Friday, August 24, 2007

Mosel Valley Skating

It was a tag team approach this year as we checked out the Mosel Valley for our new Skating Adventure. Zephyr's German guide Sabine, based in Switzerland, visited the area in May to see if it was a suitable tour location. I then followed up last month to set up the details.

The Mosel Valley, created by the Mosel River, actually starts in France, runs along Luxembourg, and then heads into Germany. It is known as a vacation area, for its wines, and more recently for the 535.5 kilometers of paved trail running along both sides of the river!

I must say, Sabine and her family got the best of this deal. Sabine, her fiancée Christian (who also guides for Zephyr), and her daughter Luisa made a skating vacation of their trip to the Mosel in May. And skating is pretty much what they did. I'll let Sabine explain it to you, in her typical email fashion:

"We had 5 days of great skating! We were skating every day. Luisa was skating around 200km, and take a day off. She was a good exemple, like a typical Zephyr Tourist… ( her speed, and how often she wand to take a time out). We were skating around 250km.Very nice scenery. The streets are all to skate. Most of them are very good. The towns are nice and some of them are really beautiful. The people were very friendly! It’s a good place for a Zephyr tour!"

Since Sabine had already checked out the skating, my girlfriend Devon and I were left with the organizational details! We checked out hotels, restaurants, transportation options - and of course got in some skating, too.

The Mosel Valley is beautiful. The river has cut a path through the hills, so both banks of the river rise up above the valley floor. Wine has become a major industry in the area and vineyards cover both banks for much of the valley's length. Cute German towns are spaced about 5-10 kilometers apart, making for nice destinations on the routes.

I think three unique items make this a wonderful skate tour. First, the Germans have done an amazing job at creating the paths that line the river. For much of the time, the trails are separate bike paths that run through fields or vineyards. Sometimes the paths are small side roads and at other times they are simply marked lanes on the side of a road. The nice thing is that with a trail on both sides of the river, we use the many bridges to cross back and forth so we can pick the best skating surfaces the whole way.

The second thing I really like about this trip are the "shuttling" options. Because we will essentially skate or bike in a linear path along the river from France to Germany (neither the river nor the trails are at all straight), the Long Routes each day will go from hotel to hotel. That means the Short and Medium Routes will require a shuttle. But instead of simply having a van shuttle, we use a combination of our van, the local train system, and ferry boats that ply the river to get people to and from the best skating parts of each day. It really adds a nice cultural twist to the tour.

Finally, I love that this tour involves three countries. We meet you in Thionville, France and spend the first night in Remich, Luxembourg before heading into Germany. It is a great mix - and if you like wine, so much the better!

We will run two tours next year in Germany and I am confident they will be full by October 31. Come join us July 13-19 or July 20-26 next year!

1 comment:

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