As you might just be able to see, we have been staying in a holiday apartment called Schwarze Katz (Black Cat, in German). Not so lucky, since the internet availability is not quite as advertised. I’m writing this blog post on our second-to- last day in Zell, on the banks of the beautiful Mosel river, but you probably won’t get to read it until we have returned to our house in Spain. I am footsore: as you can tell from the title above, we’ve been house-hunting, but chose not to hire a car. We’ve looked at 8 houses, in various states of repair, none are perfect for us, but then of course that’s to be expected.
Our sale in Spain is going exactly as expected, we are still no wiser as to what day the deeds will be signed over in the notary’s office. From that day we will effectively be homeless. Still, at least we will be allowed to make an offer on a house in Germany, should anything be available at that time. Did you know that in Deutschland, you cannot make an offer until the funds are in place? No, neither did I.
The Mosel valley is truly beautiful. There are many tiny villages along it. Like most rural places, they have property bargains galore: there is no work for a young person in these hamlets. The local bakeries and shops have closed down as the owners have retired, with no-one to take on the family business. We have been looking in the larger villages/towns: but even Zell itself has its share of closed-down restaurants and shops. One never thinks of Germany having felt the effects of the crash ten years ago, but there are signs, and, if they are not so marked as -say- in the villages of Extramedura or Galicia, they are there nevertheless.
Public transport is quite amazing: buses along the Mosel river are frequent. With imagination you could be in Luxembourg in 2 hours, Trier in one-and-a-half, or Cologne if you went north, on the train from the nearby town of Bullay – and you could do that even from those smaller villages. The bus services get you to the train hub on time. The local trains are operated here by the company whose logo you see on the side of the train in this picture: I like the name better than those of UK companies’: Thameslink or Virgin for example…
You can ride your bike from Traben-Trarbach to Cochem and beyond alongside the river, it’s mostly flat. We rode 12 km on a bike for the first time in who knows how many years, a real cyclist would make the very most of a visit here.
Most striking is how different everything is from Southern Spain. Not better, just different. I think I will take a while to get used to living here, but then that’s the point isn’t it? Keep moving forward, don’t look back.
As some readers may know, I’m in the middle of another Unbound campaign to get a book published. I have been running a competition for pledgers to No Good Deed. The winner has been drawn from a beer-stein, but not, for obvious reasons mentioned earlier, announced. My campaign has been fairly static for over a fortnight, during which we buried my father and came to the Mosel to look for a likely house. Moffat’s further adventures will be published – or not. I think I have things a little more in proportion now.
Anyway, despite the complaints about the internet in this apartment where I now write, below is the view from the balcony… Mindfulness? Desiderata? Zen? Call it what you want… but practice it; this practice may not make things perfect, but it may teach you to enjoy things, despite their imperfections…
*PS Apologies to The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band for mangling the title of one of their less appropriate songs.