Our last day on the Mosel we rode upriver to visit Thurant Castle. On the way we stopped to check out the lavender fields and bee hotels. As you can see, they are not too paranoid about separateing trains from cyclists... Freight and passenger trains streak through every 10 minutes and no one pays much attention. Rail lines make perfect trail corridors but US trains refuse to give right of way. There are a few "rail with trail" arrangements in the US and there has never been an accident, but they remain immovable.
Like all the river castles, the fortified Castle Thurant is a long way up - especially when you make a few wrong turns and false approaches and have to back down & start up again. But we finally made it. It's really an interesting castle, built by Count Palatine in 1200 - but he only got to own it for 46 years before the Holy Roman Empire decided the location was too desirable to belong to anyone else, so they conquered it. Then the Archbishops of Koln and Trier both wanted it so they split it down the middle and built a 12 foot thick wall to on the theory of "good fences make good neighbors". It even has two keeps (towers) and two manor houses and two dungeons... two of everything. It's been privately owned and partially restored since 1910. You can actually rent an apartment and stay in the castle! Maybe we'll come back. Actually we WILL be back in about a month, but we'll be staying on a river boat so the castle stay will have to wait.
I was having such a great time touring the castle that we overstayed and by the time we were ready to begin our descent the wind was blowing & huge black rain clouds were bearing down on us. We raced to the bottom at breakneck speeds, riding the brakes to stay under 28KM on the curves, and pulled up in front of our favorite bakery just as the storm broke loose... we managed to duck inside without getting totally drenched before the full horizontal force of the storm raged through. It only lasted long enough for our leisurely bier und apfel kuchen break - so perfect timing! When we passed the lock yesterday, the water level was about 5 feet below the level of the spillway... after the deluge it was surging over the top.
Our shopping timing, however, was leider NICHT SO GUT! Today was meant to be our day to stock up on the lovely Mosel wines. Most people like the Rieslings, but our favorites are the Weisser Burgunder and Grau Burgunder Trockens (dry Pino Blanc & Gris) and they are easily acquired for just a couple of euros. But it turned out to be Corpus Christi Day (who knew?) so all the stores were closed. So was our favorite Mosel Terrace restaurant, but we had a good dinner in the town square.