Experience 2015: Moselle River Barge

20151004_174914A few weeks ago, Cliff and I took a trip on the Moselle River from Metz, France to Cochem, Germany. The river is “Moselle” in French. In Germany, it’s “Mosel.” And it’s beautiful!
Mosel-Radkarte-Metz-bis-Koblenz Kopie

We sailed on the Merlijn, a restored river barge owned and operated by Jantien Wondergen and Henk Karelse. They’re spirited, lovely people who hail from the Netherlands. Jantien and Henk did an incredible job restoring and decorating the boat. You can imagine my delight to spot the above ladies room door within seconds of stepping onto the Merlijn.


The boat has twelve cabins like this one. Plenty of room!.


The bathroom was just right.


Daniela, who is from Romania, keeps the boat shipshape.


Of course I’d heard about river cruises but couldn’t have dreamed just how mystical they are. Your eyes go into overdrive.



We passed cities, towns, castles, churches of every size, and vineyard after vineyard growing riesling grapes.


One day, we took a VERY merry wagon ride into one of those vineyards.


And every night on the boat, Lidia, also Romanian, served us local wines, beers, cocktails, and cordials.



We ate delicious meals in the dining room.


And enjoyed sparking conversations with our fellow travelers. We were fifteen in number, and we became good friends by the time the trip was over. (That wagon ride sure helped!)

The Moselle features a series of locks. Another new experience of 2015. I’d never been through a lock before.


Here’s the view from the porthole in my cabin as we went through a lock. Kinda scary looking.

Our tour planner and guide was Dr. Ken Ostrand, who holds a doctorate in Ancient Studies and was a Fulbright Scholar. Ken knows a lot about a lot but has special expertise in antiquities and medieval religious art. He adores ruins and saints! Ken is leading this trip again in 2018. Here’s the link to our trip, but the next one will be nearly identical.

Ken Ostrand

I was especially pleased by the Barbara Baths, built by the Romans. Women and men bathed on separate days. I bet the ladies had a grand old time. Wonder if some of their discussions included menopause talk? (For those who lived long enough.)

Barbara Baths

I loved this statue of St. Barbara. Let’s hear it for Barbaras! A name no longer trendy, I was pleased to see Barbara had her glory days.


We toured church after church, which was fine with me since I love old churches.

Stained Glass
Small church

Church from Afar

My favorite was the the Cathedral of Our Lady of Luxembourg. I like the expression on the cherub at the bottom of the pillar (At least I think he/she is a cherub).

Our Lady of Luxembourg

And I was drawn to the faces of these women, who stand over a tomb of a king/duke whose name I did not record.


Of course the trip wasn’t all history. We checked out the cafes to sample the beer


and the pastries!


Crumb Streudel

I was on keen alert for ladies room doors.


A cafe in Metz, FranceMetz

The Chocolate House in Luxembourg Square


A museum in Trier, Germany

Close up of Drier Museum Door

And another door whose location I can’t remember. I like that even the simpler doors use varying shapes of women, unlike the U.S., where we tend to use the same  symbol.
Red Lady


This charming picture hangs near the restrooms in a cafe in Bernkastel-Kues, Germany.

This sign lets you know that if you aren’t a customer, you may use the bathroom for fifty cents. Fair enough! I wish establishments in tourist locations in the U.S. would permit this.

20151008_131326The actual door20151008_131336

Ken was pleased to lead me to this door at the Hotel Bellevue, an art nouveau hotel in Trabach, Germany. Ken reports that the door is original to the hotel, making it circa 1903.


The towns are storybook quality.


Window boxes abound.


Eltz Castle is right out of fairy tale too.


And so are the swans that follow the boat.


I miss the new friends I made, exploring intriguing places, and the view from the Merlijn.

Window View

But I was glad to return home with t-shirts for grandson Maze


And my traveling companion.Cliff

15 thoughts on “Experience 2015: Moselle River Barge”

    1. We were off the boat a good part of every day and a few evenings. Mostly dinner is on the boat. You can get off the boat after dinner many nights, but we often just stayed on cause it was so much fun. The sailing is all done in the daytime, so you don’t miss any scenery!

      On Tue, Nov 10, 2015 at 8:24 AM, Friend For The Ride wrote:



  1. Thanks Barbara for this post. Amazing trip, it must have felt like a dream, that you’d like to go on and on! As an aside, my maiden name was Metz…….


  2. Thanks so much for sharing your inspiring trip! What were the picturesque towns really like? We often see travel photos of quaint European villas such as these, and I have wondered, who are the townspeople, what’s it like to really live there? And, what a great wine grape-growing region, the Moselle! How was the vineyard that you ventured out into (in what looks like a “merry” but possibly “bumpy” wagon ride!)? The river cruise looks relaxing, and the views amazing!

    Of all that you experienced, Barbara, if you had to answer the question, “What I loved most about this trip was. . . (fill in the blank), and, what I liked second-most was. . .(fill in the blank), how would you answer? You inspire all of us to take the plunge and travel outside of where we usually find ourselves!


    1. The towns are just how they look. But they are definitely tourist towns to some extent, and so it was hard to get any great sense of modern German culture. But the countryside and the towns are gorgeous, and the views from the boat magnificent.

      What I liked most was the fun of being on the boat and watching three gorgeous countries float by. The boat was wonderful and we loved getting to know Henk and Jantien and Daniela and Lidia. Ken’s lectures were fascinating. I love history. I’m constantly blown away by how old things are in Europe and the gorgeous devotion to detail in all works of art.

      Thanks for asking! Go! You’d love it.


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