Monday, 6 July 2020

entlang die mosel

Underway for a local excursion for a few days, we headed to our first overnight destination, secure but still cautious that the camping set and those who run campgrounds are among the most conscientious about hygiene, shared spaces and consideration for one’s neighbour—and indeed everyone was adhering to the rules set forth and all activity was chiefly in wide open spaces with ample distance apart, other than this manky swan that was keen on showing off his ballet moves, and managers, as ever, were studious about taking the information of the guests in case of the need to do contact tracing.
En route, we stopped at Burg Thurant overlooking the village of Alken on what’s referred to as the Terrassenmosel (the terraced Moselle).
The double castle of slate and stone dates from the thirteenth century and was a condominium with lands claimed by the archbishoprics of both Trier and Kรถln—with a line running through the structure to designate each side, and to this day is still a private joint residence of two families.
After getting encamped on an island in the river outside of the town of Hatzenport, which looked at first to be more crowded than it turned out to be with the outward facing shore lined with trailers and awnings set up for longer term occupants but were still vacant—these Potemkin villages were common at all the sites who were seeing as expected a lot less business—we visited the ancient town of Mรผnstermaifeld, dominated by a massive minster (from the corresponding Latin for monastery), the Franks having arrived in the area centuries after the Romans vacated and built the church around the ruin of a Roman fort.
Our last site for the day was a hike to see Burg Eltz (previously) from a distance and marvel at the well conserved castle, one of the few on the left bank of the parallel Rhein river and still owned and lived in by members of the same family—the thirty-third generation since its construction in the 1100s, with some of the wings (there are several branches that own the castle jointly, an arrangement called a Ganerbenburg where no single line is responsible for the upkeep alone, and also a tactic by an overlord to prevent vassals from becoming too powerful ) open to the public with treasure and art on display.