Overnight the River Princess has sailed downstream from Trier to Bernkastel-Kues. Bernkastel-Kues is situated in narrows of the valley, and is overlooked by castle left in ruins by a fire, and never rebuilt. With the colder weather the morning mists make for breathtaking views.
First written records of a settlement on the spot go back to around 1036. In 1291, King Rudolph I of Germany granted Berrincastel town rights (including the right to build a city wall and levy taxes) . The castle, Burg Landshut, which was built at that time (but it was given this name only in the 16th century). According to a legend, Bohemond II, a Prince-Elector, was brought back to health from a serious illness by a glass of town’s wine, giving rise to the legend of the Berncastler Doctor winery. In 1692, Castle Landshut fell victim to fire and since then it has been a ruin.
The city is reputed to be the birthplace of one of the most famous German polymaths, the mediaeval churchman and philosopher Nikolaus von Kues (Cusanus).
If you ever wanted to see a small walled German town, with half-timbered houses and a castle on the hill above, this is a good example of it. The streets of the old Bernkastel are winding and narrow, and the houses poke up at odd angles. Typical of the Moselle Valley, beyond the roof-line steep hills present neat rows of vines, with the base of each plant covered with slate.
In late September the town hosts a wine festival. Unfortunately we missed that event.