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The Mosel River Valley is known for its peaceful, meandering river flanked by enchanting forests, steep vineyards and storybook villages crowned with castles.

Among the most well-known towns along the Mosel are Cochem and Bernkastel-Kues, but Traben-Trarbach should not be overlooked as it is every bit as charming without the congestion.

Straddling a giant ribbon-like bend in the Mosel River, this “double town” — connected by a pedestrian-friendly bridge — is comfortably tucked in among precipitous vineyards and alluring woods.

Beat the crowds by visiting Traben-Trarbach in spring or early summer. This is when the grape vines begin to sprout, the trees and flowers bloom, and the water changes from a silty brown to a deep blue as the weather warms.

The hospitality of Traben-Trarbach’s inhabitants equals the spirit of their surroundings.

In mid-April, I had the pleasure of spending a day in Traben-Trarbach and was amazed by the graciousness of the townsfolk I met along my Middle Mosel adventure.

The only plans I had were to make a picture of the giant bend in the river and to try to get a couple of good photos at dusk; anything else I managed to find would be gravy, I thought.

Before I knew it, I was swimming in gravy. Throughout the course of my day I chatted with winemakers Peter Storck and his son-in-law, Julius Berger, as they worked one of their vineyards. I hiked through the forests high above the town and achieved the vantage point I had hoped for. Amid the ruins of the Grevenburg castle, I ate lunch in a fantastic tavern featuring a garden, excellent food and a splendid view of its own.

After lunch, I sampled wine from the Storck winery and toured its wine cellar. I strolled through the town and admired the many examples of Art Nouveau architecture.

The Brückentor, the symbol of Traben-Trarbach and the only remaining part of the original bridge built around 1899, now houses a wine tavern where I was invited to sit with local winemakers at their Stammtisch, a table reserved for regular customers.

I had a nice dinner at the Storcke Stütz, a tavern in what was once the wine cellar for the Grevenburg castle.

I found my way into another local watering hole and met, yet again, another friendly winemaker, Dieter Emert, one of eight generations to make wine in Traben-Trarbach over the years. Emert then put the exclamation point on my already great day by giving me a private tour of his family’s giant wine cellar and wine museum that happens to be part of Traben-Trarbach’s “Unterwelt,” or “underworld.” The underworld is a series of giant vaulted wine cellars unique to this Mosel community.

I spent an entire day in Traben-Trarbach and had an amazing time, yet I only scratched the surface of what this historical city has to offer.

DIRECTIONS:Traben-Trarbach is about an hour and 20 minutes from Ramstein Air Base. From the air base, take the A62 autobahn toward Trier for about 22 miles, then take Exit 4-Birkenfeld. Drive through Birkenfeld on B269 toward Morbach and Bernkastel-Kues. After Morbach, turn right onto B327 and follow the signs to Traben-Trarbach.

COSTS:Tours of Traben-Trarbach’s wine cellar underworld are given at 6 p.m. every last Friday of the month. The 90-minute tour costs 6 euros, which includes a glass of wine.

FOOD: Below are websites for some suggested restaurants:

Burgshenke Grevenburg, die-grevenburg.de

Brückentor, bruecken-schenke.de/en/

Storcke Stütz Restaurant, storcke-stuetz.de

INFORMATION:Traben-Trarbach’s website, traben-trarbach.de, offers information in English of the many sites the city has to offer.


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