Believe it or not, we attended a wine festival (Weinfest der Mittelmosel) in Bernkastel-Kues, located in Southwestern Germany. The land around here the area is simply stunning–beautiful hillsides covered in vineyards, with picture-perfect homes scattered throughout. Every once in awhile you catch view of a medieval-looking castle on a cliff side, as you wind through beautiful canyons dug out by the Mosel River.

The town of Bernkastel-Kues is actually two cities. Bernkastel and Kues are divided by a the Mosel River, but they are often referred to as just one town. They have a wine festival here each year, and we just happened to be in town for it. We came for fireworks that were soon to be let off from that castle, seen towering over the city of Bernkastel (I was standing in Kues for this photo). It’s obviously a very popular festival, and the crowds descended on the very limited parking available in this small valley. It’s the only outdoor festival I’ve been to where people are holding wineglasses everywhere you look. We don’t drink–so we didn’t partake in that part of the festivities. The girls were, however, able to sweet-talk us into one little kiddie roller coaster ride for themselves (at 3 Euros each…ouch)! We walked the short distance from Kues to Bernkastel, and passed some cute homes and buildings along the way! Ella found her favorite…German pretzels! They typically run from 1-2 Euros apiece. A beautiful bridge arches over the river to connect the towns, and from this spot we could have had the best view for the upcoming firework show where a boat on the water “challenges” the castle, and they “reenact” a classic castle/ship battle by taking turns shooting off fireworks!

The castle really looks cool at night, all lit up!

 

The city of Bernkastel is quite picturesque with the vineyards on the hills, and the pointed facades on each building. Boats went up and down the river, absolutely packed with people!

The hard part was trying to figure out where to walk. There were so many people! A small break in the crowd permitted me to take a photo!

Looking back across the bridge towards Kues

The Spitzhäuschen is the most famous house in this area, and dates back to 1416!

Such different storefronts than we are used to seeing in Mexico!

SOOOO many people!

We were hungry, so we braved the crowds and left the bridge area to find some good food. Jared settled on a bratwurst, but I happily found some grilled potatoes with mushrooms (topped in a creamy stroganoff sauce)!  Yum!

Mustard, anyone? Serve yourself!

All of a sudden the lights turned off at all of the street vendors, and we had to finish paying and eating in the dark! Minutes later, the fireworks began, and a wall of people closed in between us and our kids (who were left with Aunt Patty standing 100 yards away close to the bridge). Try as we might, we couldn’t get through that crowd. We finally relented and enjoyed watching the fireworks above the castle (we couldn’t see the ones above the boat), while sandwiched so tightly among people that one girl spat in my hair. When I turned to look at her, puzzled, she said, “your hair got in my mouth!”  I do have curly, frizzy hair. But not that frizzy. “Um…sorry…?!” I replied (but seriously…did you just SPIT in my hair?!).  And yes, she spoke to me in English. In fact, I haven’t heard so much English in Germany as we did at this festival. Apparently this festival is very popular among American military families who live in this area!

This is a festival I’d come to again, but next time I’d plant myself on that bridge 1 hour in advance (the fireworks start at 9:30) to get the best view of the firework spectacle!

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