**Credit for this brilliant trip goes to Phil, the Australian.**
- Phil the Aussie (one of our first UK friends) and Lovely Laura (British babe)
- Alison & Eric (met them 2 weeks after moving to London, ironically from Boston!)
- Stu the Aussie (Phil’s lifelong friend) and his sweet-as-pie other half, Jenna
Months ago, in the wee first hours of summer, Phil had the idea that for his birthday weekend, we should fly to this random river in Germany, rent bikes, and ride the river from winery to winery. Not going to lie – at first, I was a bit skeptical of the whole idea. Mostly due to the memory of Trev’s and my biking disaster in Tuscany, where the treacherous hillside (plus prior wine tasting) quickly led to both of us hurled over our bikes on the side of the road, in a profuse sweat. Doing this all day for 3 days… frankly sounded quite terrible.
Nonetheless, we can’t say no to travel…we definitely can’t say no to a trip with a group of great friends…and we absolutely can’t say no to a trip where there’s wine to be tasted. So we signed ourselves up and, in late August, were on our way.
Once we’d all met up at the Frankfurt airport, we made our way to our Airbnb rental in the small town of Briedel, Germany; one of the riverside towns of the Moselle. Our jolly host, of English heritage, welcomed us at the house and showed us around what used to be a hotel, but he now rents out to small groups such as ourselves. We had a common area downstairs with games, a fully stocked beer/wine fridge, and a kitchen with a fully stocked food fridge. The rooms upstairs were spacious and cozy. Already off to a great start! Once we’d settled in to our weekend nest, we took a 5 minute walk down the road to the recommended “bike rental shop”…. basically, where an older, German-only speaking couple had acquired about 20 bikes, which they chained up outside of their house. This is where we learned, to our complete surprise, that Aussie Phil and Lovely Laura SPOKE GERMAN! Who knew?! Not fluently, but it would prove to be enough to get us through several potentially sticky situations with the locals for the remainder of the weekend. After the bike-shop couple bartered us from paying 25 euros per person for 3 days, down to 15 (yes…they bartered their own prices down for us…talk about lost in translation), we were on our way.
We spent the following three days biking and boating our way through winery countryside heaven. The most significant memories of our weekend were captured in a GoPro video that I edited together, linked below.
In summary, the highlights of our trip include:
- Ferry Ride to Cochem & Cochem Wine Festival: We took a relaxing 2.5 hour ferry ride from Briedel to Cochem, moseying our way down the Moselle while enjoying pre-made sandwiches and wine. The boat ride into Cochem was perhaps the most beautiful view of the entire trip, with the Cochem Castle standing out predominantly on top of the mountain, and the colorful village below. In Cochem, we explored the carnival grounds of the festival, played games, at cotton candy, drank the local wine, and ended the evening with the most spectacular fireworks show we’d ever seen (even compared to Boston’s 4th of July extravaganza), where they set off a perfectly coordinated display of fireworks in 4 locations: over the castle, from a boat on the river, from a bridge on the river, and from the hillside across the river. Might I mention, the show lasted nearly half an hour!
- Bike Ride to the Lookout Tower: We’d spotted a lookout tower across the river from Briedel, on our first day in Germany. We’d decided on the second day to take our bikes out and conquer the climb. This winding uphill ride was both mentally and physically challenging, slowly curving it’s way through vineyards, sometimes steeply uphill for long stretches. Nonetheless, we all made it to the top and the view from the tower looking out over the Moselle landscape was breathtaking. It has a special place reserved in our video, including a well-deserved red solo cup toast.
- Wine Tasting in a Local’s Garage: And I couldn’t be more literal. As we biked through the surrounding, small villages around Briedel, we came across a large garage with the door lifted, and a picnic style table inside dressed in menus and wine glasses. A friendly man welcomed us to the table and immediately started pouring tasting’s of delicious vino. The highlight of the experience was meeting his father, a 90-year-old stud whom fell in love with Alison (and quite possibly the other way around), and then took us to the basement under the garage to show us the 100-year-old wine cave!
- Afternoons at the Dock: Right across the street from our airbnb was a public dock, floating off the bank of the river. Each afternoon, we’d head out for a good swim, sunbathing, good tunes, and…you guessed it…wine from that day’s tasting. 🙂 Having this opportunity to chill out each afternoon, was the perfect contrast to all of the walking and biking each day.
Overall, the Moselle River makes for an awesome group trip away because it’s beautiful, there is a LOT to explore over a vast amount of land, it’s the polar opposite of touristy and the quaint and chilled out vibes lead to good times with a group of friends. This trip ended up being without a doubt one of my most fond travel memories to date. Thanks for the splendid idea, Phil!