Exploring: the vineyard-covered Ahr valley

Vineyards in Mayschoß, GermanyThe village of Mayschoß in Germany’s lovely Ahr valley says “spring” all over. The name of the village means “lap of May” and even though it’s only April, you can see why.

It’s easy to imagine an earlier era. On top of the hill nearest the church tower is a ruined castle. One vineyard advertises horse-drawn wagon rides through the vineyards. My daughter told me they have to muzzle the horses to keep them from eating the grapes during harvest. I never thought about a horse eating grapes before.

Blast from the past in the National Park

Wear a hat and long-sleeved shirt against ticks and sunburn and cover your skin against frostbite. Don’t leave your toothpaste or bacon out where the black bears can smell it. Leaves of three, let me be. Stinging nettle. Geothermal activity–stay on the boardwalks. These are the dangers and adventures I associate with wilderness.

This sign in the Dreiborn area of the Eifel National Park made me think.

This sign says: "Risk of loss of life! Walking outside of the marked trails is absolutely forbidden. Vogelsang was used for military exercises until 2005.
This sign says: “Risk of loss of life! Walking outside of the marked trails is absolutely forbidden! This area was used for military exercises until 2005.

My husband’s parents played in the forest in Germany as children and found old tank parts and unexploded grenades. It felt very different to find one myself. I never understood what war on your own soil means.

An unexploded grenade lying on leaves in the forest in Eifel National Park