The hot weather had broken so today was a little mixed. We had decided we needed a change from rivers so we headed north to the area called Vulkanpark or Volcano Park. It was in this area that just over 13,000 years ago that the Laacher-See Volcano formed Germany’s youngest volcanic landscape. As we drove in the area you certainly could see signs of old volcanic domes along with a lot of open cast quarrying to get pumice.
Our first stop was the information centre which had two excellent films on volcano’s and the history of the area although in German. With audio guides we then went round the exhibits which gave a simple but effective account of the different types and stages of volcanic eruptions and the impact it had on this part of Germany. In addition there was an excellent exhibit on the quarrying that took place from Roman times to now of the pumice and tuff stone resulting from the volcanic activity. Daisy was very patient and listened to the audio guide occasionally. For her patience we took her for a work in the Rauscherpark next to the centre a place of former Roman mining activity.
After lunch we headed a few miles up the road to the Roman Mine at Meurin. This old Roman tuff mining site was only discovered recently as a result of modern day quarrying and is the largest Roman underground tuff mining north of the Alps. It was a fascinating place to visit. We knew the Romans had used a lot of stone in their buildings but where it came from we hadn’t given it a second thought. This had been an underground mine with at least 20ft of pumice above the mine seen today. It was tough work cutting out huge slabs of tuff and then lifting them up through the shafts to the surface. The miners had to be skilled as the tuff could break easily.
On our return to base on the autobahn we stopped at an overlook which gave views down onto the Mosel.