When I first spotted Cochem in pictures online, I wanted so badly to make it Frederick Smith’s home. In my first draft of Sani: The German Medic, this is where he ended up after his train ride from Hamburg.
It was an interesting journey and one that involved the difference between being a fiction writer and being a historical fiction writer. I had a strong desire to represent a realistic path through the war, paying attention to the German Army’s system of organization at the time (google “Wehrkreis” if you’re interested in that sort of thing) and the movements of actual companies and divisions. I had to combine my overall plot with the path an actual unit would’ve taken, rather than just making it up as I went along. It meant he couldn’t start out living in Cochem.
Still, I was so taken with it that it needed to play a role in the series somehow. When I arrived in Cochem this summer, the pictures simply hadn’t done it justice. (They never do!) We found a charming town that evoked memories of the Middle Ages. Some of the original city walls still stand, and the gate dates back to the 1300’s.
Most charming was a little Weinstube we found as we journeyed up the hill a little bit, Alte Gutsschänke. Already having had some sandwiches for dinner, we ordered a sausage and cheese tray and local wine. It was sweet to watch the locals and feel the history all around. Truly, this is Old Germany.
We stayed at the Pension Schneider just outside of town. A Pension is similar to a bed and breakfast. Our room had a kitchen as well.
I wish we’d had more than one evening to spend. There were cruises on the Mosel, the Sesselbahn chairlift to summit views, a Burgfest at the castle, and even a bunker nearby where the West German government used to store emergency cash. Next time!
I’m still not sure what role this little area will play in the GMU Series, except that it is where Frederick finds respite after the war. In The Prodigal Sons, readers will also meet an old Scottish preacher who makes his home in Cochem. It was also the home of Greta’s family.
The Prodigal Sons officially releases November 1st. The paperback edition is now available for order on Amazon. If you prefer an eBook, you can pre-order now and it will be delivered to your account on November 1st!