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On a mission in Wiesbaden…

Bill invited me to lunch today in Wiesbaden. Our original plan was to stop by the ADAC store and get a vignette for Switzerland. Then we’d go have lunch somewhere. As we were headed into town, Bill said if the ADAC store had a line, he’d just get the toll sticker at the border. But when we got there, the ADAC store was closed. So, I guess we’ll just get the sticker at the border. Our mission a failure, we decided to walk around a bit more… It’s always a pleasure to walk around in Wiesbaden. It’s such a quaint, lovely city.

“Musetta’s Waltz”… sounds like it was being played by someone…

The market was still going on, so I got a few photos, and we stopped by a music shop so Bill could ask about getting our guitars set up properly. We’ve only been playing them for a year, right? Well, we have five of them, and none have been set up. So we’re going to try to do that at some point soon. It’s on the list. We need to take Arran in for a checkup, too, and a doggy dental. There’s always something that needs to be done.

More photos from our lunchtime stroll…

Today we stopped by La Cantinetta for lunch. We haven’t been there in awhile, but it is a favorite Italian place for me. I like the food, even if it’s kind of in Wiesbaden’s “restaurant row”. We encountered our usual buskers– same guys we ran into two weeks ago at Scotch N’ Soda, which is right next to La Cantinetta. Maybe we should have found a new place today, but it was kind of crowded and I didn’t feel like hunting. Besides, I do like this restaurant. The waiters are charming and professional, and the food is always beautifully presented.

I had Tagliata Manzio– sliced roast beef with roasted rosemary potatoes, rucola, and Parmesan cheese. Bill had a Parma pizza, half of which he brought home. It had buffalo mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, Parma ham, and rucola. I was kind of tempted by the pizza, too, but I can never finish pizzas here. We enjoyed a couple of glasses of Barolo, a nice red wine from Italy, and listened to more live music from the buskers.

The people sitting at the next table had to deal with cars going in and out of the parking garage situated near us. I chose the table where we sat because I didn’t want to sit in the sun. I went light on the sunscreen today. But the downside was being close to the garage, where well-heeled people driving Audis, BMWs, and even a Jaguar were going in and out. I think I would hate to live in that building, always dodging diners when I want to drive out of the garage. I have to admit the location is nice, otherwise. It’s a lovely neighborhood on Restaurant Row. Based on the cars, it’s probably a pretty fancy place to call home. The guy in the Jaguar actually brushed up against a bench at Scotch N’ Soda, though. We also saw a fairly new looking Porsche. Germans sure do love their expensive rides!

As you can see, the recent floods that have affected Germany and Belgium aren’t a problem in Wiesbaden. We are a couple of hours’ drive away from that area. I know the local emergency crews are helping in the Eifel Region, where the flooding was especially bad. A year ago, we visited the Eifel for a long weekend. It doesn’t look like Meerfeld got flooding, but several places nearby did. The news is just terrible– many people have died, been injured, or lost everything. Some animals have also died, including a couple of horses that got caught in the flooding. It’s strange, because although we did get rain last week, it wasn’t especially unusual or heavy where we live.

We have had beautiful weather today and yesterday. In fact, it was actually a bit chilly last night. This year’s July has been pretty mild. Hope it holds next month… or even just next week, when we finally visit Zurich and Kusnacht for the first time. I look forward to writing about travel again!

Gosh, he’s cute. I think I’ll keep him.

Total damage for today’s lunch was about 75 euros. We should have had a bottle of wine, since we ended up having four glasses between us. I think it would have saved us some money and time, since the wait staff was a bit weeded today. But we had a great time, nonetheless. Wiesbaden is so beautiful, and it’s so nice to be able to go downtown again.

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Our first “Noizy” week…

We’ve now had our new family member, “Noizy”, the street dog from Kosovo, for a week. Every day, he pushes his boundaries and explores new territories. Every day, he makes progress toward integrating with Bill, Arran, and me. And every day, he does something really cute and funny.

So far, Noizy has learned what a glass door is. When we brought him into the house last week, he bonked his head on the door several times before he realized that he can’t walk through it. He’s also learned that he can walk through the bug screen on the other door.

Noizy still hasn’t left the living room, but every day, his safe space gets bigger. He’s moved from the corner to two of the rugs. Today, he almost came into the dining area.

A couple of days ago, Noizy’s bed arrived. As soon as I set it up for him and put his favorite sheet on it, he claimed the bed. He has piled several toys on it. He doesn’t play with the toys. He just stacks them on the bed like they’re his friends. It’s so cute!

Noizy is terrified of the leash. Yesterday, he had his second lesson in our backyard. He peed on himself when he saw me with it. But once I put it on him, he did okay. He only reared up a couple of times. I felt like I was halter breaking a foal again. Haven’t done that in decades! I look forward to the day when he’s less terrified of the leash and we can take him for a walk. He needs the exercise, and so do I.

He was also afraid of the brush, although he did let me brush him and seemed to enjoy the process. We’re not quite ready to bathe him yet, since he won’t willingly leave the living room except to go outside. We don’t want to traumatize him further by forcing him to have a bath. But the brushing does help and I even noticed that he doesn’t smell as bad as he did a week ago. Being inside probably helps.

Last night, Bill made homemade dog food in the Instant Pot with chicken breasts, sweet potatoes, and green beans. He used to do that all the time when we still had Zane. Zane had mast cell cancer and needed a lot of protein. This time, he decided to make the food as a treat. Noizy is still afraid of Bill, although he’s getting better. I think the homemade food will go a long way in winning over his trust. He loved it! So did Arran, who has really been missing that special treat. Noizy was a bit reluctant to eat earlier in the week, but now he chows down with gusto.

One thing I’ve also noticed and really appreciated is that Noizy naturally seems to prefer doing his business outside. In the mornings, he goes out and squats down by the garden and takes a long whiz. He also drops his logs outside.

