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The weather has gotten kind of crappy again.  It’s a bit cloudy today, although the temperature isn’t too cold and there’s been no actual rain.  Although I’m itching to visit Mainz and some of the other interesting areas around Wiesbaden, the weather kind of didn’t allow for it today.  So we decided to visit Wiesbaden’s Mix Markt, a grocery store chain that caters to Russians and people from other countries in Eastern Europe.

We discovered Mix Markt when we were still living near Stuttgart.  One of Bill’s former co-workers, who reads my blog, had mentioned that this was a store that carried products from Russia and former Eastern Bloc countries.  Because I spent two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Republic of Armenia, a former Soviet country, I was interested in seeing what they had there.  Mix Markt has locations all over Germany and in several other European countries.  I’ve been to the ones in Böblingen, Nagold, and now, Wiesbaden.  Each has been a bit grubby and crowded, and each has had a very interesting mix of clientele.

The markets in Nagold and Wiesbaden are pretty tiny, while Böblingen’s location is somewhat larger and has more selection.  Parking at all three of these markets is a challenge, too.  But if you like ethnic treats from Russia, Poland, the Czech Republic, or any of the other formerly communist countries, it’s well worth visiting.  Bill and I like to go to there because they carry Georgian wines and Armenian brandies, as well as a number of excellent vodkas and other spirits.  And sometimes, it’s fun to remember things I used to be able to get easily.

Here are some photos from Wiesbaden’s location.  This market is in a rather “socialist” looking area.  There are lots of cookie cutter apartment buildings, although they’re all painted instead of drab grey.  It actually reminded of me of living in Armenia, although Armenia’s buildings were all made of tufa and none were painted.

Parking was somewhat challenging, although there was no charge to use the lot.  It was better than both Nagold and Böblingen, but still kind of tight.  In fact, the store was really busy today.

Every Mix Markt I’ve been to so far has had an impressive candy aisle, stocked with Russian chocolates.  There is also always a sunflower seed aisle.  Sunflower seeds are very popular snacks in formerly Soviet nations.

Beautiful cakes.  Armenia had the most beautiful cakes I’ve ever seen, but most of them tasted like sawdust, at least in the 1990s.  They may be better now.

This was what we came for…  Lovely Georgian wines!  Böblingen’s location has a bigger selection, but we were happy just to find a few bottles today.

And Armenian brandy, which is world class… some would say even better than French cognac.  Josef Stalin used to keep Winston Churchill flush with Armenian brandy because he loved it so much.  It really is good, although the brandy carried at Mix Markt is universally Proshyan, which is not as popular as “Ararat” brandy.  I usually have to order Ararat from Master of Malt.

They did have some fancy Armenian brandy bottles, though.  These make really nice gifts.

They also had Matryshka dolls…  I was tempted to get a set, since the ones I have are of former Soviet leaders and are still in storage.

Russian dominoes.

We decided to try this Turkish flatbread, but it wouldn’t fit in the bag.

It looks a lot like Armenian “Matnakar” bread, so I want to try it to see if it is like Armenian flatbread.

Lots of booze… 

And lots of people in line, with signage in four different languages.

I got a kick out of the vodka at the registers.  They even had some in “jelly jars”.  Actually, if I’m honest, it looked more like urine specimen jars.

You’d think we were going to go home and take communion.

 

On the way back into the city, we happened to notice a Greek restaurant that appeared to be open.  It was called Phaisto’s and had a very generous parking lot with free parking.  We arrived at 2:10pm, just fifty minutes before their pause began.  However, we were warmly welcomed and offered a nice table for two in the charming dining room.

Bill anticipates lunch.  We were both hungry.

I liked the fresh bread they brought out with red pepper spread and green and black, garlicky olives.

We both had salads to go with our meals.  I enjoyed the dressing, which was a nice herbal vinaigrette.  I actually ate most of the salad.  

Bill had the Kotopulo, grilled chicken breast on spits with Mediterranean vegetables– basically peppers, zucchini, eggplant, and mushrooms.  We also had “patates”, which were like homemade potato chips, and t’zatziki.  If this hadn’t had mushrooms, I would have preferred it to my dish…

Gyros… again.  What can I say?  Sometimes, I just want slivered pork with onions.  I have had better gyros in other Greek places, but for some reason, it seems like there aren’t as many Greek restaurants up here in Wiesbaden as there are near Stuttgart.  I was just happy to have Greek food, to be honest.  But I have had better.  This was a little dry.

I couldn’t finish all of the gyros, so we had the leftovers wrapped up and enjoyed house shots of ouzo.  Then, we paid the 42 euro bill and went on our way.  I thought the service was good and the people who were running things today were very pleasant.  Next time, I’ll have to try the dorade.

This is a nice restaurant.  Even has a play area for kids.  When the weather is regularly nice, I’m sure the outside area will be teeming with people.

The parking lot is a good selling point.

It’s a very large building, too.

On our way back home, we drove through an unfamiliar part of Wiesbaden with interesting looking houses.  Wiesbaden has some really nice architecture.  It doesn’t look at all like Stuttgart, but it’s uniformly elegant.  I just wish this area had the same gorgeous scenery Baden-Württemberg has.  Wiesbaden is prettier than Stuttgart is, but the area around Stuttgart is prettier than the area around Wiesbaden is.

 

Bill will be away for the next two weekends, so my travel blog may get a little boring… perhaps even more boring than usual, unless I come up with an idea for something to write while he’s gone.  Tomorrow, I’m sure we’ll have an exciting trip to the commissary so I can be stocked up for the duration.  I suppose I could venture out by myself, though.  Maybe I will… but I probably won’t.

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