Day 3: Trittenheim – Trier
After an early start in Trittenheim and a fine German breakfast of cured ham, rye bread and local cheese, I was back cycling amongst the Mosselles Valleys unique landscape. In the cool, quiet mornings the region is at its most beautiful, and I made good time past the hypnotic lines of the vineyards.
As the day began and the sun appeared from behind the steep slopes of valley, the terraces came to life. Men sprayed their crop to protect them from fungus and tractors ran up and down the lines between the vines, sending clouds of spray into the air like passing steam trains.
My destination today was the ancient Roman city of Trier, and cycling towards this historic city I was joined by others enjoying the cycle lanes that connect the cities and villages that dot the river.
It’s not just cyclist who make the most of the peaceful river. Its well-kept towpaths were enjoyed by joggers who ran past me. Pleasure boats journeyed up and down stream, rowers powered their skulls mechanically across the surface and local fishermen sat patiently on the riverbanks waiting for a bite.
By mid morning, with the sun high in the sky, the cycling became hot hard work. Still 25 km short of Trier it was times for a break. Joining some lively fishermen I was treated to a cold stein of– punchy local cider. Veiz, or Apfelwein makes a fine substitute to the all the wine Ide been sipping and sitting on the riverbank I made the most of a half hour out of the saddle.
Wallowing in a blissful Veiz-induced haze , the shouts and cat calls of the fishermen forced me to my feet. An eel had taken the bait and after a long fight its golden snake like body was hauled ashore. Gutted on the spot the fishermen’s excitement left me in no doubt it would taste delicious, but sadly my lunch was waiting for me in Trier. Trier is Germany’s oldest city. Home to the Roman emperors, in 16bc Emperor Augustus realized the strategic position of its location and set about planning and building a massive city what was to become the capital of Gaul. The Romans advanced city planning can still be seen in today’s city layout, and no more so than the vast Porta Negra (black gate) that welcomed me into Trier.
Taking in a fascinating city tour, it became clear the whole regions rich history began here in Trier. The Romans, not only brought city planning, sewers and baths to Trier they also brought the wine. The process of transporting fragile amperes of wine from France was too costly and so the Mosselle’s first vines were planted by Roman vintners on the sunny slopes that surround Trier. The rest is history.
After a visit to the remarkable Roman basilica that perfectly represented the power and organization of the Roman Empire at its height, it was time to taste some Roman food at famed restaurant Zum Domstein. Sitting in front of the Romanesque cathedral I dined on Roman fare from the recipes of famed gourmet Marcus Gavius Apicus. Piscus assus (fried fish fillet in fish sauce with herbs, wine and honey) was followed by a pear baked with egg in wine, herbs and honey. Salute!
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