Today was a free day in Cochem, Germany, a small village on the Moselle River, about 10 minutes from Cochem. My cousins were going to Luxembourg today, so I just planned to wander around this charming tourist center, take a short cruise on the river and visit the Reichsburg Castle, perched on top of a hill overlooking the town.
Cochem is full of tourists this time of year, but closes down almost completely in the winter. So people who live here really have to make hay while the sun shines. Their friendliness rivals any place I’ve ever been. I’m staying at an Airbnb, owned by Vladimir and Thea. It is a really an unassuming-looking house from the street, but just beautiful inside, all recently renovated. The house is on the side of the hill above the town, only a few minutes walk down to the river—but more than a few minutes back since the hill is so steep. The little apartment they’ve made for the Airbnb guests is really extraordinary—beautifully designed, modern, and efficient. It has a bedroom, bath, kitchen, and courtyard. I like staying in Airbnb’s, especially in historic places. They are usually half the price of hotels and give you a chance to meet some local people. This couple is actually Romanian, but they have lived in Cochem for years. Their English is really limited, and of course I have no German, so we used GoogleTranslate on my phone a lot.
This morning, I walked down the hill and decided to go to one of the gorgeous German bakeries for breakfast. I was taking a picture when I looked up and there was my host with her Red Dye No. 3 hair and a big smile. She is so cute (see attached photo). I asked her to suggest a good place for dinner later and she sent me to the BurgHotel. More about that later.
After my little breakfast and cappuccino, I went down to the riverfront and got on a 1-hour cruise just leaving. It went about a mile down the river and then turned around and went 3 miles up river. The Moselle is a really winding river in a steep valley where they grow the Moselle grapes. The vineyards are incredibly vertical, taking advantage of every inch of rocky soil on the valley walls. Very scenic. It made me wish I had just rented a bicycle since there are wonderful riding paths all along the river. Looked from several angles at the medieval castle high atop an hill overlooking the town and decided I had to go up there. So when I finished the cruise, I took a shuttle up the steep road to the castle and immediately got in with a guided group whose guide spoke pretty good English. This castle was built in the 1300s and has been restored to be about 1500 vintage. It’s in beautiful condition, never having been bombed in a war. At night, it’s illuminated from the outside and is really a beautiful sight from the town.
I walked back down the steep road to the town and went to the BurgHotel. When I was seated on the balcony overlooking the river and overlooked by the castle, the waiter came up to me and asked, “Are you Jaine?” I was really shocked that anybody would know I was coming, but it turned out to be my host Vladimir. He was so effusive about my staying at their place and told me he had read all the reviews of me on
Airbnb, so he was looking forward to meeting me. (In case you’re not familiar with Airbnb, both guest and host provide public and private reviews online after each stay. I had never read my reviews, but I guess they must be ok! Vladimir could not do enough for me, recommending what I should order, introducing me to the other waiters, and even taking me to meet his boss. When I left the restaurant, he asked if he could hug me. And his review after I left said “She can still turn a head.” So funny! And such a wonderful day of sightseeing in an unexpected place.