Deciding how to spend summer leave this year was a bit of a pickle. We- the husband and I- suggested and rejected ideas and destinations one after another. Didn’t want to fly. Didn’t want to drive too far, either. Came back to flying, looked at Spain, Italy… then came the Lucifer heatwave. Far too much the English roses for that sort of thing. Eventually, we did what any responsible parents would do and asked the kids what they fancied. The reply? Countryside camping. My heart sank. I am not a happy camper. I like clean, I like room service and mini bars, daily housekeeping and a spa tub. The task of finding this countryside camping holiday fell to me. Whilst googling and researching I stumbled upon Canvas Holidays. I discovered they offered Glamping in the Moselle region (famous for wine and stunning countryside) and before you could say “I can be outdoorsy if there’s wine involved, actually” we were booked up. Car loaded, off we set.
Named after the river that flows through the area, the Moselle region is stunning . Outdoorsy or not, you cannot fail to be awed by the pretty towns, rolling hills and mile after mile of neatly laid out vines. Our campsite was perfectly located on a high plateau affording us river, valley and vineyard views alongside some great family friendly facilities. After spending our first day getting competitive at mini golf, swimming and exploring the green space around the campsite we decided it was time to get up close and personal with some of the views we’d enjoyed from the road on the way in. We were at the top of the hill, the pretty little town of Saarburg was at the bottom, the route was via the vineyards and fed into a self guided walk around the town. Plan, sorted. Once again, off we went.
The descent down the hillside took us through the vineyards. Row after row of grape vines neatly laid out and every so often there is a sign to denote which vineyard they belong too. We were all fascinated by the curling stems and bunches of grapes at different stages ,so different from anything we have seen before. When buying wine now, I will think of those vines and just how much goes into producing it.
Once we reached the bottom of the hill, it was time to climb up once again to the remains of the Saarburg castle . Dating from 964, the castle was built by Graf Siegfried Von Luxembourg who also began the construction of the Casemates Du Bock in Luxembourg City. Today, it is a charming ruin and pleasant place to rest and soak up the views. It is also home to lots of tiny lizards and although I wasn’t quick enough to catch one, or even a picture, we did enjoy spotting them. Until the kids started bickering over which lizard belonged to who. Magic broken, we pressed on into town.
Saarburg has a long and colourful history and you can trace it whilst walking the self guided Saarburg Round Tour. Many aspects of Medieval Saarburg can still be seen. In later years the town built its wealth via the mills and the bell foundry. The mills were fed by the Leuk, a waterway that dissects the town and feeds into a 20ft waterfall in centre. As well as traces of the towns industrial and medieval past, there are traces of darker times. We spotted several Stolpersteine .
The centre of town is affectionately called Little Venice. Never been to Venice so I can’t say if this is justified or not, but I can say that the pavement cafes, ice cream shops and pots filled with geraniums and fig trees made for a very pleasant, Mediterranean atmosphere. Very different to other parts of Germany, that’s for sure.
Despite a rest and an ice cream, none of us felt quite up to walking all the way back up the hill. Luckily, we didn’t have to. Some genius has installed a chair lift that takes you smoothly from the town right back up the edge of the campsite. Not only did this cut out the walk, it was also the height of adventure for the kids. Oh, alright, for me too.
And as well as discovering a new town, a new region and a thing or two about wines of the Moselle on this trip, I also discovered that camping can be fun. A well equipped, ready-to-use tent and good campsite means you just have to turn up and enjoy. Its social, people say good morning and make conversation. Kids of all ages seem to find ways to play and communicate, even if they don’t speak the same language. Camping is great for children, to develop social and team work skills. Everyone has to pitch in and work together. And above all, its fun! I’ll raise a glass to that!