Exploring the Moselle Germany – hiking, biking, and wine

After spending a few days in Munich and Stuttgart the country was a welcome change of pace.  Munich is a great city to visit. Its historical sights and Porsche Factory tour in Stuttgart were highlights, but we did not start to unwind and hit full vacation-mode until we arrived in Piesport.  The German countryside is beautiful: lush green farm land, rolling hills, canola fields in bloom, winding rivers, and small towns with quaint churches litter the hillside.  We came to the Moselle in the hopes of rejuvenating in a peaceful environment while hiking, biking, and of course, tasting all the local wines!  We were not disappointed.

Piesport is a small and very quiet town located on the Moselle in between Trier and Bernkastel-Kues.  It is approximately a 5 hour drive from Munich.  The entire area is beautiful. We chose Piesport because we found an Airbnb we liked there, but all of the towns are equally picturesque.  There is an abundance of biking and hiking trails in the area. The challenge for us was picking which trails to cover when we only had a couple days.  

View of Piesport from the vineyards on the hillside
View of Mosselle countryside

Biking:

Bike path along the Moselle

I wanted to see Bernkastel-Kues as it was recommended by a friend. On our first day we rented bikes from Rad Tour Mosel – http://radtourmosel.com/  (€10 per bike) and set off on the 19km ride from Piesport to Bernkastel.  There are bike paths along both sides of the Moselle that are very well marked, the north-side requires that you ride on the road for part of the way which was a little scary (European roads are very narrow).  It took us about 1.5 hours each way.  The path goes along the river, past vineyards and open fields, and through little towns. 

Bernkastel-Kues was bustling with activity.  It was surprising given how quiet all the surrounding towns were; there were tourists everywhere!  That being said, it also had much more to offer; hotels, restaurants, and shops.  We did not go up to the castle, but we had a nice lunch overlooking the river and the castle on the hillside and strolled through town afterwards. 

Hiking:

Moselsteig Seitensprung Graf Georg Johannes Weg

Choosing a hiking trail was even more of a challenge. I ultimately left it up to Bradley to decide based on our criteria – intermediate to difficult trail, at least 3 hours, and some sights along the way.  The Moselsteig trail runs along the Moselle River for 365 kilometers and you can hike from town to town  [http://entest.moselsteig.de/the-moselsteig-trail-legs/].  We wanted a loop so opted for one of the “side trails and dream paths” – Moselsteig Seitensprung Graf Georg Johannes Weg [http://entest.moselsteig.de/moselsteig-side-trails-dream-paths/tour/moselsteig-seitensprung-graf-georg-johannes/alpstein.html].  This trail is medium difficultly, 14km, 600m elevation, and is estimated to take 5 hours.  It was one of the best hikes I have ever done.

The end of the trail, heading back into town

You start and end in the town Veldenz.  We did not think it would take us the full 5 hours as I tend to keep the pace up while Bradley grumbles behind me ;).  But this trail was so beautiful that we were constantly stopping to take in the scenery and snap photos.  The trail was wide, clear, and very well marked. There were numerous benches, viewpoints, and picnic tables along the trail. 

The trail takes you through a bit of everything: dense forests, wide open fields, beautiful viewpoints overlooking the countryside and the historic castle Schloss Veldenz, and flowing streams, or babbling brooks as Bradley describes them.  The trail takes you around Schloss Veldenz, which you can visit at certain times.  The trail was well shaded by trees but plenty of sunlight danced through the branches.  There was an awesome surprise at kilometer 15 of our 16km walk (we took a couple detours so ultimately walked 16km).  At this point in our hike Bradley’s whinging was intensifying and he was “about done with the elevation changes.” We came upon on opening where there was a cupboard filled with .25L wine bottles (red, white, and sparking) and wine glasses. A bottle of wine was €3 and there were benches and chairs set up overlooking a beautiful view where you could sit and enjoy a glass or two.  The last pleasant touch was guestbook at the end of the trail.   

Where we stayed:

We found a great AirBnB at Reuscher-Haart winery for $75CAD/night [http://www.weingut-reuscher-haart.de/index.php/en/apartments/2018-11-28-11-41-26].  The apartment was spacious, clean, comfortable, and had a fully equipped kitchen that allowed us to take a break from eating out.  We also enjoyed a couple of their dry Rieslings.  I have never been a fan of Riesling as I thought it was too sweet, but I learned a bit more about it on this trip and found some dry Rieslings that were very easy to drink 🙂

Reuscher-Haart, Piesport
Prost!

