Monday, August 27, 2012

Holiday – Day 2: Exploring Cochem

So, here are in the rather lovely Mosel Region of the Rhineland. We’re staying at the Brixiade Hotel, part of the Moselstern Hotels group. Its sister hotel, The Triton, is just 10 metres away and we have the option to share some of their facilities too.
Our Hotel 
We went to bed last night shattered!  it felt like we’d been on trains all day - then we realised we had!!! After a rather brisk communal meal last night with the rest of the 40-strong tour. followed by a (very) quick walk outside, we retired to bed.

And just at the point where were dropping-off, we were woken by what sounded like a large explosion. In fact it was the fireworks display that we heard was rumoured for Sunday evening. It sounded impressive (but we couldn’t see anything from our room) and twenty-minutes with shattered eardrums, it was back to sleep.

It’s Monday morning and we both slept well. Now we’re much more awake, we took some time to appreciate the hotel and its offerings. Superb room, gorgeous location (right opposite the Mosel river), very friendly staff - but apparently no internet available in any of the rooms, nor in the lobby area. After chatting with the hotel manager, I was led  through a darkened corridor to a small room the size of a telephone booth containing predictably, a telephone, but also a PC keyboard and monitor screen. That was it! I checked the wall-calendar nearby to check that I hadn’t fallen into a Doctor Who-type temporal distortion and it confirmed that I WAS still in 2012! Yeesh, it looks like technologically-speaking, it’s going to be a challenging week ahead!

After  a hearty breakfast in a separate room for ‘The 40’, we prepared for the first organised part of the holiday - a tour of the local town of Cochem. The expedition began at 9.30 from Reception where we took the short walk with Peter,  our tour leader to the local tourist information office - but not before I took a few misty shots from the front of the Hotel.
Play Misty for me...
Misty Boat - Get a taxi?
40 get prepared in the Tourist Information Centre 
The tour began, and with so many of us, we were herded into two groups of 20. Sylvia was our Guide, and we instinctively followed her orders. She gave us a really good feel for the town that was packed full of interesting history. She reminded us that as this was the last day of the local wine festival, the locals would be celebrating - celebrating all the tourists leaving!!! 
Designer Wall at Cochem
Shots of the Tour
Shots of the Tour
Shots of the Tour
The tour lasted (sensibly) just an hour, but we still felt like we needed a short break. Cue a visit to the nearest coffee-house with something to drink and eat. We fell into a local place and were soon tucking into a coffee and ice-cream sundae - apparently, it’s the law round here :)  
The prefect apres-Tour activity
I've got mine, what's everyone else having?
Then, suitably refreshed, we had a final look round, before making out way back to the hotel, with some more stunning views on the journey back across the bridge.
Views on the journey back form the TourViews on the journey back form the Tour 
Views on the journey back form the TourViews on the journey back form the Tour 
Just time for a short ‘feet-up’ before we headed for some public benches just outside, looking across the river. We could hear the live band playing in the town, and it was all very pleasant.  Half an hour later, we were sweltering and so we retreated to to the hotel front garden and a perfectly positioned shady-spot. Time to catch-up with our reading and general chit-chat.
The view from our bench!
After all that shade (and alcohol) a short siesta followed, before we got ready for the communal trough evening meal with the rest of our fellow travellers. After last night’s rather scrum-like free-for-all, we agreed to get there a little earlier tonight. The strategy seemed to pay off, as we were one of the first groups to arrive. Mission accomplished!

After stuffing our faces, we took a short evening stroll along the river taking photographs along the way (with the Band still playing in the distance) finally returning to the hotel and sitting outside under one of their romantically-lit pergolas accompanied by a hot chocolate.
Shots during our evening stroll
Shots during our evening stroll
Just chillin'!
9pm. Time to call it a day and head for bed - We left the Band still playing!

We’re off to Triere tomorrow, one of the oldest Roman towns in Europe. It’ll be brisk yomp to the station for the enthusiasts (but a taxi for us four) and that’s followed by a train journey for about an hour that’ll take us to our destination.