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


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. 


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

Next stop Alsace, France

Jasper Ski Trip

We are driving home from Jasper, taking in the scenery with sun-kissed (burnt) cheeks and tired legs.  We survived our first trip with a puppy and our second trip to Marmot Basin https://www.skimarmot.com/ this season.  It is wonderful living in Edmonton, so close to the mountains.  I missed the outdoors when I lived in NYC.  I spent a lot of time in Central Park and was grateful to have that sanctuary so close to escape the craziness of the city.  The north end of the park was peaceful, but even in the middle of winter I was sharing the park with other runners, bikers, strollers, and tourists.  In my last couple years I ventured upstate NY and did some beautiful hikes in Rhinebeck, Mt. Beacon, and Bear Mountain.  But, I always missed home, the coastline of Vancouver Island and the Rocky Mountains, which are some of the most majestic and beautiful places I have ever been. 

Growing up I was fortunate enough to go on family ski trips, mostly to Mt. Washington Alpine Resort-https://www.mountwashington.ca/.  As a teenager and in my early 20’s I continued to ski and snowboard with friends and family.  For the past twelve years the focus of my life has been school and work and I gave up a lot of my hobbies.  Living in Ottawa, Toronto, and NYC, I didn’t have a ski hill in my backyard and did not have the time and/or resources to go on ski trips.  One of my current goals is to figure out what my interests and hobbies are now.  I feel like a lost some of myself over the past few years, and with more time to enjoy life I want to figure out what it is that I enjoy.

With ski hills so close, I thought I would try skiing again, but was not sure if it was something that I would still enjoy.  Bradley is a skier and was enthusiastic about planning some trips.  For Christmas he got us Sunshine Super Cards. The Card is $100 and grants you a free full-day lift ticket on the 1st, 4th, and 7th day that you ski and $15-$25 off every other day at Sunshine Village, Marmot Basin, Revelstoke Mountain Resort and Castle Mountain Resort.

I have been lucky enough to spend a fair amount of time in Jasper, Banff, and Lake Louise over the years and always look forward to my next trip.  We went to Marmot for the first time in January and skied for two days.  It was cold, -15 degrees Celsius, but aside from cold hands I picked skiing back up pretty quickly and we had a good time.  Marmot is a good hill for testing out your abilities and interest again, the mountain offers a range of runs from easy and groomed to double black diamonds, including the new Tres Hombres face, that are steep and mogully.  Jasper is a 30-minute drive from Marmot base and a charming, albeit expensive, little mountain town to stay in for a ski weekend. 


Jasper has around 10 hotels/motels in town that are similarly priced (usually starting approximately $150/night during ski season), and similarly equipped.  These are typical no-fuss ski motels.  They are clean and comfortable enough, but are a bit run down, and do not have many extra comforts.  We have stayed at the Tonquin Inn http://decorehotels.com/tonquininn/ and Marmot Lodge https://mpljasper.com/.   Both have pet friendly options. The other option is the Jasper Park Lodge (JPL) https://www.fairmont.com/jasper/.  As with most Fairmont Hotels, JPL is a beautiful resort with all the amenities you need.  However, it is expensive, starting at $300/night.  When you are already spending so much on travel, food, lift tickets, gear, etc, and will be on the hill all day, it is hard to justify spending that amount of money on a place to sleep.  If you want to splurge, this is the place to go.   

Marmot Lodge with my new travel companion


Jasper Brewing Company

We like to pop into the Jasper Brewing Co – https://jasperbrewingco.ca/ when we get into town for a casual and reasonably priced late dinner and a pint of their locally brewed beer.  I am a fan of their 6060 Stout and Fire Engine Red Ale.  Although, I was slightly disappointed with my burger on this trip, it appeared to be some sort of pre-made/frozen burger patty and not homemade like last time.  We always go to CoCo’s Café http://cocoscafe.ca/.  This is our go-to place when we are driving through Jasper en route somewhere else and it is also where we like to go when we are staying in town for a good cup of coffee and a snack.  CoCo’s is small and busy so can be slow. 

Head to Evil Dave’s for an après ski dinner – https://evildavesgrill.com/.  We had multiple appetizers; the Chinese lettuce wraps were delicious! Three of us had the beef tenderloin ordered medium rare.  Two were cooked perfectly, one was overdone, but they were nice cuts of meat.  We shared the dessert trio, a small sample of all three desserts, it was great way to try a bit of everything.  The quality food is coupled with good service and a nice atmosphere.  If you are looking for a more upscale place to have dinner I would recommend heading here.

We will definitely go back to Jasper to ski Marmot next year, but also hope to try out some other hills in the area.  It is important to take time to do things you love with people you love and I am grateful that I am having these opportunities 🙂