For the past two days, John and I have been biking the Moselle Wine River Trail. The trail actually starts in Metz, France and passes through Luxembourg, but we started the trail in Trier, Germany. We met a bike company rep at our first hotel, picked up our bikes, and got ready for 32 miles Day 1. The first day was brutal- 90 degree heat, long unshaded trail segments, and lots of confusion about signs- we decided to offset the challenge with numerous riverside stops to sample wine. Needless to say, we fell into bed exhausted after a shower and meal. Today has been easier. We had a slower day with slightly less mileage, the sun did not come out until later, and we stopped to see a castle up on the cliffs above the river.
When we were trying to find out how to get up to the castle, a hotel innkeeper offered to let us lock our bikes in the hotel garage, and then gave us direction on how to take the shuttle to the castle. The views were amazing and the walk down was easy. The castle was built in Roman times, rebuilt again in the Middle Ages, and then restored in the past century.
There is an old legend for a wine grown along the Moselle called Narktarsch- literally,the name means bare bottom. Various stories regarding the origin- the one we liked was of the wine laborers having to take off their pants and go naked due to bad food fed to them by the landowner and needing to go frequently among the vines. Hence, they had bare bottoms.
Once on the road again, we followed some older Germans with e-bikes to a pathside eatery and had the best burger ever. We thought we would get to our next hotel before late afternoon, but the truth is we are old, and not in a big hurry, and our butts are sore. We are now in Traben-Trarach- two villages that sit across the Moselle from each other. We found a bike store as we came into town, and picked up gel seats, so riding should get easier.
Our hotel is right on the river, and looks like it was built in the 1700s- it’s beautiful and the room is very nice. No air conditioning, so we threw on our bathing suits and went to the hotel spa. Spas in Europe are often unisex, so John and I went into together and promptly decided to try everything- the water bucket dump, the surround-spray shower, the dry sauna, the infrared seats, the foot soak. As I am sitting in the infrared chair, a naked man came walking through the room. At first I thought I was in the wrong section, but the attendant had seen me and nodded welcome. So, I pretended I was used to seeing naked men in the spa with me. Later, John and I went out to the deck, where there were more naked people, enjoying the sun- “group adult sunbathing”.
We decided we like Germany- good, friendly people, good food, great wine, and they like going naked. Just don’t be looking at my bare bottom!