The rolling hillside banks along Germany's Moselle are covered in vineyards – hundreds and thousands of terraced rows of neatly planted vines rising up to the sky all the way along the sides of the river. It's an industrial landscape, a lush green factory floor for one of Europe's smallest wine regions.
Traveling by boat was best way to explore the quaint towns stretched out along the river. We visited Bernkastel with its cobbled streets, pretty colourful timber beamed buildings and tasted excellent kaffee und kuchen in Cafe Hansen; saw impressive Roman remains, enormous ecclesiastical architecture and stained glass windows in Trier; and while perusing Jungenstil villas in Traben-Trarbach chanced upon Handarbeitsstube, a fabric shop and needlework emporium with an impressive selection of bright organic printed cottons. I did not leave the shop empty handed!
We stayed in Ürziger Würzgarten where my friends are campaigning to halt construction of the B50 High Moselle Bridge. The proposed gigantic concrete structure is the largest bridge being built in Europe and is planned to span a four-lane motorway across the middle section of the Moselle Valley. The project would severely damage the ancient Moselle landscape and have catastrophic consequences for the vineyards and villages in this region.
For now the valley remains as pretty and productive as my pictures show, but in ten years time, who knows?