Well, the weather report said that it might just be slightly sunny in the morning, so I took that as a sign that I should set my alarm for the first time on the trip and make sure to get up early enough to avoid the rainy bits later on the day. Breakfast at the Robert Schuman house was better than average; I started by being completely baffled by the fancy "do not touch" coffee machine, so I grabbed a glass mug of Darjeeling instead. (It turns out that they had already placed Thermokannen of coffee at every table. Whoops.) I checked one of the nostaglia food items off of my list - multivitamin juice, which is basically really sweet watery orange juice that's vaguely chemical and yet somehow delicious - and settled in to the rolls, cheese, meat routing, skipping the vegan pate because there are limits. I vaguely toyed with the idea of leaving with a roll with cheese, but then thought better of ripping off the Catholic Church, so I finished it even though I wasn't as hungry as I could'be been.
I packed my bag, dropped off my keycard - truly, they had a strange lock system that I hadn't seen before. If you scanned your keycard, it would temporarily allow you to operate the door lock in the same way that you would normally do with a key: rotate it to the left to unlock the bolt, to the right to lock it. It seemed like the most high tech way you could make a really old school lock operate. Hm.
Anyhow, outside the sun was out, things looked pretty decent, so I was happy to be on my way in just a T-shirt today. When you're bald like I am, sometimes all you need to stay warm is a cap of some sort, and I have an ancient REI skullcap like thing that does the trick. I started down the road to the right, realized where I'd come back in from last night in Trier (it's sometimes a little funny realizing my sense of direction was off by more than a few degrees), and continued along the Moselsteig through sort-of city, sort-of park, and at one point a massive junior college. I passed a sticker from a local burrito joint - note to self, check that out later - and got to a v. amusing bit of signage where the trail didn't want you to go through a lockable gate, so took you up and back maybe fifty feet to loop back around to the other side of the gate. From there it was just a short bit uphill to kind of a white-elephant looking restaurant perched on the sandstone cliffs overlooking Trier; it looked like a great place to take your special lady friend before attempting to do unspeakable things to her in the back seat of your Opel on the way home afterwards.
From there the trail basically stuck to the top of the cliffs, with some really excellent views down over Trier. The Porta Nigra was a little bit hard to make out because it's covered in scaffolding on one side at the moment, but even so: whoa, pretty. Eventually the trail headed down into a pleasant suburban valley, and wham, DETOUR. The next section of trail was supposed to go through the Trier city forest, but I'm guessing they're harvesting wood right now, so it was totally verboten. Womp womp. Instead, they'd stapled some makeshift laminated flyers to a tree showing you the way forward.
The way forward was more of a way around: head to the west up a valley, cross under the autobahn high above, then turn north and head up the hill roughly paralleling the autobahn until you were at the northern edge of the city forest, then head east under the autobahn, follow the autobahn for a bit, and then finally you were back on the Moselsteig only having gone a few kilometers out of your way. The Moselbureaucracy suggested that maybe it was a better idea to take the bus around the whole stretch, but nope, not gonna do that, thanks, and I was especially glad that I hadn't as the trail headed steeply northwards to arrive at a spectacular viewpoint overlooking another suburb of Trier. I rested there, Googled foods below, and found what appeared to be the best reviewed doner kebab shop just below me... and it was set to open right as I arrived from the downhill climb.
This being Europe, though, SURPRISE. They're on vacation for three weeks. Of course, they were the furthest thing away from the main suburban shopping street, so I had to head back into town to see what else I could find. There was a bakery with... bread. No sandwiches. Also not friendly. Nope. Across the street there was a butcher's offering warm meals, but with no posted menu and a very sad looking fella eating what looked like spaetzle in water-sawdust sauce. Ugh, no. So it was the other kebab shop, which was friendly, cheap, and also not very good. To add insult to injury, they didn't ask me if I wanted the spicy sauce (I did, sniff) and I dropped my stuffed pepper thing on to the floor (sigh). But hey, what more do you want for four euros? Actually, I found that I wanted less. I should've ordered the small kebab because for whatever reason - age, probably? - I'm finding that I can't eat as much as I used to and am nowhere near as hungry as I once was. It's kind of odd - I mean, you'd think that walking twenty miles a day would make you super hungry - but it just doesn't seem to work that way. It's probably for the best, though.