Yesterday, we used the robot mower to cut the grass. Noizy wasn’t too afraid of it, unlike our dearly departed Zane, who barked at it for hours before he finally realized it wasn’t an alien. The robot mower is good to have, because it’s very quiet, runs on clean energy, and has tiny blades. It’s very safe to use because if it bumps against something, it just changes direction.

I’m sure this could be the calm before the storm, but I have to admit this first week hasn’t been bad at all… I was expecting a lot more drama, especially from Arran. Incidentally, Arran went down to the living room over night and slept on the loveseat. I think he’s getting used to the new dog. They may even be friends soon. I hope I can take an adorable picture of them snuggling someday.

Above all, Noizy is just a sweet dog. He’s so loving and friendly, and it’s really been fun to watch him over the week. I think being an indoor pet suits him well.

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A funny thing happened on our afternoon walk…

The sun is out this afternoon, and temperatures are kind of pleasant outside today. Arran missed yesterday’s walk because it was yucky outside and I was waiting for a package that never arrived. The package still hasn’t arrived yet, but I couldn’t miss the chance for some fresh air and exercise. Walks are also when Arran does his business best, otherwise we run the risk of him going in inappropriate places at inappropriate times.

On the way out of the house, Arran and I ran into our landlady. We don’t talk to her very often because her husband handles most of the business with us. We learned from the landlord that his wife’s brother built the house we’re living in. Our landlord then joked that he gets called “slumlord” a lot, but Bill told him this is the nicest house we’ve ever lived in. I think I agree with him. We’ve lived in a few houses we’ve enjoyed for various reasons, but overall, I think this one is in the best shape. The only place I absolutely hated in all ways was our apartment in Fredericksburg, Virginia. It was the true epitome of a dump, along with inconsiderate neighbors, high crime, and shitty infrastructure. For that dump, we paid about $900 a month in 2003. By contrast, the house we’re in now is the most expensive of any we’ve ever lived in. But, for the most part, it’s completely worth it… and not just because it‚Äôs a nice house, but because we are treated respectfully, like adults with the right to privacy. It‚Äôs also a very comfortable home with many nice amenities and no one freaking out over dog hair in the doorway.

One nice thing about our current landlords is that they don’t mind dogs. Arran went over to say hello to the landlady. She gave him a pat and asked about Zane. I told her that he’d died. I’m sure they were wondering, but probably didn’t know how to bring it up. I mentioned that maybe we’d have a new dog after the holidays. She nodded in agreement, which makes me feel good. A few weeks ago, one of our elderly neighbors asked about Zane, and remarked that the dogs are like our children. That’s definitely true in our case. I was kind of happy that he’d asked, since I never know how the neighbors feel about our dogs. It seems like they’re well liked in this neighborhood. Obviously, Zane has been missed, and not just by Bill and me.

So we did our usual loop, and on our way through the messy field by the Rewe, I noticed an older lady coming down the hill with a little Yorkie. The Yorkie was off lead, which usually makes me nervous, since you never know how dogs will act when they first meet each other. The little dog came running up to Arran, who was whining and shrieking, trying to make contact. The lady smiled at me as our dogs sniffed. Her little dog was so cute, dodging, barking at Arran, yet curious and wanting to sniff my hand. I said to the dog, “Hello… aren’t you cute?”

Then the lady laughed and said, “You’re American?”

“Yes!” I responded, with a giggle.

“Me too!” she laughed.

We shared another awkward moment, then said goodbye. What are the odds?

I’ve heard there are a number of Americans here in Breckenheim. I know there’s a little hotel and there are a couple of Air BnBs here, too, where people have stayed until they find housing. This was the first time I’ve bumped into an American while walking the dog near my home in any of the three places in Germany I’ve lived so far. Or maybe I have run into them, but because I pass for German and so do a lot of other Americans, I just didn’t know it.

Anyway, it was kind of a funny encounter. Maybe we’ll run into each other again sometime. I hope so, since I think Arran and her dog may be buddies now. I love how our dogs serve as such excellent canine ambassadors. I’ve met a lot of nice people in Germany thanks to my dogs.

Today also happens to be the seventh anniversary of losing MacGregor, who was Arran’s predecessor. MacGregor was such a wonderful dog. He was best friends with Bill, who was probably the only man he ever liked. I can’t believe it’s been seven years already since we lost him. Time flies!

MacGregor, posing on our well-loved loveseat at our very first German house… Our first German house was almost as beautiful as the one we’re in now. We lost MacGregor in Raleigh, North Carolina seven years ago today. Canine cancer sucks!
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Bill goes GoLYTELY into the good night…

Bill and I just enjoyed a 24 hour adventure in Landstuhl at the Army’s Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, the biggest U.S. military medical facility outside of the United States. As an Air Force brat and Army wife, I had heard about this place many times. A few of my friends were born at Landstuhl, as well as Bill’s former stepson, and a few children of friends. Today’s experience was the first time I had ever been there myself. I must say, I was rather impressed with it. For a military hospital, it’s pretty damned nice.

Anyway, as is my habit, I’ve decided to write up this tale, since we did stay in a very no frills hotel near the installation. I came along with Bill to drive him home, since he’s currently under the influence of sedatives and muscle relaxants. I drove our new Volvo for the first time yesterday, even though we’ve had it since July. I am proud to say that I managed to drive it home with ease today, too. Actually, it drives like a dream. Makes me think it might be time to trade in my Mini. I might even drive more often if I had a car like that.

Bill stopped to get Euros at our Rewe. Pictured above is the brand new drink market that opened a couple of weeks ago. A year ago, that was a field. The adjoining store is being renovated and will reopen on the 5th.

Landstuhl is maybe a 90 minute drive from Wiesbaden. I kind of like it out that way. It’s pretty, and reminds me a little of Baden-W√ľrttemberg, minus the hellacious Staus. Because I had never driven the Volvo before, Bill drove part of the way and then I got a test drive. I finally understand, now, when Bill talks about the view he gets on the windshield, which shows his speed and the speed limit. As a passenger, I can’t see it, but it’s easy to see in the driver’s seat. Of course, I still found myself speeding a lot, since that car drives as smoothly as silk. It’s like driving your living room. We pulled over at Burger King so I could eat. Bill wasn’t allowed to. While we were there, I noticed that they were selling burgers with some kind of truffle sauce. I hate truffles, but even if I liked them, what in the hell would possess me to buy anything with truffles on them at Burger King or any other fast food joint? Seems kind of crazy to me. I also noticed they were selling the dreaded lava cakes.

