Friday, 14/07/2023: Luxembourg sightseeing, then train to Cochem

After walking past it the night before, we visited the Bock itself after breakfast.

It packs a punch; if you like crypts, cannons, views, staircases built in stone and secret passages that lead you down a tall spiral staircase, through a long corridor, up another tall spiral staircase and to an alternative escape route out of the fortress, you should visit too. Well worth the price of admission!

We also visited the Luxembourg museum, which was both a) free and b) like an iceberg.

As in that it looked like an averagely sized building from the outside, but since the building is built on a slope, it is way deeper than it looks like.

So we did what the reception people told us, starting from the lowest basement, which contained the earliest prehistoric findings from Luxembourg, and going upstairs as we went through the ages and the invaders and rulers…

Roman mosaic at Luxembourg museum
Roman mosaic at Luxembourg museum

I noticed some of the stones had grapes and vines carved out. If I remember correctly they were Roman as well, which just fits with the theory that they liked wine a lot, and brought vines all around the empire so they could keep drinking it everywhere.

There was A LOT to look at, and at some point we just had to… stop, because we were getting full of knowledge but also full of anguish and hunger as well. It was time to call it a day! And so we had to abandon with more than half of the musem unseen. That’s how big it is!

We ended up having lunch at Beim Lentz, a restaurant that we randomly found by fundamentally just following a funnily named street: Rue de l’Eau.

There I had a really weird salad with watermelon and goat cheese and fried noodles… which also sort of worked in a really unexpected way.

And I had another fruit beer, this time from Battin, a Luxembourg-based brewery. The style was again quite Belgian, and funnily, it worked well with the salad!

Then we had an accidental dessert.

You see, we wanted a coffee, but in our post-museum-overdose state, we didn’t realise that a latte macchiato (long milk with a touch of coffee) is NOT the same as an espresso macchiato (the short coffee with a touch of milk).

We wanted a short coffee… you can imagine what we got:

Latte macchiato
Latte macchiato

“This will be our dessert then!”, we concluded, and used the provided long dessert spoons to carve out foam from the tall glass.

Beim Lentz
2 Rue de l’Eau
1449 Luxembourg

And with that, we went to our hotel to pick up our bags and take the train to what was going to be our base in Germany, Cochem.

One last couple of Luxembourg pictures before we départ though, as both the ceiling and the stained glass in the train station were beautiful:

And onto the next train ride with several things to look forward to:

To start with, we were going to repeat the excitement of travelling within the Schengen zone: geting on a train and not needing to show your passport at every single country you enter.

To continue with, it was fun to see how the signs in the stations changed from being mostly in French to suddenly in German, and then seeing the familiar Deutsche Bahn imagery and you know you’ve crossed the border and you’re in Germany, as if per magic.

Wasserbillig, the last station in Luxembourg (before Germany)
Wasserbillig, the last station in Luxembourg (before Germany)

But most importantly, I was very keen on seeing the famous terraced vineyards next to the Mosel, and all the scenic views as well.

Mosel and the terraced vineyards, from the train
Mosel and the terraced vineyards, from the train

Tunnels! Mosel! Terraces in between! And I hope you enjoy my dramatic camera roll! 😏

A little while later, we arrived to Cochem, walked to our hotel, checked in, and got some recommendations for where we could and where we SHOULD NOT go for dinner, and a very strong recommendation that we should book restaurants if we wanted to go, especially on Monday, as many restaurants closed on Monday.

It really surprised us that a hotel would be so concerned about where their guests chose to spend their money, and we were equally confused that we needed to book in this, we understood, quite small town. We weren’t expecting hordes of tourists here! This wasn’t London! What could possibly be happening?

We didn’t feel like starting to ring places to book anything, and it still felt quite early in the day, so we decided to walk to the closest of the “recommended” restaurants and see if it would take us without reservation. It should be OK, we thought…?

After somehow entering the restaurant through the back door (don’t ask, I don’t even know how it happened 😂), we were told that if we didn’t have reservation… hmm… they were full already, but maybe we would be OK with a table indoors?

We could not see how many people were outdoors in the terrace, but looking around the room, it was about 40% busy. This, to London standards, is barely occupied. We said yes, we didn’t mind sitting indoors.

We speculated that we had arrived mid-service (at 18:30h), and as we progressed in our dinner, most people left, and we were expecting another seating… but it never happened. At 20:30h when we left, the restaurant seemed to be already winding down! Our confusion about restaurant customs in Cochem continued brewing.

Though by then we had had nice food and the first and excellent Riesling of the trip, so we were merrily confused! I also had had the first schnitzel of the trip (and in retrospect, the best).

Liniusstraße 4
56812 Cochem

The wine was “Riesling trocken” and my tasting notes were the most detailed of the trip as I tried to do a SAT (and quickly got distracted by the food and the wine); I only got as far as the finish:

👁️ Gold / deep
👃🏻👅 Dry, Wet stones, peach, stone fruit, lemon peel
⏱️ Finish medium+

We later learned that the wine came from the same winery (Weingut Clemens) that has vineyards on the slopes of the Cochem castle. So the waiter didn’t exaggerate when he said it was “a local wine”!

We nosed a bit around the, by then, very quiet town. It was not even 21h and it felt soooooo eerily still… All the shops were shut, any restaurant that was not closed yet was already preparing to do so. How can this be a Friday night?? 👻

It was almost just us looking at empty market squares…

Cochem marktplatz
Cochem marktplatz

… church towers (notice the vines growing between buildings)…

Cochem church tower
Cochem church tower

… and the most amazing thing, a WINE VENDING MACHINE!

A wine vending machine in Cochem
A wine vending machine in Cochem

We did not get to try the machine out, but we saw other people operate it to great satisfaction. You use your European-issued ID card to prove you are of legal drinking age, and then you pay. Tada! With a rack on the side to return the empty bottles, which looked to me as modelled in the style of sparkling wine racks.

If you visit Cochem and want to try out the machine, it was next to Weingenuss Cochem (which I suspect also operate it as they’re a wine shop):
Weingenuss Cochem
Bernstraße 24
56812 Cochem

We were tired so we went back to our hotel, where I looked at the castle as the day finished…

Reichsburg - Cochem castle in the distance
Reichsburg – Cochem castle in the distance

… and the night started, and the stars shone!

Reichsburg - Cochem castle in the distance, at night
Reichsburg – Cochem castle in the distance, at night

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