Schliessen
Schliessen

Green, greener, Moselle

Practically an insider tip: a KD cruise along the Moselle. Everybody knows that you can sail on the Rhine with the KD. But on the Moselle? Sure, and you definitely shouldn’t miss this chance, as the editors of RheinZeit discovered – at least if you are hoping to slow down and find peace and quiet in nature. A travel report.

315 to 37: this isn’t the result of some uneven sporting duel, but a comparison of the journey times that a ship and a train take for the route from Koblenz to Cochem. Just so there isn’t any confusion: the ship needs 315 minutes for the 50 km or so journey along the Moselle, and the Regional Express train 37 minutes. And the winner is ... – definitely the ship!

Success factor: Slowing down

These days, anything and anyone particularly fast is considered well ahead, but in this case the point clearly goes to the slow candidate. The five or so hours the ship needs for the voyage are hours extremely well invested. The return on your investment includes relaxation, slowing down, recovery and enjoyment. And the Moselle has plenty of all of these to offer. This rediscovery of slowing down starts at quarter to ten in the morning at the Koblenz KD jetty on the bank of the Rhine near Deutsches Eck. The trip to Cochem features on the KD time table three times a week between May and October. It is provided by shipping company and KD partner Gilles, whose ships are virtually part of the Koblenz cityscape, because you can often see the green and white Gilles pennant waving on the Rhine.

The MS Fortuna is the name of the cosy cruise ship that awaits the editorial team at the jetty, and since the sun is already shining from the deep blue sky, the team heads straight to the spacious open deck. Cosy wooden benches – with or without sun protection and table – await the Moselle trippers. A view of the Ehrenbreitstein fortress, under the cable car, and the MS Fortuna is already heading towards the Kaiser Wilhelm Monument and thus towards the mouth of the Moselle.

First stop: Lock

Less than two kilometres after the MS Fortuna has swung into the Moselle, still in the Koblenz municipal area, the first of a total of three locks on the way to Cochem awaits the river travellers. A height difference of almost five meters has to be overcome at this barrage. The lock is one of the factors that makes a trip along the Moselle different to other river cruises – and maybe that contributes to the particularly strong sense of slowing down. After all, it takes time to pass through locks, and how much time can’t really be planned.

Lots of green and few houses

After the lock, the ship soon leaves the last houses of Koblenz behind, and on the lush green banks of the river there are only a few small or tiny villages – each at a reasonable distance from each other – on the way to the destination, Cochem. There are pretty half-timbered houses, “Gründerzeit” mansions, historic train stations and many castles to be seen. The romantic factor here is as high as on Father Rhine, but everything is a little bit smaller, the hills more lovely, the river narrower. The traveller is surrounded by wonderful peace and quiet. The famous wine town of Winningen passes by, as does the twin town of Kobern-Gondorf with its four castles. Right after this it’s time for the next lock at Lehmen, and then, at Kattens, half of the distance is already covered.

The further you go towards Cochem, the fewer houses you see, so you can concentrate fully on the green hills and the vineyards when watching the river banks pass by. And how about a small snack? The light breeze on board gives you an appetite. After sausages and vegetable schnitzel with potato salad, one final cappuccino and the third lock, Cochem is already in sight. It’s hard to believe that we left Koblenz five hours ago already!

High spirits

The jetty in Cochem is like a bridge between two worlds: on the one side the quiet space of the cruise ship, on the other the lively destination. But even after a good five hours of relaxation you quickly get into excursion mode. You have to decide: first take a stroll through the picturesque narrow alleyways or would you prefer to start the march uphill to Cochem’s main sight, Reichsburg Castle? This perches on a slate peak high above the river and with its defensive main tower looks like a quintessen-tial medieval knight’s castle.

Originally built in the 11th century, after an eventful history and destruction by the troops of Louis XIV in the 17th century the Reichsburg (Imperial Castle) was a ruin for almost 200 years before the Berlin merchant Louis Ravené (1823-1879) acquired it and rebuilt it in neo-Gothic style as a summer residence for his family. Once the castle hill has been conquered – on foot or by shuttle bus – you can enjoy a view not only of the Moselle and Cochem, but also of another attraction of the small town on the opposite slope: the Cochem chairlift, which leads to Pinnerkreuz, the most beautiful vantage point in the area, at an altitude of 255 metres.

If you want to visit Reichsburg Castle, the chair lift, perhaps the wildlife and leisure park Klotten, which is great for families, and one or two other sights of Cochem, you should definitely stay for at least one night in one of the village’s numerous hotels. After the guided tour around Reichsburg Castle, day-trippers will have to slowly start thinking about heading home, and here it shows: ships and trains, with their very different travel speeds, are not actually competitors after all, but rather the perfect team, because after a day packed full to the brim with adventure you can travel back to Koblenz by Regional Express train in just 37 minutes.

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