The "Happy Mosel" Wine Festival
Each year, the Mosel River Valley enjoys a late spring festival to celebrate the beginning of the new crop of grapes and the fine weather. On one Sunday in June, from mid-morning until early evening, a one hundred mile stretch of road from Cochem to Trier is closed to vehicle traffic, and restricted to cyclists and pedestrians. This is known as the "Happy Mosel", and is a wonderful way to enjoy the Mosel Valley.
Essentially, the 'Happy Mosel' is a day of town-hopping up and down the Mosel. Spread apart every three to six kilometers is a little (or big) town at a river bend, surrounded breathtakingly by tall cliffs with vineyards. The shot below of Ediger is just an example.
Each town has booths set up in its marketplace where one can sample the local wines for only a mark apiece. The sample glasses (only .1 liter) are souvenir items, bearing the winery's name and location. If one paces oneself, one can readily collect a stack of such glasses over the course of the full day.
Of course, there is far more than just wine available. Bratwurst stands are everywhere, as are backerei and conditorei, coffee tents, and other eateries. Some towns have a local specialty that is offered very cheap (such as sauteed mushrooms with a garlic dill cream sauce -- mmmmmmm!)
Also available are bike service stations in case you run into trouble, and road side medics. This is an extremely well-organized event, which makes it that much more enjoyable!
Because of the long distance, even with several thousand participants, the roads are not overly crowded. My group found that we could easily go at our own pace. Whole families were participating -- from kids to senior citizens. It is one of the most enjoyable events around, and if you are in southwest Germany next June, give it a try!
I participated in the "Happy Mosel" on 18 June 2000 -- Page last updated 01 September 2006 -- (C) 2002 Tom Galvin