Saturday, December 20, 2008

Cochem and Mosel Cruising Dec 20

Cochem & Cruising the Mosel, Germany December 20, 2008

Today we go to Cochem, which Hilde tells me is a wonderful, small medieval town. We are supposed to do a wine-tasting at 9:30. Then we get as a walking tour and some free time. I hope to see the fifteenth century church. Then we cruise the Mosel.

The talk on the EU wasn't too informative and the hard questions were more or less ignored. If Viking wants to do an educational program, they need more qualified speakers. His insistence on talking about history with a very confused chronology didn't help. A couple of British questioners brought up serious political and economic tensions that he more or less dismissed.

Cochem is a charming city. The wine tasting at Winery Haxel was interesting but I only had very small tastes. After all, it was early in the morning. We sat with a woman from London and since there was always a dry, a medium, and a sweet version of each wine we each ordered one and she and I tasted them while Peter just drank water. Some of the wines were quite nice but I wasn't in the market. I have found that drinking on this trip tends to worsen any headaches I might get. I have had just a little bit and I don't plan to drink much more. We learned all about natural production techniques as well as rules for growers in the area. Until a few years ago only white wine could be produced although historically red wine had been produced in greatet quantities. Still, the amount of red wine and the types are much more limited.

The town itself has some nice gates from the fourteenth century. We also saw some half-timbered houses that were semi-authentic. They had been plastered over in the seventeenth (?) century but in the nineteenth century people were offered free timber if they wanted to restore the original fa├žades.

We also saw the high water marks from floods of the Mosel and an interesting modern free-standing mosaic. We went into the fifteenth-century church but the interior has only modern decoration. We walked back through the Weihnachtsmarkt and past the historic mustard mill although we did not go in. Judy said they stopped there and tasted various mustards and she bought one flavored with curry. I don't think you could see the mill in operation or at least there wasn't time. We also didn't have time to see the castle on the hill overlooking the town. Even though it is small you probably need a full day to see everything.

This afternoon we cruised down the Mosel. We will be at the Rhine at Koblenz soon. I took a tour of the galley, which is small and high tech. There is one pastry chef and one baker as well as two dishwashers who also do the vegetable prep. It was very interesting. The equipment is specially made so that heat is not generated during cooking. It is amazing that all that food can be turned out in such a small space.

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