Ten kilometres from our destination, the landscape all around consisted mainly of gently rolling hills and fields – all very pretty, but not what I expected. With less than five to go, we were driving along winding roads through densely forested hilly terrain. We’d seen the odd stream here and there along the route, but hadn’t caught a single sight of anything resembling a navigable river. I was beginning to think that we had taken a wrong turn somewhere, but the sat nav usually knows where it is going. Then all of a sudden, with less than two kilometres to go, we emerged from the woods, and there it was.
For some reason, I had expected the final stage of our journey to take us at least a few kilometres along the banks of the Mosel into the town of Piesport. But it had actually taken us straight in, via the top of the Piesporter Goldtropfchen itself. I have seen many photos of this famous crescent-shaped hillside amphitheatre before, taken from both the top and the bottom, but none of them (least of all one of mine) can really do justice to the magical view that greets you when you emerge from the trees and really see it all for the first time. Straight ahead, the view stretches for several kilometres, with vines clinging to every available square metre of the steep hillside. And a full 200 metres (almost 650 feet) below lies the beautiful village of Piesport, which sits snugly between the Goldtropfchen itself and the banks of the majestic, meandering Mosel.
The stunning view from the top of Piesporter Goldtropfchen
I remember driving towards Chamonix for the first time, a few years ago, and catching a disappointingly fleeting glimpse of the summit of Mont Blanc, through the thick cloud cover. Waking up the following morning and opening the curtains to a cloudless sky and an uninterrupted view of the mountain in all its glory was a sight that will stay in my mind’s eye for as long as I live. And it may seem overly romantic to say so – especially to non-wine geeks – but my first sight of the beautiful Mosel Valley, coming as it did from the very top of one of its most famous vineyards, had exactly the same effect. As a lover of wine, coming to one of the most beautiful wine regions on the planet (which also just happens to make some of the finest white wines on the planet) is like a pilgrimage for me. It really is a very special - and very beautiful - place.
Tomorrow is our wedding anniversary - TLD and I will have been married for 25 years. And I can't think of many better places in which to celebrate such a milestone. Obviously, we have lots of stuff to see and do, so the last thing I should be doing is sitting here typing into a laptop. But I'll tell you lots more about our trip over the next few days. Hopefully, I'll also add some more photos soon - something that either my laptop or Blogger seems reluctant to do at the moment. :-(