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Germany's romantic Rhine and Mosel Valleys, part 2

The ruins of Kloster Stuben, a 12th-century abbey
The ruins of Kloster Stuben, a 12th-century abbey
Thomas A. Wohlmut

Biking, boating, birding, plus bathing at a spa: The rest of this five-day itinerary centers on the Mosel Valley. (Check out days 1-3.)

Day 4
Today is a car-free day, just boating and biking! Rent a bike at Herr Nahlen (Bachstrasse 47, phone 02673/1840) and hop on the 9:20 a.m. ferry for a two-hour-plus cruise meandering down the Mosel River to Zell overlooking quaint towns and Europe’s steepest vineyards. Ride the 15 miles back to:

  • Stop for lunch
  • Look at the striking hollowed-out ochre ruins of a 12th-century abbey set in a lush green vineyard
  • Find a quiet spot to loll by the river
  • And anything else that catches your fancy!

If you’re feeling indulgent and crave a reward when you get back to Beilstein, order a vanilla ice cream sundae topped with the local small red tart peaches on Hotel Haus Lipmann’s terrace. (Two can share one.)

Day 5
Drive to Cochem, about 15 minutes up river. Take the beautiful scenic path up to the castle to catch the 11 a.m. falconry show (no shows Monday). Although mostly in German with a little English thrown in, it’s the birds and their antics that make this show eminently worthwhile. The castle itself is basically a 19th-century remodel. If you can’t get enough of castle interiors, opt for the tour (in German only, but with a helpful English info sheet).

Next get to the Sesselbahn to take the chairlift up for lunch taking in the views of the town and valley below. (It’s not that far to walk from the castle to the Sesselbahn, little more than half a mile.)

For your final afternoon in this lovely region, how about some serious R&R, German-style?

German spas dot the countryside all over and Bad Bertrich is only a half hour away from your hotel. Just to show how prevalent these spas are, look at any map of Germany and notice all the town names that begin with Bad which means “bath.”

Bad Bertrich’s spa is called Vulkaneifel Therme and offers a spanking-new facility. The heated pool’s design cleverly joins the indoor and outdoor pools so you can easily swim from one to the other. And unlike many too-dark indoor pools, the two-story windows bring in the light and the outdoors. And the Jacuzzi pool’s jets come from below, not from the side, that add a bit of Teutonic erotic titillation! The lounge chairs are the most comfortable ever.

Also onsite is a clothing-optional area with many saunas of varying temperature, more pools and the most elegant steam room. If you desire to sink into bliss even more, a huge menu of body treatments (in German only) awaits your selection.

Boating the Mosel River
Falconry at Cochem Castle
Herr Nahlen’s Bike Rentals (in German only)
Sesselbahn (chairlift)
Vulkaneifel Therme Spa

Want more info on biking the Rhine and Mosel Valleys? Check out Pedaling Nowhere blog.

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