1970: May 25, Gillenfeld

Awoke late (for camping i.e. 7.45 ish) to a rather dubious day which quickly opened out into another fine hot one. All able to wear light clothes, eat breakfast out of doors and generally enjoy ourselves.

Drove into Cochem where we were able to park in a shady place, handy for shops and river, and then nearly went mad trying to locate a bank (very necessary by this time). Eventually found a large and very modern one, but it was the only one we saw, which seems very strange. Cochem has narrow winding streets, some nice fountains and a small square in the middle and a spectacular castle perched high on a rocky pinnacle and the vine covered slopes of the Mosel all around. Needless to say it also has numerous hotels and wine shops and enticing shops suitable to a tourist centre. Our 3 were lured into one of the last named and purchased an elephant (Gareth), a bright yellow rabbit (Andrew) and a cream rabbit (Sarah) from the same factory as Cuddles, Tommy and Bobby [teddies].  We bought some delicious looking smoked halibut and cooked chicken from a spotless shop full of appetising food, sauntered round a supermarket – one can get really nice wines for 5/- to 6/- a bottle! and then to a wine shop where David pounced on a superior wine to take home. We then all had a drink – big glasses for us, 1/2 size for the children, of local wine in a cafe overlooking the river. All enjoyed this, especially the youngest member… then ate our lunch (the cooked chicken, tomatoes, rolls, wine and apples) in some useful gardens along the river.

Gareth by now rather tight, lurching around and very cross! At 2.00 went on a 1-hour Mosel cruise which was very pleasant – the river winds a great deal and the banks are covered with vines in every conceivable spot. the town spreads along the narrow flood plain with road and railway crammed in alongside the river (steam engines pull goods trains, diesel passengers). The river is busy with tourist boats and barges. We saw one monster loan, 2 very wide 2,500 ton barges joined together. We also saw barges with long lines of flapping washing and another two with cars on for use in port! Anyway the cruise was a great success and we then had another stroll round the shops, this time visiting a very nice one with some super jewellery, I particularly like a silver brooch reminiscent of the moon’s surface (around £5), a magnificent necklace in silver with pendant and a silver and rose quartz pendant. However, we did in fact buy a very attractive glass picture of fishes swimming in the seas, as our holiday souvenir, approved of by all (which is more than any of the jewellery would have been!).

We drove home very pleased with our day, and in the case of Gareth, very tired. In fact he was so cantankerous he had one of the earliest nights on record. After Andrew and Sarah had gone to bed, David and I ate smoked fish, salad, wine and strawberries – delicious – and strolled round the camp site. It’s very well laid out, and the wooden cabins are nice, the newest ones especially so with bunk beds, and double beds, fridge and two-ringed cooker. £10 per week in low season, £16 in the high season and all booked from beginning of June. What we’ve liked especially has been the peace here – splendid rolling views, birds singing and hardly anyone here. (Only irritation noise really is the aircraft from some nearby base, and sometimes the traffic on the main road.)

34 miles


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