We got to Landstuhl during the afternoon and stopped by the hospital so Bill could check in. I was surprised by how quiet it was, as well as how large the installation is. Bill got a number from the automated machine, but it wasn’t really necessary. No one else was there.

It was so quiet in the hospital… almost eerie.
Even the emergency room was quiet. It looked like it was going to snow yesterday, but today it’s sunny and bright.

Because we had to be at the hospital early, Bill was advised to book a room. He chose the Hotel Pfefferm√ľhle & Flammerie, a very simple, very German hotel with a restaurant that only serves Flammkuechen, otherwise known as Alsatian pizza. Because we were there on a Sunday and the restaurant is only open on weeknights, we didn’t get to try the pizza. In fact, we had to call the proprietor to come open the door for us so we could check in.

Our room was pretty small, but immaculately clean, and a good deal at 80 euros for the night. I noticed all of the rooms were named after local towns, which seemed an interesting touch, given how no frills the hotel was. I’m sure they get a lot of business from people like Bill, who live in Germany but need local lodging to access the hospital on the Army post. I think we might have gotten one of the better rooms. It had a shared balcony that overlooked the street in front of it and the generous parking lot, where there is free parking for guests.

We had a little time before the witching hour of 6:00pm, when Bill was to start drinking his GoLYTELY. Because he’s a sweetheart, he went out and got me snacks, wine, and beer. We brought most of it home, although the Cheetos came in handy while I watched TLC reality TV programs dubbed into German. Later, he realized that the two rolls of toilet paper provided by the hotel would also be insufficient. He went out to get some more. It turned out to be Charmin, and we also had leftovers of that. However, I think this house can handle Charmin, while our last house could not.

Dinner… for me, at least.
Finally, it was time to flush Bill’s innards…

Bill had to drink half of that jug at 6:00pm and the rest at 3:00am. He said it didn’t actually taste that bad. It was kind of chemically with a salty aftertaste. He chilled it, added Crystal Light, and drank quickly. I’m proud to say that he managed to finish the whole thing without throwing up. And I don’t think things were that “explosive”, either. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be, anyway. He brought a book and his iPad, but I don’t think he had to camp out on the toilet. In fact, aside from getting chilled, he was even able to sleep.

I had the usual German breakfast of cold cuts, Brotchen, and a boiled egg, washed down with juice and peppermint tea. Bill watched.

We showed up at the clinic at about 8:00am. A cheerful nurse greeted Bill quickly and he was went on with the procedure. I ended up chatting with a lady who had accompanied her friend, who works at Ramstein and is about to retire. A few other unlucky folks showed up… I’m assuming most of them were there for the same reason.

Two hours after our arrival, Bill was done. A very kind looking nurse gave me the post op instructions, as well as a detailed printout of what happened during the procedure and full color pictures of Bill‚Äôs colon. I signed the form indicating that I’d be responsible for getting Bill home, and off we went. Aside from some confusion as to how to get on the Autobahn and a couple of impatient parking space lurkers, it went off without a hitch. Bill’s scope was clean; he doesn’t need to have another done for ten years; and he’s now sound asleep. I think I’ll join him.

Will I have myself scoped? Probably not. Bill says he’ll make me go, but I kind of doubt it. Should I have it done? Probably… but I can’t be arsed.

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Big business in Poland, part two

Although we spent Saturday, the 16th, in Frankfurt, our big business trip to Poland officially began on Sunday, November 17th. We spent a luxurious anniversary night at the Jumeirah Frankfurt Hotel, for which I have already written a TripAdvisor review. I tried to upload my photos with that review, but it was taking way too long on the hotel’s WiFi.

The Jumeirah Frankfurt hotel is part of a chain based in the United Arab Emirates, so it’s a very Muslim friendly hotel. Personally, I found that a very interesting touch. It was definitely not like typical upscale German hospitality. Everyone on staff spoke English and all seemed very eager to please. From the moment of our arrival until we checked out, we got great service. The only real hiccup was when we ate dinner in the dining room, Max One Grillroom. Our waiter was very kind and hardworking, but seemed a bit inexperienced and unsure about wine service. However, having waited tables myself, I know there’s a first time for everything. I have faith he’ll catch on and do just fine.

I prepaid the room, which was about middle of the road for what they offer. It was about $400, but less expensive options are certainly available. Remember this was for our anniversary. Adding in dinner and drinks the bar, plus valet parking and taxes, we had about 300 euros left to pay at checkout.

The Jumeirah Frankfurt is attached to a shopping mall. On the top floor is “Foodtopia”, which is supposed to be some kind of high powered food court. I wasn’t impressed by it, mainly because it was very loud and crowded. However, Americans might be interested in it, because that’s where Chipotle Grill is. I have never eaten at Chipotle myself, but I do remember when we lived in Stuttgart, people spoke of driving all the way to Frankfurt to get their “fix”. Seems a bit extreme to me!

We didn’t manage to eat lunch before we left the house on Saturday, so we made a quick stop at Buena Vista Restaurant, which is right across from the Jumeirah Frankfurt Hotel. We chose it because they serve tapas and wine. I didn’t want a lot before dinner, just enough to chase off the low blood sugar blues. We ended up with too much, anyway… but here are a few photos. I had garlic soup, which was pretty good, but a little too rich.

After we checked out of the hotel on Sunday morning, we made our way to hellish Frankfurt Airport. Bill had pre-arranged parking in a business lot. That was a real blessing, since trying to park in other areas can be quite the nightmare. I had booked a business class seat on our flight, while Bill was booked in coach. Had I known we’d be on a tiny airplane, I would not have bothered. As it was, I got bumped from business class and sat with Bill in an exit row. Supposedly, Lufthansa will give me 90 euros back on my credit card someday.

