself AND the shopping mall. Bath and Body Works, Yankee Candle, Hallmark, GNC, Sephora…There’s even a Johnny Rockets and a Chilis! Definitely a nice little treat to feel like home, even if only for an hour or two ❤

So there you have it, our short little getaway that didn’t go quite as planned, but still ended up being pretty darn fun. Can’t wait to go back in the spring and see the river valley bathed in spring, either! Sure wish I could say that the nice sunny weather that blessed us for our drive home has stuck around, but that would make me a liar. A big, fat liar. I honestly don’t think we’ve seen the sun since the day we got back- pretty much nothing but cold, dreary, rainy, windy here in Stuttgart this entire week. Blech. Fingers crossed for a turnaround this weekend! Hope y’all have a good one!

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2 Responses to “Veteran’s Day in Cochem, Germany…”

  1. Eleanor November 19, 2016 at 4:26 AM #

    I know you three are ready for some sun and warmth. Less than a month and you will be here in SC. You will be missed at Thanksgiving but Christmas will be so wonderful for you. Can’t wait to see you.

  2. Jill Barth November 18, 2016 at 5:43 PM #

    So beautiful, thanks for sharing these pictures & perspectives.

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