Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Cochem and Reichsburg Castle

Day 9 - We turned south onto the Mosel River with our first stop at the village of Cochem. The entire Rhein and Mosel Valleys are dotted with picturesque villages that are so wonderful to wander through. The smells in the bakeries alone are worth the walks. It's hard to describe the charm of these small cities with their stately cathedrals and churches, buildings hundreds of years old, cobblestone streets and friendly citizens. This is Reisling and Piesporter wine country. Vineyards (or win-yards as Peter says) line the hillsides. There was still harvesting going on and we saw many workers picking the grapes.

However, we had the Reichsburg Castle on the agenda today. Perhaps one of the most visually impressive castles of Germany, along the banks of the Mosel River of western Germany, the Reichsburg Imperial castle’s cone roof spired tower stands above the walls like a jewel in a crown, perched on a steep sloped hilltop. The original castle was first built around the year 1,000. It was destroyed in the Palatine Wars of Succession in 1689 and seized again by the French under Napoleon in 1794. The castle has been the property of the town of Cochem since the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo and the castle in its current form was reconstructed as a revival of neo-gothic fervor in the 1870’s.

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