Having the business class ticket was useful in that it got me through security quickly and it got my bag off the plane first. Unfortunately, Bill and I got split up, since the economy security line was loaded with people. He got to the gate before I did, since I waited for him not knowing he was already through the line. Then, we had to take a long bus ride all the way out to the cargo area to get to our rinky dink airplane… which happened to be full of people who were also going to Bill’s conference in Wroclaw. In fact, there were so many Americans aboard that the staff at the airport asked Bill what was up.

I don’t think so, but keep trying.

The flight itself was okay. It took about an hour. I was glad I at least got to sit with Bill. I suspect I’ll be bumped on the way back to Frankfurt, too. One thing I do miss about Stuttgart is the airport, which is much smaller and less chaotic than Frankfurt Airport is. Frankfurt Airport generally puts me in a bad mood because shit just doesn’t work there. We had to use self check in and self baggage drop, and neither worked properly for me, so I had to find a customer service person anyway. I wish they’d just employ people and not force the clueless to try to use their poorly calibrated machines that need more printing ink. Oh… and I wish they’d not oversell their flights, too… but I guess everyone is doing it.

More in the next post.

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Michelin starred birthday dinner at Ente in Wiesbaden!

Thursday, June 20th, was my birthday.  It was also Corpus Christi, one of the many religious holidays celebrated in parts of Germany at this time of year.  And, it was also a work night for Bill, who needs his beauty sleep as much as possible these days.  Consequently, we celebrated my birthday last night instead of on my actual birthday.

Ever since we moved to Wiesbaden a few months ago, we’ve heard many great things about its only Michelin starred restaurant, Ente.  Actually, the first time I heard of Ente was last fall, when Bill and I had “top flight” cuisine at Stuttgart’s high class airport restaurant, Top Air.  That night, we enjoyed the services of a very particular sommelier who fussed over us all evening.  He got his training at Ente many years ago.  Ente is affiliated with the Nassauer Hof, a beautiful hotel in downtown Wiesbaden.

Ente is the German word for duck, and yes, you can have duck there if you wish.  They’ll cook a whole bird for you, complete with heart, liver, and everything else that comes with a living creature before it gets slaughtered.  Bill and I like duck, but we weren’t feeling that adventurous about eating organ meats.  Besides, Chef Michael Kammermeier, who joined Ente in 2008, had other delights to choose from.  There was a menu that featured a dish from each of the chefs, and we had a choice of four to six courses.  Ente also has a “bistro”, which looks less formal and expensive and serves French and Italian cuisine.  We’ll have to try it sometime.

Originally, we were going to take a cab to and from the restaurant, so Bill could relax and enjoy more wine.  But when Bill called for a cab, the closest one was in Frankfurt and would take about thirty-five minutes to get to us.  We decided to take our 2006 Toyota RAV 4 for its final spin as a datemobile, as today we’re driving it to Kaiserslautern and trading it in at the Volvo dealership.  Next week, we fly to Sweden to pick up our new ride.

Here are some pictures and light commentary about last night’s birthday bash.

As we approached… we ended up entering through the bistro, which caused us to take a quick tour through the interior of both restaurants.

Our reservation was for 7:00pm, but we got there a little early.  We were the first ones seated.  The weather was absolutely perfect!  We had a nice view of the Kurhaus, too, where Elton John recently performed.

A smartly attired young woman was our sommelier.  She poured me a glass of vintage rose Champagne.  Bill had an expertly prepared Campari with soda.

Next came the welcome amuse– a raspberry gazpacho with olive oil that tasted like raspberry tomatoes…  a truffle falafel (which I actually ate), duck liver that tasted like cherries, and… I’m not sure I remember what was in the little bowl.  I’m pretty sure it was fish.

Butter with salt and a duck shaped mold of duck “schmalz” to go with…
four kinds of wonderfully fresh bread… Bill liked the duck fat, while I mostly stuck with butter.  I did love the duck shaped mold, though.  We ordered a lovely bottle of Kessler Riesling from the Rheingau that tasted eerily of a sour apple Jolly Rancher, minus the sweetness.  The sommelier was very good about keeping our glasses filled.

I started with the asparagus salad, which had a delightful dollop of sorrel flavored ice cream in the middle.  That was a surprise!  The asparagus was so beautifully arranged, in perfectly cut green and white stalks.  This was a nice beginning.
But I think I liked Bill’s first course even more.  It was king fish ceviche with mango salsa and peppers, along with little “chips” on top.  It popped with flavor.  

Next came the pea ravioli, which was served with coconut foam.  The peas were very fresh and sweet.  Several were in their pods to go with the three homemade raviolis stuffed with pea puree.
Bill’s next dish was tiger trout, which looked a whole lot like salmon and was served with a beautifully presented medley of vegetables and foam.

We each had a scoop of Champagne flavored sorbet to cleanse the palate…

Then it was time for the main courses.  Bill had Loup de Mer, which is basically European sea bass.  It was served with deconstructed ratatouille and jus.
I had Spanish dry aged entrecote.  Originally, this would have been a tri tip of Waygu beef, but they did not have Waygu beef available.  My dish came with a Caesar salad, served on a heart of Romaine with black olives and tomatoes, mashed potatoes, jus, and of course, Bearnaise.  Yes, it’s a tiny portion, but remember we were eating four courses.  The steak was mostly cooked to medium and, to be honest, I’ve had better beef.  I think I liked Bill’s main dish more.

We both had the Strawberry Fields dessert, which was probably my favorite of all of the courses.  It was basically like a very thin layer of chocolate cake with cream, crumbles, and very sweet strawberries.

Just before they brought out the bill, we had chocolates and fruit.  I had a glass of Chianti with it.
Bill ponders the bill…  Glad he brought his credit card.

They brought me a little gift to take home…
A little cake!  And look, it has candles, too!

