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We didn’t go anywhere on Saturday. I got kind of a late start and, by the time I was finished with my Saturday chores, it was already about 1:00pm. The sky was dark, and rain was promising to fall, so despite Bill’s desire to venture out, I demurred. Since we stayed in on Saturday, I agreed to go out yesterday. Bill made reservations at Benner’s Bistronomie, located in Wiesbaden’s grand Kurhaus.

Benner’s is in the location that used to house a restaurant called Lambertus. We ate at Lambertus in April of 2019. I remember liking the place, especially since the inside of the Kurhaus is historic and beautiful. I didn’t know Lambertus had ceased operations, but we were game to try the new tenant in the old world European building. I’ll say one thing for Wiesbaden; it sure is a pretty town! There’s a lot of graceful architecture and grandiosity, especially downtown. It’s what some Americans might call “fancy”.

Our reservations were for 2:30pm. We made them for later because yesterday was also the last day of a wine festival in Wiesbaden we’ve been trying to get to. We were going to hit the wine fest last week, but I was inconvenienced by a certain monthly visitor and didn’t feel like going anywhere.

Like Saturday, it appeared that we might be in for some rain. When we approached Benner’s, there were a few people sitting outside. The server who spoke to us in unmasked German advised that we might want to eat inside because it would be more “gemütlichkeit” (pleasant, cozy). Noticing the heavy dark, grey clouds, we agreed– as she reminded us to wear masks. We put them on and went inside; no one asked to see proof of vaccines or anything, not that I was expecting them to do that. So far, we haven’t run into anyone who cares if we’ve had the shot(s).

I’ll state right away that our lunch was excellent. The food was very good. The service was friendly, if not a little bit absent-minded. We had to remind the server to bring us sparkling water. We also happened to be there at the time when a lot of people were wanting coffee and cake. Having waited tables myself, I know that the coffee and cake orders can be more work for less money! Anyway, here are some photos from yesterday’s repast!

After paying with a credit card and tipping in cash, we headed out to the wine festival. Much to our surprise, there was security there, but it seemed that they really just wanted to make sure everyone was registering with Luca or Corona Warn, the two contract tracing apps being used in Germany right now. I definitely like Corona Warn best of all the apps, since it does more– holds my vaccine certificates (which again weren’t checked) and allows me to scan the QR code for contact tracing. It’s also in English. Luca just does contact tracing. I also have Cov Pass, but it’s not as user friendly for Americans, since it’s in German.

Below are some photos from the wine fest. They had one tent that was serving food, and several wine tents. We only visited one, and I tried several different vinos…

Although we got rained on and it was actually a bit chilly outside, especially for August, we had a really nice time at the fest. I was reminded of how much I’ve missed these kinds of events since the pandemic started. Things are definitely not normal here, but they’re much more normal than they were a year ago. I’m grateful for that… yesterday was definitely a morale booster!

We have plans to go to the Black Forest at the end of the month. We will visit Stuttgart to see our dentist, then spend four nights in a beautiful spa resort in Baiersbronn, about 30 or 40 minutes from where we used to live. As much pain as we went through in our last house, I am glad we lived there. It gave us the chance to explore the Black Forest on many day trips– we completely missed that experience the first time we lived in Germany! And now that we don’t live so close, we have an excuse to vacation down there. Maybe that’s one gift of COVID life… if not for the pandemic, we’d be wanting to go farther afield, and we’d still be missing the closer gems available to us right here in Germany.

I don’t know if we’ll get around to taking a “big” vacation this year. If we don’t, I’m happy to keep enjoying long weekends in places that aren’t too far away from us. Especially if the weather stays agreeable.

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