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Archive for November, 2015

Fairytale beauty awaits you in Beilstein

BeilsteinMoselPanorama1 (2)Cycling along the Moselle you will have seen plenty of picturesque towns and villages by now, but none has the nickname of Sleeping Beauty of the Moselle.800px-Klosterkirche_Beilstein1 Stopping for a rest and refreshments in Beilstein you will quickly understand why. Even though it is really a small village, it was built to present the appearance of a town with all the trimmings: city centre, church and castle (ruins) on top of the nearby hill. Modern day Bielstein looks very much like its 17th and 18th century version and you can take it all in without having to spend days on your feet exploring all the neighbourhoods. 800px-Beilstein_BW_12Looking at the directory of Cultural Monuments for Rhineland Palatinate one can get the impression that the whole village is on the list!

As a summer attraction the village hosts a marionette theatre from Cochem, which performs various fairy tales. Part of the tradition is performing Sleeping Beauty to open and close the festival in recognition of the villages’ nickname.

Author: Petra Alsbach-Stevens

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zell mosel (800x531)Zell and its famous cat

The city Zell has been around since Roman times, ~70AD, distinguishing itself through quiet perseverance in the face of changing rulers throughout the millennia. Until the 19th century when legend has it that in 1863 after an extensive tasting tour some wine merchants could not decide which wine to buy. During a snack break a black cat entered the cellar, sat on a cask and defended it ferociously. The merchants decided that that was the cask to get and bought it. The wine sold so successfully that they bought more of the wines from that particular growing area. Ultimately that region, “Grosslage”, was named after the black cat and a trademark was born.zell cat

Winegrowing – tourism

Both play an important role in the economy of the region, with Riesling wines the dominant variety produced here and the city’s picturesque buildings maintained beautifully to attract visitors. The success of these two is the foundation of the establishment of other industries in the closer region, like plastic manufacturers and craft businesses. We think this is a wonderful little place to discover and if you want to hear someone else’s opinion as well, here’s an article by a fellow Kiwi traveler.

Author: Petra Alsbach-Stevens

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Not just wine

Traben-Trarbach-PanoramaThe idyllic township of Traben-Trarbach can look back on a long recorded history with it first being mentioned in 830AD being gifted to the Münster in Aachen. With all its constituents and surrounding villages! It is also well-known for its thermal spring which has been officially recognized by the state as a therapeutic bath. At 33° Celsius the water comes out of the schistous rock and is used for various health treatments.

1280px-Brückentor_in_Traben-Trarbach_(Ortsteil_Trarbach) (2)In 1898 they built the first bridge over the Moselle south of Koblenz and north of Bernkastel, connecting the two towns of Traben and Trarbach. Unfortunately this was destroyed in the last days of WWII. It was rebuilt in 47/48. Fortunately the original bridge gate was not destroyed and has been kept in excellent condition. The bridge has design elements from the Historism and Art Nouveau periods.

Another first was street lighting: at the end of the 19th century the city – along with a couple of others (Berlin for example) – had installed electric street lamps instead of the customary gas-powered ones.

Row, row, row your boat

1280px-Trarbach_AnlegestelleNonetheless, wine is the major player in this town too and during your boat trip you will be able to admire the richly decorated houses showing off the wealth of the region. As a fire destroyed nearly the whole of Trarbach on 21.7.1857 the town was rebuilt with lots of references to current and past architectural styles, mainly Historicism and Eclecticism.

Local folklore

There’s a famous story about a rich wine grower from Traben. He had a beautiful daughter and wanted her to marry the old captain of a Dutch garrison stationed there. She on the other hand was in love with a young local farmer. They used to meet either at the house of a friend in Kröv or in the old ruins of the Franciscan monastery near Wolf. As the captain found out and told the father about this, they decided to surprise them in the act. But, they didn’t. They waited for hours at the monastery. When they finally decided to leave a storm broke out and they had to stay at the ruins for shelter. The father eventually fell asleep, but the captain didn’t and saw a ghostly procession of monks singing a horrible chant which drove him to run away. In his confusion he ran over a cliff and died. When the father found him the next morning he decided that his daughter could marry the farmer after all. Let’s not stand in the way of true love! By the way, there’s no record of how the marriage went.

Author: Petra Alsbach-Stevens

 

 

 

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Kröver Nacktarsch

This cycle tour will take you to more wine growing areas along the Moselle, this particular area being called Kröver Nacktarsch.

Right; well; trying to find a way of translating this tastefully. Unfortunately the German term is not altogether too classy itself. Ok, here goes nothing: it is called The Naked Arse of Kröv. Surprisingly there is no English version of the relevant Wiki entry, so I will try to convey the true meaning of this name.

Let’s get linguistical

Folklore tells the story of a vintner that gave two boys who had drunk out of the wine barrels a serious hiding of their naked butts. What’s more likely, even though certain proof cannot be found, is that it is a malapropism of the Latin word ‘nectarius’ and the Celtic ‘nackas’. Supposedly both mean gravely heights, which would give an indication of the location in question.

My research has shown ‘nectarius’ to mean something more along the lines of ‘made of nectar’ which would indicate the produce of the location, the famous wine! Another interpretation claims that it was meant to mean naked butt because of the look of the hillside in winter: bare, naked and looking like butt cheeks.

Be that as it may, it has proven to be such a popular term that in 2003 the local hall in Kröv was named after it. After some serious discussions first though: initially it was supposed be just Nacktarschhalle, but locals feared that the rather crude term would be ridiculing and ultimately damaging for the region. They agreed to the longer term Weinbrunnenhalle Kröver Nacktarsch, which clearly references the cluster of vineyards in that area.

nacktarsch_02_23_14-670x502On the lookout

As you cycle along the river to your next destination Traben-Trabach, keep a sharp eye out for those cheeks! But do keep your eyes on the road as well, you wouldn’t want to fall off because of that and miss the tranquil boat trip awaiting you there.

Author: Petra Alsbach-Stevens

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Bernkastel-Kues

800px-Bernkastel_BW_1This particular area along the Moselle had been populated since the 3rd millennia BC, but the present day city was created when the two communities of Bernkastel and Kues were joined. Even though archaeological finds support the idea that it had been a Roman castellum, documentation is scarce. On the other hand you will find plenty of proof that you’re still in a major wine growing area. Amongst the buildings dating from Medieval times to the Renaissance you will find little cafes and restaurants offering locally produced food and wine. The market place will be the ideal spot to take it all in.

Berncasteler Doctor

Bernkastel_WeinbergAs you stroll around town you might come across the term Bernc(k)asteler Doctor, a wine you should try if you can, even if you’re not feeling ill. According to a legend in the 14th century the Prince Elector of Trier Boemund II became violently ill and none of his doctors could help him. Eventually he sent out a message that anyone who could would be rewarded. An old vintner came with an old barrel of wine and after a few weeks of ‘moderate’ consumption he recuperated. Thus the vintner was given the right from now on to label his wine as Berncasteler Doctor, giving it an elevated status from the rest of the wines of the region.

Bernkastel DoctorEven though the origin of the name is the stuff of legends, it is fact that King Edward VII drank it for ‘medicinal’ purposes! Another fact is, that the Riesling produced at this Einzellage (The smallest geographical unit in German wine law representing a single vineyard.) has been consistently esteemed to be of the highest quality; making the vineyard one of the most famous and most expensive wine growing location in the world. Mind you, that was all in the beginning of the 21st century, I would guess that in the meantime others have moved into that spot.

Author: Petra Alsbach-Stevens

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