At times practical needs define Wanderlust’s cruising route. In August of 2015, we took Wanderlust down the Moselle to Luxembourg so we could add fuel. Fuel is cheap and easily accessible in Luxembourg. Past adding fuel, there was another reason for us to detour to Luxembourg. As earlier, we needed to slow our pace to best accommodate our arriving guests’ schedules. A side trip down the Moselle would serve as a holding pattern and would let us take on the fuel needed.
Logistics may have necessitated a side trip to Luxembourg but they were also a good excuse to explore the Moselle. It is a pretty river with interesting towns. Indeed, as the river transits the deep gorges lined with vineyards, it is postcard scenic. And Metz, despite the awkward configuration of its port de plaisance, was our favorite city of the season.
Heading to Luxembourg let us do something we hadn’t anticipated doing for some time; we took Wanderlust to Germany. German territory sits across the Mosel from Luxembourg. On our way back to France we moved Wanderlust over to a pontoon on the German bank, tied up, stepped ashore, and took a victory photos of Wanderlust. After all the word “wanderlust” is a loanword from German. We just had to get our barge to Germany at some point.
Despite the years, I still find the crossing the borderless borders of modern Europe to be vaguely disconcerting. For centuries warfare defined the boundary lines between the states of Europe. Many lives were lost to adjust the lines on the maps a small distance. At ground level it feels like there should be something important, something profound about crossing one of these lines. But there isn’t. Though there might be a natural feature that serves as a dividing line, the land on both sides of the line drawn on the map is pretty much the same.
Today, as a result of an agreement that was signed in 1985 in Schengen, a small town on the Mosel that we passed on the way to the fueling dock, Europe’s borders are open. Schengen’s location is emblematic of how arbitrary borders are. The town sits on the tripoint between Germany, Luxembourg, and France. A resident of Schengen can walk across the bridge to Perl Germany, have a beer, and then amble on a short distance further to the south to catch a train at the station in Apach France. It is easy enough now but imagine regularly making the same trip when with border controls in place.
(Wanderlust reached Luxembourg on August 10 2015. From Metz the fuel dock and marina in Luxembourg is 61 kilometers and six locks. In between we spent the night at an undeveloped mooring in Uckange.)