So a break in the weather sees me returning to the blog. Apart from some rain overnight and the odd shower we have had two glorious weeks of weather here in Germany. Today, though, it is raining which gives me a chance to catch up on a few things.
We moved on yesterday after having spent a whole week at a stellplatz at Losnich on the Mosel. We hadn’t planned to stay that long but every evening I found myself saying ‘eine weitere nacht bitte’ to the lady who came to collect the money. We just didn’t seem to want to leave. It wasn’t that there was anything exceptional about Losnich it was more that every once in a while it is nice to stay put for several nights.
We managed to pick up some free wifi in the village to do some research on a few little projects we have on the go at the moment so for a couple of hours every morning we’d go to ‘the office’ in the village to ‘work’. ‘The office’ being a couple of benches in the shade set around a fountain. It might conjure up a nice picture but it wasn’t without its frustrations with the wifi dropping out occasionally or not working at all sometimes but we managed to get a few things done and some info downloaded. Not least of which was we have organised another Helpx to start next week. Woop! This one is going to be a challenge. Not so much in the work we’ll be doing but the language barrier. I think only one person in the family speaks English. With our German being non-existent it’s going to be interesting. Hence taking advantage of the free wifi to frantically download some language learning material. We are now on a crash course in learning German. We need to be fluent by next week or we are doomed! There’s nothing like a deadline to get me motivated. More on the Helpx next week.
In addition to our language learning exploits we thought we’d start a new fitness regime to give us a bit of structure to our day and keep us ticking over. Tim came back from a run feeling mightily pleased with himself but then somehow managed to pull a muscle in his calf right at the end. I did some circuit type training and got up the next morning feeling like I’d been repeatedly hit by a cricket bat. After walking around like a pair of cripples for a few days we are probably ready for another go at it if we can summon up the enthusiasm again in this rain. Watch this space.
In amongst reading, language learning, planning, researching and cooking we have combed the countryside on the bikes and on foot. It’s a very lush green area dominated by forest and steeply terraced vineyards. In the last week I have pondered on how the vineyards are maintained being on such steep slopes. Every scrap of the hillside is utilised for vines. Even the rocky outcrops don’t go to waste. My musings were answered whilst out on the bikes cruising the cycle paths along the Mosel. We watched as a mini caterpillar contraption attached to a tractor was winched up and down the hillside whilst rotavating the land in between the vines as it went.
Then, we noticed the metal snakes winding their way at intervals up the steepest slopes. Aha, kind of a stanner stair lift to transport the workers up the slopes and to get the grapes down from the hills. Apparently it is called a monorack train.
Even with the machinery it still looks like a lot of hard work and labour needed to look after and harvest the grapes.
Bremmer Calmont, one of the steepest vineyards in the Europe, at a 68% incline, is right here in the Mosel valley at Bremm.
We just happened to be staying on a stellplatz a few kilometres away from Bremm and we’d seen some walkers traversing the hillside in amongst the Bremmer Calmont vines when we cycled past on our way upriver to take a look at Zell.
We did the walk the following day. And what a walk it was. Wunderbar! It’s only a few kilometres in length but the views are spectacular and there are various interesting obstacles to negotiate along the way. You’ll see from the pictures it isn’t ideal if you have no head for heights and the warning signs clearly spell that out at the start.
The walk, or climbing trail, as it is called was set up in 2002 as a joint project between the communities of Bremm, Ediger-Eller and Neef. The German Alpine Association secured the paths with the steel ropes, ladders, stepping brackets and pegs.
I can’t ever imagine Joe Public being free to roam on such a trail in the UK. The health and safety police would be all over it before it was even thought of. Seeing the vines from the path really gives you a feel for what it must take to farm this sort of terrain.
Surprisingly, you can pick up a Bremmer Calmont wine at less than €10 a bottle which is cheap as chips when you consider what it takes to harvest the grapes to get it. We would have bought some if we could have found somewhere open in the village but everything was as dead as a dodo. It was the day after a national holiday with few people about. We hadn’t even passed anybody on the walking trail either. Ah well, maybe next time.
Onwards then to the Rhine or Rhein as we are in Germany.