Today I present you… Cochem! This little town is located in the district of Rhineland-Palatinate, in the west half of Germany and relatively close of Luxembourg and Belgium.
Cochem is a TINY town, destination of plenty of national tourism but rarely visited by foreigners. Even though its size, it is possible to get there by train from any close city (Cologne, Koblenz, even Heidelberg). German trains are amazing!
I discovered this little beauty thanks to a castle, abbeys, palaces and so, guide that I borrowed from a coworker (“Time to Travel / Travel in Time“), if you are ever interested in finding the cutest and nicest palaces in Germany, go for it, it is really good.
I remember the exact moment when I got to the train station and thought “Where the hell am I ending up today?”. I’ll admit that my route planning had taken me to some interesting (and sometimes deserted) places, so I was expecting any posibility. In that case, it was Sunday, around 9am and there was no one on the train station, on the streets nearby or basically anywhere. The train line that arrives there follows the river Mosel (ergo Cochem an der Mosel) and the station was next to a beautiful walk following the riverside. The Mosel is beautiful, plenty of ships cruise their waters daily, and their sorroundings are basically neverending green wineyards. So, after I left the train station I decided to go to the promenade and take a wild guess and go right hoping to find the city centre (and I was lucky!). Over there, I found some guys cycling that confirmed that I was on the right way and to not worry, that I was not in a ghost city, only the train station was quite far away from the actual town.
Like that, with a relaxed rythm, twenty minutes later you can reach the town centre and the bus station. There, it is also possible to find some lockers to leave the luggage in case of carrying it along.
In the centre of the town, there’s a beautiful and quite ornamented fountain worth a picture, though the best of the square are the surrounding buildings: typical façades of different vibrant tones with beams in darker colours and flowers in each one of the balconies providing even more sparks to the already amazing square.
The streets of Cochem are somewhere worth getting lost in. It is possible to spend hours just walking by the river, enjoying of the dozens of wineries or just tasting one of their most typical sweets in some of their pastisseries… Though, in my opinion, the best part of that town is its castle.
The Castle of Cochem
The Castle Reichsburg Cochem is a castle quite special. Its location is unbeatable: in the top of the hill facing a valley with views to both sides of the river. This strategic location was the main reason why this castle was embattled in multiple occasions. Its history begins at some point around the 1000aC. Ever since, this beautiful castle was invaded by the barbarians, destroyed by the French and finally rebuild by a local noble with a “special” taste. The outside of the castle was rebuilt following the (supposed) original design, though the interiors are clearly from the end of the 18th century or beginning of the 19th. Less than twenty years ago, the town itself bought the castle and started its last restoration aiming to a attract more tourism to the zone (and it worked!). I have been there a couple of times and even though both guides were good, the first one was beyond amazing. He spoke about eight languages, he knew plenty of curious details about the castle (like a secret door or the drunks lock), and… he was very funny! The entry to the castle is quite cheap (around 5€ if it is not on the festival weekend and around 2€ if it is). Ah! since the castle is public, you are allowed to take as many pictures as you feel capable of!
So, what’s this festival I have just told you about? Well, sometimes I am just a lucky person! I arrived to August the first weekend of the month and when I was about to get to the castle I saw a sign welcoming me to the festival. It turns out that every first weekend of August they do this Medieval Festival with music, entertainment and some shops with homemade goods (jewels, spirits – omg the honey wine -, sweets…). The whole castle is decorated with flowers and every person from the town dress up and help you join the party. Even though it is a very touristic experience, I enjoyed it quite a bit and returned there the year after my first visit. During the whole day there are plenty of activities, from sword fighting to children dancing or some bands just playing this funny music that want you to just start jumping around and join the dance.
Let me know if you are visiting or if you want some advice about the region!