I watched the owner's wife pick up trash outside the shop - dang, Germans, you'd think you'd know better than to leave your cans and kebab wrappers around, but this was kind of a lower income neighborhood and it felt skanky af. I schlepped my pack outside, hoisted it on my shoulders, said hello to a local enjoying their dirty fountain with a cigarette - yay - and get the heck outta there. First up after the local church was a Stations of the Cross type deal, which inevitably seems to mean that you're about to head steeply uphill and enjoy a bunch of annoyed Jesus along the way. This time, though, Jesus was pretty dang cool about the whole ordeal - you could pretty much hear his eyes rolling every time someone showed up with a vinegar-soaked sponge or made with the whipping again. Add in some very stylish Roman numerals and no words at all and what do you know, I think this was proto-Hipster Jesus, 17th century style. Nice job, Treves!
After the Jesus parade, there was a tasteful chapel, a forlorn bus stop in a somewhat nice suburb, and then meadows... one of which had the most exhaustive NO DOG SHIT sign EVER. That thing went on for paragraphs! Man, the landowners must have been frustrated. Apparently, their cows eat dog shit and produce lower quality milk, which isn't as profitable. (Also, ugh, who wants to drink dog shit cow milk?). Plus, every time someone plays fetch with their cute little Scheissmaschine, they forget their dang sticks and then it fucks up their farm machinery, so FUCK YOU DOG OWNERS. Respect to those farmers for laying it all out there.
Soon enough, another few stately country manor type things showed up, and then the trail went even more rural, heading through occasionally beautifully sunny fields up and over to the next suburb, complete with its own train station, very small semi-detached houses that looked comfortable, some vacation homes, and then a brief uphill jaunt right next to the train tracks. From there, it went right past someone's abandoned cocktail wiener pack - oh, the humanity! - and then over to a demonstration forest / dog walking / handicapped trail area with a running club that met there three times a week (cool!). Alas, the Moselsteig bypassed the demonstration forest, which is sad because it's always cool to see Californian trees completely out of context like that.
After the forest ended, I wound up in a nowhere's land that included things that looked vaguely like a bunker, obvious cell towers, and one very lonely local in a red Jetta just hanging out at a trail map in the middle of nowhere. It was a pleasant spot for sure. From there, just a bit more to the east and across a busy road there was a restored memorial cross complete with a much too big, much too wordy self-congratulatory "we restored this, you're welcome" sign from some local charity. Then, through a dank railway tunnel and into town... well, no. The train line that runs up the Mosel on the west side generally goes well away from the river and stays there because the river bends are too many and the valley to narrow. So, if anything, the stations are either way out of town or in fact absolutely nowhere near town - from there, it was another 2km through city streets to get to the town center. This was also the first time I lost the trail completely; at a roundabout, they didn't do a great job of signing TURN RIGHT, instead taking you straight ahead for a while until you got to a crosswalk, then placing a tiny sign on the other side of the crosswalk imploring you to turn right and go back the way you came, just on the other side of the street. Ooops. There was a bit of backtracking, and then a left hand turn down the main path into town.
From what I could see, it looked like a lot of fairly recently built suburban homes. Given that almost none of them had garages, it sure seemed like the climate must have changed so much here in recent years that no one would need garages any more. There also wasn't anything in the way of bus infrastructure in this part of town, so cars seemed super necessary... odd. My favorite part, though, was the zip line that someone had set up in their huge back yard, complete with a young girls just absolutely giddy with joy at riding that thing repeatedly. Wheee!
Finally, it was past some big-box-esque shops and on into the village of Schweich proper. It wasn't especially scenic, but it also looked generally just fine, with a lot of happy people strolling about getting their business done. Finally, I saw a sign that said BETT UND WEIN and thought, damn, I hope this is my hotel... and it was.
Up to the second floor and whoa, a huge room with its own private balcony and a welcome split of Sekt in the fridge. Yay yay yay. The landlady was super friendly, I was super smelly, so I excused myself and disappeared into the shower... which had no soap, a first. Well, let's use the hand soap, then! Problem solved. I changed into my street clothes and set out to see a bit more of the town... starting at ALDI to buy a couple of things for tomorrow's walk: Serrano ham, Appenzeller cheese, and some kind of weird sesame bar things just in case. Otherwise, there wasn't much else to see, so I headed back to the room, wrote for a bit, and then headed downstairs to the winery-restaurant, which was absolutely packed with happy revelers. It took a bit before I figured out how it all worked, and then the winemaker-owner happily poured me carafes of Riesling Auslese trocken, Pinot noir blanc de noir, and even Pinots blanc and Gris just to top if off. Long night, for sure. I wound up falling into conversation with a couple from West Flanders who were staying in the room below me and who were very happy to put up with my terrible Dutch just for grins. I had a delicious pork steak, some bread and cheese, and turned in for the evening a very happy bear.