With the rental car fiasco out of our hair and the freedom to drive anywhere. . . we were finally off! I was super excited to be driving on the autobahn but luckily for Ruby our rental car wouldn’t go that fast. . . small economy Opel cars aren’t exactly known for racing LOL.
Originally we were heading straight to Stuttgart from Dusseldorf and on the way we stopped for our first Bratwurst of many. . . unfortunately it was at a gas station (I know, I know we are risk takers!). It also came in the smallest bun for such a large sausage. . weird. . . but it was yummy.
Looking at the map, Ruby (the navigator) noticed that there were lots of grapes on the tourist map and detoured us straight to wine country. Wow! What an awesome surprise, this was not even on our itinerary for visiting Germany but would definitely come back here in a heartbeat. We started in the Mosel Valley at a town called Kobern-Gondorf and loved the feel of the area immediately. It’s hard to describe the beauty but all along the Mosel River is a small windy road lined with vineyards rising steeply on both sides of the hills. It’s even more stunning when you notice all the medieval castles perched above the small towns along the way.
We ended up in Alken and admired the grapevines before an an elderly couple showed up and led us to a local restaurant where we had our first glass of German vino. We were in such awe of the beauty of this place that we lost track of time. . . okay, so maybe it was the wine?
A that point we decided to stay right in the middle of the Mosel Valley. We found the perfect place: Guesthouse Am-Markt in Treis-Karden: nice rooms with a great view of the steep vineyards— a steal at 45Euros/night or $60 USD.
Dinner was at a local “weingut” haha— it means winery in German but Ruby and I like to say that we don’t have beer bellies— we have “weinguts” LOL! Our waitress Barbara at Weingut Weinstube Otto Knaup was super sweet and she gave us a great mini-introduction to German food. . . we had our first ever authentic German Schnitzel that night. .. Jaeger Schnitzel actually (which is pork with a mushroom sauce), a german salad which was pretty good. . . and a non-sweet riesling from the Mosel Valley of course. Barbara loves to travel too so perhaps we’ll see her in California one of these days.
The next day we continued along the Mosel with a plan to make it to the end of the Mosel Vine Valley in Trier and then continue on to our 3 hour drive to Stuttgart in time for dinner. In the morning we thought we would try a waffle for breakfast, and I played a crazy game of charades at the German Bakery downstairs in order to get a topping on the waffle—I ended up with cherries which is common in Germany. Forget about syrup and strawberries though! We enjoyed it in our room with a view of the grapevines outside.
Burg Eltz (a beautiful castle) was just across the narrow Mosel River from Treis-Karden so we decided to cross over and see it for ourselves. You can easily park at the base, pay 3 Euros for parking in the lot and hike up about 45 minutes through the forest. Wow! This was our first castle and I know that Neuschwanstein Castle near Munich is supposed the be the inspiration for the Disneyland castle but this one looks like a close contender to me!
It was raining which got us moving again, we ended up in Cochem. The bridge crossing the Mosel was decorated with beautiful lamp posts and flowers. It was an idyllic place to stop for a photo for sure!
Lunch was spent in Beilstein. An adorable little town, wish we had more time there! Next time for sure. . . We found that the last few towns after Beilstein were not nearly as nice, so our advice would be to turn back there and head back toward Koblenz stopping at towns on the opposite side of the river. Skip Trier altogether and see Roman ruins in Italy!