Total damage for this meal was about 359 euros.  Bill rounded up to 400 euros.  For any Americans reading this who think that was a crappy tip, remember we’re in Germany, where wait staff actually get paid by their employers.  They don’t require or expect a 20 percent tip.  
Overall, our experience at Ente was a very pleasant meal coupled with excellent service.  It was not the BEST I’ve ever had… Actually, I think my favorite restaurant experiences in Germany so far have both been at the now defunct Alte Post in the little Black Forest town of Nagold, of all places.  I had the pleasure of dining in their formal dining room twice and left there both times absolutely floored by how wonderful the meals and service were.  Unfortunately, Alte Post, and its more casual sister restaurant, Luz Bistro, had to close last fall due to a lack of qualified service personnel.  I was sad to see it close, even though we’ve since moved away from the Nagold area.  It really was a fantastic restaurant.
I’ve also had meals in Wiesbaden I liked more than what we had at Ente.  Martino Kitchen immediately comes to mind.  The presentations at Ente were exquisite and the service was divine, but I guess my selections last night just didn’t thrill me as much as some at other places have.  However, I would definitely visit Ente again and try other selections, which very well could shock me like Alte Post did.
A kid doing cartwheels nearby.
A view of the terrace as we were leaving.
Kurhaus.  

Manic looking ad for a dentist who does implants.
Big ass van parked next to us…  Look, it’s a Ford!  Donald Trump was wrong about Germans not owning American cars.  This was a model produced in Europe.
Glad our new car has parking assist.  It’s not easy getting out of a parking spot with something this huge blocking one’s view.
The dogs were delighted to see us!
Well, that’s another birthday down the tubes!


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Jettingen who? New discoveries in nature and more Breckenheimer rock n’ roll!

Last night turned out to be unexpectedly awesome. ¬†After we came home from Idstein, we decided to hang out with the dogs for awhile. ¬†Then, at about 6:00pm, the Breckenheimer Bikers were back to continue their fest. ¬†I asked Bill if he wanted to go. ¬†He said “sure”, so we walked to the area where they had set up their booths and tables. ¬†The weather was better, so there were a lot more people. ¬†It looked like they had different food, too.

Then Bill wanted to see if there was anything going on at the Dorfplatz, which is where they always have the wine stands every other Friday night. ¬†Nothing was going on there, but we decided to keep walking. ¬†I’m ashamed to say that in seven months of living in this town, I haven’t explored it much. ¬†I don’t know why. ¬†When I was younger, I’d always walk around my new neighborhoods to make new discoveries. ¬†I usually have the dogs with me, though, and our new town doesn’t have very good sidewalks, since it’s very densely populated. ¬†I guess I figured the area was too congested for them, making it hard to dodge cars.

We walked down Dorfgasse, which is the main drag, passed the antiques dealer, a Kurheil practitioner, a pension, a bakery, an architect, and a druggist with a gynecologist’s office attached to it. ¬†Aside from the bakery and the druggist, I had no idea the other stuff was even there. ¬†We also passed a bunch of guys sitting in their garage, drinking beer, and having a party.

Then we saw a country road on the edge of the neighborhood. ¬†Yes… Breckenheim is on the edge of the country, and we discovered a large park where we can take walks with the dogs. ¬†Perhaps my days of walking them in the poo and dildo infested fields near the Autobahn and the Rewe are over. ¬†Here are some photos from our walk.

This looks familiar… our old town of Jettingen had a similar sign asking people to pick up their dogs’ crap.

Turns out there’s a pretty big walking area, complete with orchards.

There’s even a woods!

 

After a few minutes of walking, we came across a small paddock where a group of ponies were enjoying some hay. ¬†I call them ponies, but they might have been miniature horses. ¬†I mean, they’d be ponies because of their height alone, but they had the more delicate features of horses, with a lighter bone structure. I don’t have much experience with minis, although I have plenty of experience with ponies. ¬†Whatever they officially were, I was delighted to see them! ¬†I spent most of my childhood around horses and even used to have my own pony. ¬†It’s been too many years since I last had a horse in my life. ¬†They are wonderful company. ¬†I even miss their wonderful aroma.

 

One of the mares had a colt by her side. ¬†It looked like a couple of the others might also be expecting, although it’s a bit late in the year for that. ¬†They might have just been fat.

They were very friendly, although I didn’t dare try to pet them. ¬†I have a lot of experience with electric fences, too. ¬†I’m glad we walked up this way, since my dogs go nuts when they see horses. ¬†Now, if I try to walk them here, I’ll be forewarned.

The further we went down the road, the quieter and more bucolic the views were. ¬†I was reminded of the more country areas where we’ve previously lived in Baden-W√ľrttemberg. ¬†I’m really a country girl at heart, so finding out our new Hessian town has country scenes did my heart good. ¬†The one thing I’ve been missing about Jettingen are the beautiful wooded areas where I could walk my dogs. ¬†Now I’ve found Breckenheim’s version.

 

The church on the other side. ¬†I think there’s a concert there today. ¬†We might have to check it out.

 

On the way back to our neighborhood, we happened to pass by a tree as several birds of prey had engaged in what appeared to be a violent attack. ¬†I grabbed my camera and tried to film them in action, but was just a little too late to capture the fight. ¬†But then I saw something strange. ¬†A bird was hanging upside down by one talon. ¬†It hung there for an agonizing minute as we looked on, wondering if it was just stunned. ¬†I filmed the bird and my German friend told me it was an¬†Eichelh√§her, otherwise known as an Eurasian Jay. ¬†It bore a slight resemblance to our blue jays. ¬†Just after I turned off the camera, the jay lost its desperate grip on the branch and dropped to the ground. ¬†It was still alive when we left it, but I doubt for much longer. ¬†I was a little sad about witnessing that scene, but unfortunately, it’s the way of nature.

