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Taking it slow in Cochem

View of Moselle River from Reichsburg Castle, Cochem. Germany

There’s a German word, Gemütlichkeit, which describes a feeling of relaxation, coziness and being at ease.  Gemütlichkeit, along with the word  langsam – usually directed at me as a gentle reminder to “go-slowly” – are taken seriously in Cochem.  For me it was all about slowing down and appreciating my environment, and the natural beauty that surrounded me.  Like noticing the sounds of songbirds that seemed to follow me everywhere I walked.  Or the way the river reflected the clouds in mirror-image.  This was my first visit to the Moselle Valley, and I had heard a lot of great things that prompted me to come here.  But the welcoming hospitality and the natural beauty I enjoyed surpassed any expectations I may have had and left me in a relaxed state that stayed with me long after my departure.  

I began my trip in historic Koblenz, where I boarded the Moselstrecke, the regional train that runs between Koblenz and Trier every half hour or so.  It was a hectic Saturday, and the train was packed with travelers headed to holiday in the region. Upon arriving at the station in Cochem, it’s a short 5 minute walk to the center of town.  Since the weather was perfect – in the low 70’s with a light breeze,  I opted to stretch my legs and walk to my hotel which was just 20 minutes further down  the promenade. When planning for my trip I used Booking.com to find my hotel, the Altes Winzer Haus, a quaint, clean and well-maintained inn that is also a great value!  The staff are very helpful and seem genuinely concerned that you have an enjoyable and relaxing stay.  Their “Fruhstuck” (breakfast) was included in my room rate, and it was outstanding,  with an assortment of  ham, sausages, cheese, fresh bread, fruit, eggs and an espresso machine.  This is where I fueled up for a day of wandering around town and hiking up to castles.  If only I could eat like this every day!

While in Cochem, take time for a stroll along the promenade or through the cobblestone streets of the old town and you’ll be tempted by many bakeries, restaurants offering six varieties of schnitzel, and of course local wine at the many tasting rooms, called Weingut.  Cochem is also a great base for side trips and you can easily take a short train ride to spend the day in Trier and return with plenty of daylight to spare.  Or hike up the hill to Reichsburg castle, where you can see a falconry show, tour a stately castle, and take in great views of the valley below.  For the adventurous (who aren’t afraid of heights), take the sesselbahn chairlift up to a panoramic viewpoint for a real thrill!

In early to mid-May the crowds in the center are sparse, and many of  the river cruises aren’t in full summer mode yet.  If you plan to take a boat ride from Cochem,  check the schedule with KD Rhine or at the tourist office in Cochem, which is a hub for Moselle tourism.  The staff here are very helpful and they can even help you find a Zimmer-frei room if you didn’t book in advance.  For anyone interested in slow travel, I can’t think of a better idea than visiting the Moselle in Springtime.

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