We had absolutely glorious weather all weekend. It was unseasonably warm in Wiesbaden yesterday, so we decided to take a stroll with the dogs, give them a chance to stretch their legs and us a chance to see a little more of the city. I managed to grab a few more photos and we ran into a fellow beagle owner, who stopped us and enthused about how cute Zane and Arran are. She showed us a picture of her beagle and I quipped to Bill that having a beagle in Germany is kind of like having a Mini Cooper in the States. It’s like you’re in a special club!
Another picture of that beautiful tree in the park.
Wiesbaden has so many fountains! They’re everywhere!
My friend Susanne says this reminds her of the Salt Lake Temple, only it’s a different color and isn’t LDS.
We really didn’t even get the chance to explore the other beautiful landmarks in Wiesbaden… I can see I’m going to have my work cut out for me as I get to know Wiesbaden and Mainz.
Wiesbaden is a very international city– I would say moreso than Stuttgart, which seems more traditional to me. We saw a lot of Muslims in Wiesbaden, some of whom were openly praying in the park. I saw many women of Middle Eastern descent dressed head to toe in black, as well as some just in headscarves. We also saw a group of men sitting on a blanket with one older guy sitting in a chair. It was something I don’t see a lot of where I live now.
A little bit later, we decided to have dinner, even though I was still pretty satisfied after our Thai food extravaganza. We passed a couple of Italian restaurants and I decided I wanted Italian food for dinner. We ended up at Little Italy, which is a tiny restaurant just around the corner from our hotel.
We were looking at the specials, which were written on a portable chalkboard, when a man in a chef’s uniform came out and invited us to sit down. It was pleasant weather, so we sat outside. The chef pointed out blankets and a heat lamp over our table, in case we got cold.
Our waiter impressed us by being at least tri-lingual– he spoke English, German, and Italian. When he heard me speak English, he was genuinely surprised. Apparently, we pass quite well for Germans, although his boss in the chef’s outfit quickly figured out we’re Americans.
Bill chose this lovely Super Tuscan wine to go with dinner…
This came with the bread… olive oil with a dollop of very fresh tomato paste.
He had a Parmesan tartufo, which consisted of tagliatelle encased in a small Parmesan “bowl” and topped with sliced truffles. We usually see this made in a big Parmesan cheese wheel, but they do it differently at Little Italy, probably because it’s a very small restaurant.
I had risotto with prawns, onions, and lemongrass. It was topped with a breadstick. I really enjoyed this because it was just the right size and very simple.
Just after we finished eating, we were thinking about dessert, when a very well-dressed, attractive, petite, older Italian woman sat down at the table next to ours. She had perfectly manicured nails painted fuchsia, although she wasn’t wearing any makeup. We noticed the staff at Little Italy knew her and greeted her by name as she sipped a glass of prosecco. After a few minutes, she struck up a conversation with us. It turned out she organizes high end luxury vacations, which Bill and I have been known to enjoy on occasion (although we didn’t tell her that).
She told us she hadn’t eaten for two days because she’d been so stuffed at a wedding and she decided that last night, she needed to eat. So she stopped by Little Italy and ordered spaghetti with branzino. Before we knew it, this lady was telling us stories about people she’d taken on trips, including one memorable tale about how she’d rented a Mercedes limo to take a client to an opera in Vicenza and the car broke down at a swimming pool.
Bill told her about how he’d been in Vicenza just last week and had Baccalà Mantecato, a Venetian specialty. He hadn’t cared for it. It’s salted cod with lots of olive oil served with polenta, which sounds okay to me… but apparently, it sat very heavily on Bill’s stomach. Our new acquaintance was impressed that Bill had tried it.
Then she showed us pictures of herself and her friends at Carnival in Venice. They were wearing masks they had made in Venice. As she enjoyed her dinner, more people who worked in the restaurant came over and said hello. They were obviously happy to see her, although I got the sense that maybe the chef guy might have thought of her as being too chatty. She certainly chatted us up, and told us her name is Paola. I won’t be surprised if we run into her again. We have a knack for running into people. Actually, I have a real knack for it– always have, even before I met Bill.
I decided to have tiramisu for dessert. It was very light and creamy, with ladyfingers that tasted more like angel food cake.
Bill had Zabaione with ice cream… this stuff was absolutely sinful. It’s like very rich creamy custard made with marsala wine, with a ball of ice cream in the middle. I tasted it and could practically feel my ass expanding.
As we enjoyed dessert, Paola told us about a friend of hers who had died. She had gone on a trip and was feeling kind of blue when she noticed a cloud shaped like an angel. She said it was like her friend, Sue, telling her to enjoy her life. Paola came across as very extraverted. I’m not sure what made her decide to talk to us. It might have been because Bill looks like a sweet teddy bear and is basically like that most of the time.
Paola told us that she had wanted to go out and talk to someone. She said she had gone to the sauna and then the movies, and decided to have dinner out because she needed company. She thanked us for talking to her, since she lives alone. It was our pleasure. She’s a very interesting lady. That experience kind of drove home that Wiesbaden is probably going to be different in many ways… although it also occurs to me that a week ago, we met Germans from Wiesbaden at the Cannstatter Fest. Maybe it’s one of God’s little signs that we’re in for something new and exciting. I sure hope so. But I especially hope we find a house that won’t drive me batty.
Incidentally, my German friend, Susanne, found Paola’s Internet presence, based on my description of her in the post… Paola might be a good person to know, since I love my food and wine experiences.
We’ll definitely be back to this restaurant, too. It was a great find!
Our drive back to Stuttgart was mostly uneventful, except that a trucker tried to run us off the road while laying on his horn. I think maybe Bill was trying to pass him as he was speeding up to prevent being passed. Consequently, he may have been cut off through his own fault. He backed off when he looked into our car and saw me with my iPad. I suppose I could have taken a picture of his very aggressive driving. He acted like a total lunatic and probably shouldn’t be a trucker anymore.
Our next door neighbor was in her yard when we drove up. She greeted us warmly and asked me about my singing. She is also a singer… and she likes Van Halen. I’m going to miss her when we go. But now that I’ve seen Wiesbaden, I know that there will be new friends to be made there.