We arrived in Bernkastle early in the morning; we had a choice of a walking tour of the town or a strenuous bike ride, both followed by a wine tasting. We chose the walking tour. The ruins of Berg Landshut dominated the skyline.

The town is actually called Bernkastle-Kues; Kues was on the other side of the Moselle. Our guide told us about the St. Nikolas Hospital in Kues, which was founded in 1465 as a place for needy old men to live; it’s still a retirement home today!

Our guide took us into the Market Square, complete with fountains, Rathaus, and lots and lots of stores and restaurants.

German mailboxes (this one’s in front of the drugstore) are more interesting than the ones we have at home.

Our guide pointed out the Spitzhäuschen (Pointed House), an excellent example of the half-timbered buildings found throughout the market area.

We left the market square and stopped at the Bear Fountain (the bear is Bernkastle’s heraldic animal).

Our guide took us outside the old city walls so we could see a “Doctor Wine Cellar”, and then she told us the legend behind the name. We returned to the town through the Graacher Tor (the one remaining city gate) and saw plaques commemorating the Jewish residents lost in the Shoah.

We saw our first stolperstein of the cruise a few feet from the gate; they commemorate two Jews who had fled to Cologne and hidden in 1939, then moved to Bernkastel later in the war and were killed by an Allied bombing raid in January 1945.

That completed the walking tour; our guide then took us to Weingut Dr. Pauly-Bergweiler for a Riesling tasting (and explanation).

The wines were tasty, but I didn’t want to bring any wine home with me; Bernkastel wines are available in the US at decent prices, anyway.

We left the cellar and walked up to the castle; it was worth it for the views.

We went back to the ship for lunch, passing a roadside vineyard along the way; the grapes like very steep slopes!

After lunch, we went back to town for a little light shopping and exploration; I was somewhat surprised to find a monument to the town’s fallen soldiers from the World Wars, complete with Iron Cross, but our travel agent says that we’d see similar monuments in most small towns.

We left Bernkastel around 6 and began sailing upriver. The scenery was distracting, but we managed to concentrate on dinner (and some Dr. Pauly-Bergweiler wines) anyway.