By the time we got back to our street, the fest had exploded. ¬†Most of the tables were full of people drinking beer, Sekt, Aperol spritzes, and Jack Daniels. ¬†There were several bands, all of which were quite good. ¬†Our landlord and his wife were there, having a good time. ¬†I like them both, although I haven’t really spent much time talking to them. ¬†Our new landlady doesn’t speak much English, but she’s always very friendly and seems happy to see us. ¬†The landlord seems to like Bill, and he speaks more English– likewise, Bill speaks more German than I do. ¬†We said hello and watched a few acts. ¬†The landlord said they usually do this fest every year, although some years they’ve skipped it. ¬†I’m glad we were around for it this year.

The bikers put on a hell of a party!  I remember Jettingen had events too, but none like this.  A lot of the fests in Jettingen were religious or agricultural.

Cheers!

I got video of a couple of them, which maybe I’ll turn into something I can share here. ¬†I did think to take a few pictures, especially of an enthusiastic gentleman who danced to several well covered classic rock songs. ¬†The group before the rock band consisted of four very talented men singing a cappella in surprisingly good harmony. ¬†I am myself a singer, so I know how hard to can be to stay on pitch when you sing unaccompanied. ¬†They did a really good job of it. ¬†I was especially impressed by their version of “The Bonnie Banks o’ Loch Lomond”. ¬†For some reason, Germans seem to love Scotland, just like I do… ¬†I got some raw video, which I might turn into something sharable at some point.

This guy was dancing his ass off.

This dude sounded like a mix of Bon Scott and Meatloaf.  He was singing songs by Foreigner, Billy Idol, and Bob Seger, among others.  His female partner covered a Bryan Adams song and Pink.  They were surprisingly good.

They brought up a young girl… a family member, perhaps, who joined them on the Bryan Adams number, “I Need Somebody.”

This guy was awesome.  He was inspiring people to cut loose.

We went back home and Bill cooked burgers on the new grill. ¬†The party went on down the street. ¬†At about 10:45pm, they set off some fireworks– maybe a minute or two’s worth. ¬†At about 11, the party was over. ¬†All in all, from Idstein to party time, our Saturday was amazing. ¬†I’m not sure what we’re going to do today, but we sure did have a great day yesterday!

Fireworks!

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A day in Bacharach…

After last week’s trip to Eppstein to see the castle, I thought maybe we might want to go to another castle this week.  But Bill had other plans.  Elton John is going to be playing a concert tonight in Wiesbaden and since we saw him in Stuttgart and have no desire to sit in Staus from Hell again, we decided to avoid the city.  Remembering a lovely day we spent in the Rhein-side hamlet of Bacharach, back in 2014, Bill decided we should visit there again.  I was game.  Bacharach has the distinction of being the very first German town I ever laid eyes on, back in 1997.  It’s an adorable place, even if there’s not a lot to it.

On the edge of town.

We didn’t really do a lot in Bacharach other than wander around, take pictures, eat lunch, and have beer at a Biergarten.  We were blessed with wonderful weather– much better than what we had when we visited in 2014.  I don’t have much to write… but I do have lots of pictures.  Feast your eyes on this cute little historic town, located about an hour away from Wiesbaden.  It’s nice to be so close!

If castles are your thing, you could do worse than visiting Bacharach or any of the other cute little towns near it, like St. Goar.  There are many castles around the area.  I caught these photos on the ways in and out of town.

Lots of pretty vineyards, too.  Bacharach’s Schloss is now a youth hostel that sits majestically on a hillside overlooking the town.

You can see the hostel in the background.  I stayed in a lot of hostels during my 1997 epic train trip through Europe, but I didn’t stay at Bacharach’s.  I think I was intimidated by the climb up the hill.  Bacharach’s hostel is in the historic Burg Stahleck Castle, which dates back to the 12th century.

When I stayed in Bacharach, I stayed at the Hans Dettmar B&B.  I was excited because the room came with a shower and a WC.  My standards have changed a lot since 1997, but so has my budget.

Our first order of business was to find something to eat.  Bacharach was busy with tourists today, most of whom were sitting outside.  We didn’t necessarily want to eat outside, although on a warmer day, it’s nice to be in the open air.  I have to balance wanting to be cool and wanting to stay out of the sun.  We ended up having lunch at a garlicky smelling place called Pizzeria Pippo (or Pippo Bistro, depending on what sign you’re reading).  Based on the decorations on the walls, I would guess it’s owned by Sicilians.
Cheers!
They had lasagne on the menu that looked tempting, but they weren’t offering it today.  I had spaghetti with “Lachs”– salmon and onions.  It was okay, though I have had better.
Bill went with the daily special, housemade tagliatelle with tomatoes, herbs, and cream sauce.  He seemed to enjoy his dish more than I liked mine.  

While we were sitting there, an English speaking group of 7 showed up.  They were making special requests.  Kudos to the waitress for handling it so well.  I think if we go there again, I’ll try a pizza.  They have a stone oven and the sizes looked manageable.  As it was, I managed about half of my dish, while Bill finished his.  We spent 37 euros.
After lunch, we wandered around… toured a church, strolled by the river, and wished we had more time to take a cruise.  The breeze coming off of the Rhein was lovely.
Check out those pipes!
This is different.  I probably would have kept going to church if we’d had one of these where I used to attend.
Literature lovers will enjoy this…
Another shot of the hostel/castle.
Boat schedule.  We’ll have to make a point of coming up and spending more than a couple of hours.  
The town itself is super cute.  And if you want to buy some wine, you can easily accomplish that.
I would actually love to find a little vacation apartment and come up for a long weekend with the dogs.  Bacharach is not that far from Wiesbaden, but it feels like a world away…  this is the kind of place we love to visit on weekends.  The Black Forest area is chock full of them, but we’re still trying to make discoveries up here in Rheinland.
We stopped at a Biergarten– the Kleines Brauhaus at the Rhein Theater— where we had a memorable afternoon in 2014.  We happened to visit on German Father’s Day, and there were many fathers and sons at this Biergarten, getting loaded and singing songs…  It was such a special memory for us that we decided to go back.
They had a full house.  We had to wait for someone to vacate a table under the carousel canopy.  One young lady– looked about seventeen or so– was bravely handling all of the orders.  She was remarkably chilled out. 
I had a Bacchusweizen Krug.  When it arrived, the Germans at the next table looked at me with bemusement.  Maybe it’s not very ladylike to order a liter of beer.  Maybe it’s not smart, either, since it will get warm if you don’t drink it fast enough.  Believe me, I’m up to the task.  This beer was a little bitter.  I liked Bill’s 1489 Dunkelweizen better.
In the foyer of the theater.  I took this same photo in 2014, which you can see on the post I linked at the beginning of this post.  I see they’ve added a safety vest.  
Someone started up this calliope.  Pretty cool!
I do like the Rhein Terrasse.  We didn’t make any new friends here this time, like we did in 2014, but it was still a pleasant place to kill an hour or so, before we decided to go home and feed the dogs.

