Is that it?

The weather is still dry, let’s make the most of it. We pack up and go to do this via ferrata.

I don’t know what to expect from this route. On summit post website, it has been categorised as both ‘moderate’ and ‘easy’.

We retrace our steps on the same road we drove last night.

Today the river looks particularly bright and shiny.

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We didn’t notice the castle last night, it is not even mentioned on our guide, perhaps it is private.

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The plane is so colourful this morning, beautiful view of the clouds clinging low in the horizon.

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The road is still fairly quiet. The sunlight has changed my mood, I feel cheerful and energetic; for the first time in seven days, we are going to be out of Dora for a while.

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I have just realised, today is the first day Autumn. This time last year we were still in the UK, in Lundy Island, enjoying the summer weather, playing letterboxing and snorkelling in the Atlantic! Surprised smile We were excited about the year ahead, we had started our long big holidays; how much we’ve done since, how many experiences we’ve shared, how much this year has brought us together. It has definitely been an opportunity not to be missed.

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We start our via ferrata at 12.00. There are lots of warnings on the information board, usual stuff: you take this path at your own risk, the route must not be taken by an occasional walker…Interestingly, the people in the photo don’t carry any gear. But we have all our gear on. Are we over prepared here?

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This climb may look severe but it ain’t, believe me. It is a very short rock wall, only half dozen stemples to climb

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and you are already at the top of the hill. An over engineered cable goes all the way along the foot path and ends up strongly tied up to the tree. Considering we walk on flat, this structure may be a little bit unnecessary.

Notice however, how those lovely Germans really protect that tree, beautiful engineering. GDR

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From here, we walk

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and walk

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and walk. Gradually we have gained height. The woods suddenly opens up nicely to the valley.

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and we are back to the woods. Was that the via ferrata? I annoyingly ask Gary.

No, there is more to come. Look, Gary reassures me pointing to the German via ferrata sign.

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And we are back in the open.

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No matter how dull the via ferrata may be and how long we have to walk to get to it, being outdoors is quite refreshing.

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It is interesting how rapidly my brain is gradually switching off. It was only two weeks ago when going up to the best yet via ferrata Gary told me how excited he was about coming back to the UK and starting to look for a new job. I didn’t share the same excitement at the time. I was still so much into vie ferrate, travelling and climbing, I wasn’t prepared for my return yet.

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But I am now so ready to go back. Is it because of the bad weather, or because we are getting closer to go back or because we are done with travelling?

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Plus this via ferrata is not challenging me.

A couple in their seventies is waiting for us at the bottom of this ladder. They also have all their equipment on. That is a relief, I felt we were making a fool of ourselves with all this gear on.

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This via ferrata is so easy. You wouldn’t need any special equipment to do it.

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An elongated rail has been provided at the end of this ladder in case you feel exposed or unprotected when you get to the end of it.

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Let’s play with the camera to make the thing a bit more excited.

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And we are back to walking through the woods

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still with intermittent sections of stemples

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and finally we get to the end. It has taken us one and a half hours, two thirds of it has been on footpaths. That is a bit deceitful calling this thing a via ferrata. Germans have lots to learn from Italians and French. Perhaps, I am being a bit harsh here, or perhaps I feel a bit disappointed.

This chair lift runs from the start of the route and it only costs €4. A big difference from the €54 that Swiss have occasionally asked on some of theirs.

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I test myself on my tree knowledge. Are these peach trees? They seem so by the look of their leaves and their fruit. I must learn this stuff as part of our big plans, but this will be for another  post.

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We get back to Dora and sadly, we put our via ferrata gear away for good, until next year.

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For the third time, we drive to the start of the Mosel valley.

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And it is now when we have the opportunity to appreciate the beauty of the hillsides covered in vines.

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The scale of the fields is absolutely stunning.

We have seen this system of picking up grapes before, in the Italian coast of Cinqueterre. I bet Gary wants to install it for our future vines. It would be fun.

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Anywhere you look, the hillsides are covered with this amazing plant, which produces such an amazing drink.

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It would have been interesting to do a wine tour around this area, we should have thought about it before. A bit too late now. We have a schedule to meet, we have to be in Calais in three days time.

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The valley is popular among retired German motorhomers. Aires are packed, the towns and wine shops are busy, everybody is making the most of the sun.

The drive along the Mosel valley is lovely, I really recommend it. The landscape doesn’t vary much but there are plenty of places to stop, have a drink, getting to know the wines produced in this region, etc.

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Our next stop is Triers, Germany’s oldest city and the only Roman imperial residence north of the Alps. Our guide suggests a couple of aires we can stay. They are both outside town, one in front of each other. One is a proper aire, with all the facilities, including electricity, for €9 per day. Is there any place for us?

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The other is the McDonalds’ car park, with space for 10 motorhomes but only 5 are currently using it. Water is free and so is Wi-Fi if you get close enough Winking smile So guess which one we choose?

It is 17.00 when we arrive at McDonalds, a bit early for settling in for the night. Trier must not be that big, so we pick up a bus to the town centre to do a bit of sightseeing.

The bus leaves us in the Porta Nigra, the world’s best preserved roman city gate (2nd century AD). How many times have we heard this before? The best of…, the highest of, the most challenging of…, the most dangerous of… Every country competes for having the most impressive things to offer. The reality is that the most globalised this world is, the more we travel, the more we see, the more unmoved we become to new things. It will become more and more difficult for countries to be different.

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The tourist information office suggests that at this time of the day and with only an hour, we could go to the square and walk down the pedestrian high street.

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We didn’t get in time to see the cathedral. They closed one minute ago. What have we missed? the most (again) precious relic: the Holy Robe (the tunic of Christ).  I am sure we can live without it.

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Next to the cathedral there is the Liebfrauenkirche (Church of our lady), the earliest gothic church in Germany.

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Trier is actually a fairly big town, but also quiet, calm and relaxed. But we have noticed that the pace of life in both big and small towns in Germany does not differ much.

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They both look wealthy; buildings are well looked after, there is no rubbish on the streets and the countryside.

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Every one is busy, there are no people hanging around with nothing to do. People portray a high degree of good behaviour. Germany is the vivid example of a civilized country.

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Trier is also Karl Marx’s birth place. A museum on his life and his work has been built in the home he was born. According to our guide, thousands of Chinese people visit this place every year. This is not such an impressive fact. There are millions of Chinese people in this world. They are becoming richer and therefore, they travel more and they always travel in big groups. You are bound to see lots of them every where you go.

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Dora is only 45 minutes walk, it is not worth getting the bus. We can walk along the river.

The promenade is busy with people running and fast walking. Watching them is good fun. Some of them run so slow, you wonder whether it is actually worth it. A woman pretends to fast walk with her daughter next to her; the girl seems to go at a faster pace than her and she is only walking.

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We get back to Dora at 19.30. Before we get on with a bit of IT, we make the most of the free water and de-scale her heater, as part of preparing her for sale. An Australian motorhomer approaches us to see what we are doing.

He is quite nice and friendly. He is also a motorhomer back in Australia and he has now undertaken the adventure of travelling around Europe for six months. In his winter clothes, he complains about how cold this continent is: ‘in Australia, you travel in T-shirts and shorts all year around’ he says. We share tips and experiences: we reassured him that Spain is a safe place to travel with a motorhome and he warns us that Norway is even more expensive than Switzerland. That can’t be possible.

We say good-bye to each other and get on with dinner straightaway. Too late for IT tonight.



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