Cochem is a lovely little town in Germany’s Moselle country. There has been a town here since before the Romans came. As it happens, most of the old buildings in the town centre were destroyed during various wars – the most recent being WW2. That was because of the bridge which was used to send supplies to German troops in France. Like many other towns, the burghers of Cochem rebuilt and reinvented themselves. They still grow wine grapes here, but they invite the tourists to visit both the town, and the rebuilt castle of Reichsburg sitting on the heights above the town.
The castle isn’t original – although, of course, there was a fortification on those heights since time immemorial. The castle and the town were destroyed by Louis XIV’s troops in the 17th century and again by Napoleon. The castle remained a ruin until it was bought by Mr Louis Ravene, who spent thousands virtually rebuilding the place from the ground up. Although it’s not an authentic castle, the furniture and fittings are worth seeing, and the views are great. Here’s a bit of history. The tour guide told us Ravene bought the place for his much younger wife and rebuilt it as a summer palace. It seems she never visited, and eventually left her husband for a younger man.
Our guide told us the story about the goat in the fountain. Apparently it was accused of eating some of the ripe wine grapes, which was forbidden to all just before the harvest. To test the hypothesis, the goat was placed in a wine press. The townsfolk reasoned that if the beast had eaten grapes, white juice should flow from it. But red juices flowed, so the goat was found not guilty. The moral of the story was not everyone at the time was the sharpest knife in the drawer.
This statue has a story, too. I’ll bet everybody thinks this dude is trampling the old man under his horse. I certainly did.
I thoroughly enjoyed Cochem. There may be more authentically old villages, but I love resilience. They still make wine here, but that’s becoming an increasingly difficult way to earn a living. The town has built itself a future based on tourism. Good luck to them.