We’re supposed to have similarly beautiful weather tomorrow.  Maybe we’ll visit that castle I was thinking about.  Or maybe we’ll do something else entirely.  I’m just glad we aren’t sitting in traffic.
On the way out…
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The Eagles sure didn’t stink in Cologne… part 1

Last October, as Bill and I were preparing for our big move from Stuttgart to Wiesbaden, I found out that the Eagles, one of my favorite bands of all time, was going to be playing two dates in Germany in 2019.  2018 was our summer of concerts.  We saw The Rolling Stones in Stuttgart, Paul Simon, Bonnie Raitt, and James Taylor (all at one show) in Dublin, Roger Hodgson in Stuttgart, and the Irish Folk Festival in Stuttgart.  I also knew we were going to be seeing Elton John in Stuttgart in May 2019.

Given that we’d already spent so much money on shows and knowing that a move always requires more spending, I hesitated slightly before I bought the tickets.  When we go to concerts, they usually turn into major spending events.  I usually book us a nice hotel, so we don’t have to worry about driving far to get to the venue or trying to park (although we made the mistake of driving to the Elton John show).  I also don’t bother with “nosebleed” seats.  There was a time when those were the best seats I could afford, but now I want to sit closer, which always means more money.

I asked Bill what he thought about seeing the Eagles, even though the band’s legendary frontman, Glenn Frey, passed away in January 2016.  After some thought, Bill was okay with attending the show.  Now it was time to choose a city.  I had a choice between Cologne and Munich.

We had been in Cologne once before, back in May 2012, when we took our very first Space A military “hop”.  I remember we stayed at the Ibis in the train station, which was fine for a night when we were totally exhausted, but probably wouldn’t do now that I’m older and richer.  I also know Munich is expensive, since we did a blind booking out of Cologne on Germanwings (now known as Eurowings) during that same Space A hop and got Munich.  Don’t get me wrong– Munich is so much fun; but it’s super pricey.  Even average hotels down there cost a mint.  Munich is also further away from us, now that we’re in Wiesbaden.

Both of the shows were on work nights, but the Cologne show was the day after Memorial Day, so we decided it would be easiest to go to Cologne.  Bill would use up one less vacation day, and both the concert tickets and the lodging were less expensive than Munich.  Now that we’ve been back to Cologne, I can say that we’ll probably go there for more shows.  Not only was it super easy to get to the concert venue, it’s also super easy to get to Cologne from where we live.  And, as a bonus, we discovered an amazing hotel in the Excelsior Hotel Ernst!  As long as we can afford it, I think the Excelsior Hotel Ernst has effectively ended our Ibis days in Cologne.

This trip was also important, because it provided an excellent opportunity for our dogs to try out a new doggy pension.  When we lived in Stuttgart, we used Dog on Holiday, which I would absolutely recommend to anyone.  In fact, we’ve decided that anytime we need to go to or through Stuttgart with our dogs, we will try to have them stay with Max and Christine.  But it wasn’t practical to take the boys to Dog on Holiday from Wiesbaden, so we needed to find a place for them closer to our new town.  In February, we visited the Tierpension Birkenhof, and arranged for our boys to have their first stay during this quick trip to Cologne.

 

I got us fifth row seats!

 

With all of the arrangements made, we set off for the “city of pleasant smells” on Monday of this week– Memorial Day.  Since our hotel was super close to the train station and the train station had a stop near Cologne’s Lanxess Arena, which was where the Eagles would be “crying”, we decided to take the Inner City Express (ICE) train from the Frankfurt Airport.  The Tierpension Birkenhof is fairly convenient to the airport, although not as convenient as Max’s pension is to the Stuttgart airport.

 

 

 

The Tierpension Birkenhof was recommended to Bill by one of his co-workers.  It’s always interesting to see the differences in the “doggy hotels” in Germany.  When we were in Stuttgart the first time, we used to use Hunde Hotel Haase, which was a beautiful facility in Bad Niedernau, a very country hamlet south of Stuttgart.  Kiersten, the  lady who ran it back in those days, was absolutely awesome.  But, when we came back to Stuttgart in 2014, she’d left and took the hotel’s good reputation with her.  We used the Hunde Hotel Haase a couple more times, but kept hearing horror stories about dogs that were left there.  That’s when we switched to Dog on Holiday, which has been universally great, despite it’s somewhat urban location.

 
 

Tierpension Birkenhoff is a rather large facility that cares for dogs and cats.  It’s located in a somewhat suburban area, yet it’s near farmland.  The owner doesn’t accept VAT forms, and we haven’t yet met him.  We have met two of his employees, both of whom seemed very kind.  

 

I have noticed that each German dog facility has its quirks.  At the Birkenhoff, you’re not allowed to bring your own dog bed.  I’m not sure exactly why this is… I think it’s because the other doesn’t want to have to worry about the owners’ beds getting dirty.  Nevertheless, it does make things somewhat more convenient for us, since we’re about to trade in our RAV 4 SUV for a Volvo SUV and will probably have to bring the dogs in my Mini Cooper next time they stay.  Mini Coopers are small.  Dog beds take up a lot of space.