Next stop Alsace, France

V&B Workout Plan

V&B WORKOUT PLAN OVERVIEW:

Bradley and I created a plan that attempts to meet both of our interests and goals.  In creating this plan our primary goals were:

  1. Strength building
  2. Cardiovascular training/maintenance
  3. Stretching and muscle recovery
  4. Efficiency to reduce time spent in the gym each day

The plan is a four-day split

  1. Lower Body
  2. Upper Body Pull
  3. Upper Body Push
  4. Full Body

Plus 2 Cyclebar spin classes and 1 yoga class

WEIGHT LIFTING ROUTINE:

BB=Barbell, DB=Dumbbell, R=Rep

V&B WORKOUT PLAN UPDATE:

We are three weeks into this plan and so far, things kinda went to sh*t.  As I write this I am struggling to remember what the heck we even did.  Getting a new puppy the week before embarking on a new fitness routine may have been ambitious!  Sorting out our new schedule to ensure we are home with the puppy multiple times a day has been trying.  Housebreaking, training, and feeding, coupled with unexpected vet visits, house guests, unusually long work hours, travel, and dance classes threw a very large wrench in our plans.  As lovingly pointed out by my Dad over the weekend, this also resulted in some pretty dark eye circles 🙂  Add to that quite a few dinners out, too many bottles of wine (if there is such a thing), and lots of treats, we are not on track to accurately report the effectiveness of this plan in meeting our goals.

It is hard not to be disappointed when I do not meet my goals, especially if I am missing workouts for work!  I am making a conscious effort to prioritize other aspects of my life that bring me joy and not let work dominate.  It is much easier to swallow when I miss workouts to spend time with friends and family or to take care of our adorable new puppy.  I realize life is too short to beat myself up about it.  There are only so many hours in a day.

So, what did we manage to do:

Week 1 (March 4-10):

The first week I completed three of four lifting sessions, pull, push, and lower, one Cyclebar class, and did not make it to a yoga class.  This week ended up being a bit of a trial run as we realized there were a few kinks in our initial plan that we ironed out.  For example, I am not a fan of cable machines.  I find them awkward and challenging to target the right muscles.  This probably means I need to do them more to improve, but if we have a day filled with cables, I get frustrated (sorry B).  Initially our push day had three cable machine exercises so I made the executive decision to swap cable lateral raises with dumbbell lateral raises.  Aside from the minor tweaks, we were happy with the plan.  We are targeting each muscle group and are pretty wiped after each session.  The routine on average took 1 hour a day, including a 5-minute warmup.  One consideration in creating this plan was efficiency.  I enjoy the gym, but when our routines get too long, I get antsy. 

Week 2 (March 11-17):

Week two I also only completed three of four lifting sessions, full body, pull, and lower.  I did not make it to a Cyclebar or yoga class.  This week was challenging because we had houseguests and I travelled home to Vancouver Island for a few days.  Ordinarily when I travel I squeeze in some workouts, but on this trip I was sitting on the porch drinking gin and tonics 😉 I wish… I actually locked myself in my Dad’s basement to cry with my sister while sorting through childhood belongings.

Week 3 (March 18-24):

Week three started when I was still on the island. I squeezed in a 5-mile run, but I did not make it to the gym when I was there.  When I got back to Edmonton, we were dealing with a sick puppy all week and had company over the weekend.  I only completed two of four lifting sessions, push and full, and went to one Cyclebar class.  

The reality is, our schedule is not opening up in the next few weeks.  When we created this plan we were going to the gym 6-7 times a week and it seemed feasible.  This is not the first time our schedule has been hectic and interrupted workouts and it surely will not be the last.  At the end of the day, fitting in 3-4 workouts a week is pretty good.  Depending on how the next few weeks unfold, we may have to give this another shot when things mellow out so we can really track how effective it is.  For now, we will keep at it as best we can and are grateful that we are happy, healthy, and exhausted 🙂

I can’t be mad at this adorable face for taking up some of our time!