We had our first excursion of the trip this morning, a tour of Cochem Castle, about 300 feet above river level. We had a choice between riding there in minivans or walking up on our own and meeting our guides there – one guess which we chose!
The MS Olympia was moored just down the road from us; they specialize in Bike and Boat tours. They claim that this particular tour is “suitable for unpractised cyclists”; I’ll take them at their word.
We walked with a couple of our friends; the castle beckoned at us from the bridge over the Moselle.
We got to the castle about 10 minutes before the minivans, so we had time to enjoy the view.
The first castle on the site was built in 1000, passed into the hands of the German Kings and then to the Electors of Trier. It was expanded in 1332 and reduced to ruins by Louis XIV in 1689. Louis Ravené, an iron and steel magnate, bought it in 1868 and rebuilt it as a summer cottage for his family, who owned it until 1943 when they surrendered it to the Third Reich because they couldn’t afford the taxes. West Germany took possession after WWII, and the city of Cochem took over in 1978 and turned it into a tourist attraction, showing the castle as it was when Ravené owned it.
We walked back down to town; the grapes are a very dark purple, so I guess the harvest must be imminent.
Our route back to the ship took us past Cochen’s Shoah plaques – Germany has done a much better job of facing ugly history than the US has.
The Jewish Community in Cochem – Lost on November 9, 1938, Reichskristalnacht. Due to the destruction of the synagogue and schoolhouse on Oberbachstrasse. In remembrance and warning. Given on November 9, 1988.
Jews lived in Cochem for hundreds of years – the Mayer, Goetzoff, Hirsch, Dahl, Haimann, and Simon families were victims of the Shoah. In remembrance and warning. Given on November 9, 1998.
We passed something else you wouldn’t see in the US – wine vending machines. There were also vending machines which sold cigarettes, vapes, eggs, and cream cheese (as well as more usual goodies like candy, sodas, and ice cream).
We walked the opposite side of the Moselle to get a photo of Pegel Cochem; it’s a small building along the waterfront which memorializes floods of the past and contains gauges to measure the current river level. The “clock” at the top of the building shows the current level (about 220cm); you can also get the data on the Pagel Cochem page from the German government’s Undine Information Platform, but what fun would that be?
The ship left Cochem while we were having lunch, and we’ve been enjoying the scenery all afternoon.
Tonight is the ship’s “70’s Party”; I will not be posting photos.