BMW Club Oxford Section Trip to Mosel Valley, Germany June 2011
In 2010 we stayed at Landal Hoog Vaals in Holland and had a great time. The accommodation was ideally suited to our needs and so we decided to look for somewhere similar. The park, Landal Mont Royal, is in the Mosel Valley and consists of a number of bungalows and a central facility with shop, restaurant, swimming pool etc along similar lines to Centre Parcs.
Twenty-five members travelled by a variety of routes to Germany. Some chose to split the travelling with a one night stopover in France to make the journey more of a leisurely experience. Six of us did manage the journey straight through – Well done to them!
I set off on early on Thursday, travelling via M4 and M25 to Clacket Lane Services. This was one of the wettest and dreariest experiences of my motorcycling career. Filtering through sodden stop start traffic was not a pleasure, just a necessity to make progress. The services provided blessed relief from rain, time for coffee and cake, and the opportunity to meet other members of the party. After a P&O sailing from Dover to Calais, the weather was reasonably dry and warmer than the UK. We eventually arrived at our stopover at the Auberge de la Foret, near La Capelle, a lovely family run place with fantastic food. I will definitely consider stopping there again. On Friday we finished the remaining leg via Luxembourg (cheap petrol, Italian food and new waterproof overtrousers!), arriving before the rain came down.
On Saturday we investigated the local supermarket in Krov, then rode back to base via Traben-Trarbach. After lunch, we went for a walk down the hill to Kovenig on the banks of the Mosel. We found a “Schlusse” which turned out to be a large lock, weir and hydro electric power unit. The lock was large enough for two or three long river barges to fit in, and the drop in river level was about 20 feet. As we watched, a passenger ferry and a large barge came through going downstream. The barge had a Subaru WRX and a BMW M5 on the roof of its cabin! Barge life must be very exciting!
On Sunday we went on a river ferry from Krov to Berncastle. The weather was a bit fickle, being reasonably warm and sunny at times, yet with odd showers just to test our waterproofs. There were good views of the river and endless vineyards lining the hillsides. The lock we went through had a novel gate at the top end which rotated under water rather than opening like a pair of more traditional gates.
On Monday we rode to Trier along the Mosel valley. The weather was damp most of the way, so we couldn’t appreciate the full beauty of the valley. Trier was a mix of ancient and modern. Roman ruins and a 4th century cathedral were surrounded by 21st century shops and offices. We looked at the outside of the former home of Karl Marx before lunch. We wandered past the Roman Baths on the way to the Amphitheatre. This was well worth a visit allowing us to walk along the banks as well as under the arena. The commentaries were very informative. We returned via the autobahn and tested the upper end of the speedos en route.
On Tuesday we rode from Krov to Koblenz. We stopped in Cochem for coffee and the group then subdivided. Some stayed in Cochem, some went to the picturesque castle of Burg Elz and the rest of us pressed on to Koblenz. We parked up near the confluence of the Mosel and Rhine. This was guarded by a magnificent equestrian statute to commemorate the unification of Germany. After lunch some decided to explore Koblenz further and return via the Mosel valley. The remaining six folk on five bikes rode off after a short unplanned tour of downtown Koblenz to ride up the Rhine valley. We stopped in St Goar, opposite the Loreley and finally for coffee in Bacharach. We couldn’t see Burt anywhere, but the place was medieval and magnificent. We returned to base on mostly damp roads over a delightful route of twisties and dual carriageway.
On Wednesday, Tim and I walked round the Mont Royal plateau in the morning. We discovered part of the old fort. We passed the Pflugplatz but nothing was taking off or landing probably due to the poor weather. We returned to base past an Adventure Playground where a large party of teenagers were being put through their paces. After lunch and a delay for thunderstorms, several of us walked down the hill to Krov to a most excellent ice cream parlour. We made it back without rain. In the evening the entire party went wine tasting. This expedition to Kovenig was delightful with food included as well as wines. Sadly our host was standing in for his son (who was ill). The son apparently speaks excellent English and Dutch as well as German. Despite Landal loaning two of their multilingual receptionists, until a lively Dutch lady took up the translation into English, we were struggling to follow the explanations. The food was a traditional meal similar to that provided for the vineyard workers and very tasty. After much wine tasting there was a bus back to base! The more energetic did manage to walk back, however.
On Thursday Geoff Steele and I had a ride to Vianden in Luxembourg, then down the valley towards Trier and back to base via Berncastel, along the Mosel valley. The weather was poor before Vianden, but the Mosel looked lovely in the summer sunshine. The only bar to real progress was the fact that it was Ascension Day. Consequently every small village we went through was closed for ecclesiastical parades and celebrations. In Vianden the bridge was closed, but this gave us a chance to have a coffee and wander through the town. The roads were great, but would have been better in the dry. In the evening, we all met for a final meal with plenty of time for a good craic.
On Friday we bade each other and Landal Mont Royal goodbye as the party split into different groups for the return home. On balance it was a good week away, despite the weather. It rained every day at some point, so you could not venture out without waterproof gear available. If you could see the lovely Mosel valley side and the river it was going to rain. If you couldn’t it was raining already!