Two Americans on the Moselle, fascinated by the water, wine and history
Paul and Francine Aron from southern California, not far from Los Angeles, are in Germany for the first time. They are travelling on the Calypso, a river cruiser, along the Moselle. They enjoy celebrating their twentieth wedding anniversary far from the cares and worries of everyday life.
The Roman Decimus Magnus Ausonius celebrated the Moselle in a poem he wrote in 371 AD. "Mosella" consists of 483 hexameters describing a journey he made from Bingen to Trier.
Trier is the Arons’ first stop. They look at the Roman amphitheatre and are impressed by its size and the well-preserved state of the historical ruins. In about 100 AD, an older wooden complex was replaced by a stone edifice. With its 18,000 seats, the amphitheatre was large enough to accommodate spectators and visitors from the surrounding area.
Paul Aron is very interested in Roman history. In Trier he fulfils a long-standing dream, actually touching history. His wife says she is glad he is so happy.
Then they go on to Porta Nigra , the northern city gate of Trier, once a Roman city. Weathering, soot and dust have left their mark and blackened its stones over the centuries, hence its name: Porta Nigra, black gate. The complex consists of a central structure with two gates, each flanked by a tower.
Building on it was begun in the second half of the second century AD. It was never completed. The Porta Nigra is not only a major landmark in Trier; it is also a powerful symbol of the encounters between Romans, Celts and Germanic tribes. The Arons are thrilled by the city, but it’s time to continue their trip along the Moselle.
The Moselle Valley is a wine-growing region, and the journey continues to Zell, and the "Zeller Schwarze Katz," the collective name of Zell’s 16 individual vineyard sites. The picturesque "black cat" labels have made for a marketing success and helped put Zell on the map in export markets as a popular German generic wine.
11.10.2007 DW-TV Hin und Weg Mosel5
The story goes that when wine merchants were travelling in Zell, after an extensive wine-tasting, the final choice was between three barrels, but they couldn’t decide which was best. The vintner’s wife came into the cellar, accompanied by a black cat. Suddenly the cat jumped onto one of the barrels and hissed at anyone who tried to approach. The wine merchants quickly agreed that the barrel they would buy was the one the black cat was defending so obstinately. Shortly thereafter, the same wine merchants returned and bought all the wine from the vineyards that had supplied the grapes for that barrel, because it had sold so well. The wine-growing area became known as the Zeller Schwarze Katz.
One of the reasons Paul and Francine Aron chose the Moselle region for their anniversary trip is that they consider it to be Germany’s definitive wine-growing region. At a tasting, Francine Aron discovered she likes medium dry wines, and not just dry ones.
The Arons saw a great deal on their trip. Both of them enjoyed it so much that they say they will certainly visit Germany again.