Everything I wish Belgium could be

Trip Start Aug 15, 2010
Trip End Dec 11, 2010

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Flag of Germany  , Rhineland-Palatinate,
Friday, October 8, 2010

After leaving Trier we quickly set the waypoint in the trusty GPS and got on the highway. What highway is that you may be wondering? Oh that's right, it was the autobahn. It didn't disappoint. We covered the distance of 130 km in less than an hour and hit a top speed of over 93mph. Despite the high rate of speed there were many cars (including a lamborghini/ferrari)  that blew by us going what must have been more than 115mph! They were going VERY fast and I was a little jealous. 
We neared our destination on the Mosel River as darkness fell. Or what I thought was our destination. As we neared the end of the route, dad noticed the signs in the town were for a spot 15 km away from our real destination.. we had accidentally chosen and followed directions to a prospective hotel that dad had put in the GPS and then forgotten about! We quickly changed the waypoint to the right destination and began to follow the route along the river in the dark
Everything went fine until we reached a point where the GPS veered off to the left and made a squiggly line with the turns absurdly close together. I brushed it off at first assuming there was some sort of error. But no, as we drove by the road a second time re realized the one lane path that veered off sharply uphill and into the dark was the road we needed to take. We took a few deep breaths and began our ascent! There are many cars that couldn't have made that climb, namely anything much bigger than the one we were in. At every corner the road made a sharp 145 degree angle and continued upward much like switchbacks when climbing a mountain. Finally we reached the top and crossed the plateau in between the Mosel and Rhine rivers and then repeated the process going back down! Thankfully on the downward side the road was a little bigger and we could make the turns without as much fear of crashing over the edge and plummeting hundreds of feet. 
When we arrived in Boppard we found our Hotel nestled down a tiny alleyway and were quickly greeted by a vivacious manager. She helped us to our room and then took our dinner orders at the restaurant downstairs. The food and beer was typical German and there was a group of people watching the German national soccer (football) team play soccer on a tv. It was delicious and seemed like a worthy end to a exhausting afternoon. 

The next morning we rose early and boarded a large boat for a cruise on the Rhine river. The air was cold but the sun was out and the river was beautiful. I was amazed at how I'd gotten used to the flat scenery of Belgium and how much I missed steep hills and water. The cliff side vineyards and castles were great and I really enjoyed the experience on the river. After getting off at a town an hour up the river, we rode a train back to our hotel and packed up. 

 The afternoon was spent driving south through german wine country on what is called the "wein strasse." The warm temperatures and sunny weather made the drive very memorable as the views changed from river valley to vineyard. This is also the time of year when people harvest the grapes and bottle the new wine. Naturally we had to stop and sample some of this delicious, fizzy, and very drinkable juice! Along with our white and red new wine we had one of the best baguettes I've had in europe and a special pizza-like concoction called "flammkuchen". Incredible stuff. As we made our way down the river and drank the new wine in the picturesque vineyard it struck me how much I like Germany. The organization, the friendliness, the cleanliness, the geography and landscapes. These are all things that I love and that Belgium doesn't have enough of. Take note, I'm coming back to Germany. 

 Finally, we continued our drive southward and crossed back into France. Our destination for the evening: Strasbourg. 
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