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  • Stephen R A'Barrow

Surprising Germany #5

The enchanting Mosel river region (Moselle in French and Mosa in Latin which translates as little Muse) is well worth a visit. The region offers wonderful river cruises through the picturesque wine-growing region of the Rhineland Palatinate.

The most famous stops include the medieval market town of Bernkastel-Kues, at its most popular during the September wine festival, the town of Cochem and its imposing imperial Reichsburg Castle perched above the u-bend of the river Mosel, Castle Eltz (which has been in the possession of the same dynasty since the 12th century) and Germany’s oldest city, Trier, established in 16BC, which during the 4th Century was not only the imperial residence of the Roman Emperor Constantine but the defacto capital of the Western Roman Empire.

The city still boasts some of the most impressive Roman buildings and ruins in Europe including the Porta Negra (black gate), Constantine’s basilica, the great cathedral, the Roman bath complex and the remains of the 20,000 seater amphitheatre. The Abbey of St Matthias also contains the remains of the only apostle to be found north of the Alps, and Trier’s most famous more contemporary resident was Karl Marx who was born and went to school there from 1818-1835 and whose house you can still visit.

For those who want a cross border cruising experience you can head for the town of Schengen in Luxembourg which gave its name to the agreement that removed border controls across much of Europe, or visit the US memorial cemetery at Hamm where General Patton is buried and then continue across into France to the cathedral city of Metz (famous for its Silbermann organ, among other sites) and finish your tour in the pretty French town of Nancy.

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