While in Nürburg we stayed at the Dorint hotel, which is right on the Nürburgring. Which would have been FANTASTIC if there had been cars on the track, but because we were there just ahead of the racing season, there were none. The accommodations were great, though – as was the case days 1-3, the boys had their own room, which was excellent. The breakfast buffet at this hotel was over-the-top good. They had honey in a fresh honeycomb! (Is that the way to describe a honeycomb? “Fresh?”) Also, bacon, eggs, sausages, potatoes, warm semi-hard-boiled brown eggs – and the best fruit ever. Plus really good coffee. Can you tell I liked it?
Since there was no track action, we decided to set out on a day trip. We drove to Koblenz and visited the monument where the Rhine and Moselle rivers converge. We walked through part of the old city there, toured another church, then hopped back into the van to head up the Moselle river. First stop was a grocery store to grab stuff for a lunch on the road.
(Interesting note: You must bring or buy bags there – they don’t offer them. And, for each plastic beverage bottle we were charged 0.25 Euro – a deposit you can claim back if you take your bottle to a machine that we saw in each grocery store. Pay attention, America.)
The road itself hugged the river, with steep banks on the other side. Topographically, it kind of reminded me of driving the narrows above Harrisburg. But the scenery was much lovelier: The steep banks were covered with rows and rows of grapevines and the way was dotted with quaint old, tidy towns, most with a historic castle.
First stop was Niederburg, above the village of Coburn, where we hiked up a hill to view the castle ruins. We noticed stations of the cross along the side of the mountain. We went back to the car and ate sandwiches and grapes, then continued on to tour the castle at Thurant. This one required an admission fee, but it was totally worth it. Among other things, the castle featured a dungeon, visible through a grate in the floor, and there were actual human bones down there. YIKES. While in that same tower, Steve and I decided to have a quick sit on a large stump that looked like a stool; as we sat and read the brochure, we realized, we were sitting on the BEHEADING BLOCK. Egad. There were catapult balls and armor and artillery. And, there are quarters there (in a different part from the dungeon) that one can reserve for an overnight stay in an actual medieval castle.
We went down to the village and checked out a church. Then continued to Cochem and wen into yet another church. By this point I expected the boys would have tired of churches, but that didn’t happen. And I enjoyed lighting a candle in each church, as a way to pray for the United Methodist Church.
Cochem was cute. I’d say it reminded me of Jim Thorpe, PA, except it’s the other way around – Jim Thorpe will make you think of a quaint European town. We popped into Cafe Becker and had beverages. Then we walked part of the way up the hill to the castle, but didn’t tour it (I think it was closed?).
We decided to head back to Nürburg. We stopped along the road, above the castle, at a scenic overlook. A nice gentleman approached us and advised, if we continue on up the road a bit, there’s another overlook on the left – the sign says left turn isn’t allowed, but do it anyway, and there you can “make beautiful pictures of the castle.” So we did, and we were not disappointed. The view of the castle, town and valley was amazing.
Dinner at the Dorint in the Cockpit lounge.