 

Frankfurt Airport train station to Cologne Messe

 

Once the dogs were dropped off, we made our way to the Frankfurt Airport.  Bill had reserved parking with ACS at the airport, which turned out to be very convenient, once we figured out where P4 was.  The reserved spots are reasonably priced and located near the terminal, so there’s no need to haul heavy bags long distances from far away lots.  Frankfurt Airport is a bit more confusing than Stuttgart Airport is.  It’s huge, and finding parking can be super confusing and annoying.  But now that we know where the ACS parking is, I’m sure we’ll use it all the time.  It really made parking super easy.

 

Frankfurt Airport also has a big train station, making it easy to access a lot of cities.  If we had left from Wiesbaden, it would have taken a lot more time, required us to park in the parking garage from Hell, and we would have needed to change trains at least once.  From Frankfurt Airport, it was a straight shot to Cologne.  

 
 

I like how, in Germany, “bullshit” isn’t a bad word.  You’ll even see it on billboards.

 

We had time for lunch, so we stopped at a restaurant called Little Italy, not to be confused with the Little Italy in Wiesbaden, which has become one of our favorite Sunday lunch stops.  The Little Italy at the airport is in the shopping area called The Squaire.  It’s not long on ambiance, but the food and service are good.

 
Mmm…  food!
 
 

Bill went vegetarian with spaghetti and fresh vegetables, tossed in a little olive oil and washed down with a tempranillo.

 

I had a very lovely tagliatelle salmone.  The salmon was cooked to perfection and melted in my mouth.  I love salmon that isn’t overcooked, and they did a really good job with this.  However, I probably would have preferred about half this much food.  

 

With lunch sorted, we headed down to the platform where we’d catch our train to Cologne.  But then, about ten minutes before we were to depart, our original train was cancelled due to some people on the tracks.  Don’t ask me what that means.  I have no idea.  Bill ran up to the Deutsche Bahn (DB) information kiosk, where he was advised that we should take another train. 

 

Instead of dropping us directly at the Cologne Hauptbahnhof, would go to the Cologne Messe stop.  That would require us to take a city train one stop over the Rhein River.  The nice thing about the train we took was that it went directly from Frankfurt to Cologne, with no stops.  It was also practically empty, which was a good thing, since changing trains also erased our seat reservations.  Within an hour, we were whisked to Cologne, having flown past beautiful scenery at about 280 kph.

 

I was surprised by how fast our trip from Frankfurt to Cologne was on the ICE train.  It was also very comfortable, since the train has clean toilets and a restaurant.  We did not use the restaurant during our trip to Cologne, but it was nice to have had the option.

 

 

Bill checks the schedule…

 

This is the life.  First class all the way.  Second class probably would have been fine, too.

 

We could have taken a more leisurely train to Cologne and probably saved some money, but this was a really nice way to get where we were going.  It’s been too long since our last train trip.  I think we need to take them more often.

 

It was a simple thing to take the S-bahn over the Rhein River to get to Cologne’s main station, home of the city’s majestic Dom and our hotel, the Excelsior Hotel Ernst.  

 

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An underwhelming late lunch at Chillers in Wiesbaden…

Bill needed time to bottle his latest homebrew and Zane got us both up at about 4:00am. ¬†Consequently, after a morning spent doing laundry, I laid down to read and fell fast asleep. ¬†By the time Bill was finished bottling, Zane, Arran, and I were all catching some Z’s. ¬†I finally woke up about about 1:45 or so, kinda late for lunch. ¬†Since we didn’t go out yesterday, we decided to try lunch at a place where there is no pause.

I generally make it a habit to steer clear of German “American” style restaurants, with the exception of those I know have a connection to an actual American person. ¬†However, I had seen Chillers at the Wiesbaden train station and was kind of intrigued by it. ¬†I kept getting suggestions to try it on Open Table. ¬†So, realizing that a lot of places would be closing soon for their pre-dinner pause, we decided to give it a try. ¬†I made a reservation for 3:00pm, but there was no need to do so. ¬†They had plenty of open tables.

Before I get too cranked up with my review, I must mention the truly confusing parking garage next to Wiesbaden’s train station. ¬†We had a hard time figuring out how to get out of it, since it’s Sunday and the garage is attached to a mall. ¬†The mall is closed and they don’t leave it open like they do the Schwabengarten in Vaihingen, and some other places we’ve been when we lived in Stuttgart. ¬†It took us about fifteen minutes to find the way out, since every exit had a sign that said it didn’t lead to the mall… not that we wanted the mall. ¬†We just wanted to escape the garage. ¬†I think we finally just said “fuck it” and picked a door to see where it would lead.

Out front.  They were setting up umbrellas for all the pale people avoiding the sun.

Anyway… ¬†Chillers is supposed to be a “Californian” beach bar. ¬†The bartenders were wearing t-shirts that read “Never leave the beach”. ¬†The waitresses were dressed in black. ¬†We heard both German and English spoken there. ¬†In fact, the staff all spoke excellent English.

The bar area.

Bill told them we had a reservation and the bartender joked that he wasn’t sure he could accommodate, as he pointed out all the open tables. ¬†A lot of people were sitting outside, since the weather is warmer today. ¬†I wanted to avoid the sun and cigarette smoking, so we decided to sit inside. ¬†I liked the music they were playing, which was one part hard driving rock, one part head banging metal. ¬†The inside of the restaurant appears to have been part of the train station, so the building has some character. ¬†It’s also a bit noisy inside, due to the high ceilings and hard floors.

Bill checks out the menu, which is chock full of burgers, quesadillas, ribs, chicken wings, and a few salads.

 

I got a kick out of the welcome, which started in English, welcoming everyone to California, then went to German.  The menu is in English and German.

Lots of burgers. ¬†They let you choose what kind of patty you want– beef or “gemischt”. ¬†Mixed there was half beef, half bacon.

We sat in a booth and I decided to have a Lynchburg Lemonade, which is basically lemonade with Jack Daniels. ¬†I don’t usually order mixed drinks, but I wasn’t in the mood for beer. ¬†Bill had a hefeweizen.

This Lynchburg Lemonade wasn’t bad. ¬†It was generously sized and potent. ¬†I noticed the non-alcoholic drinks were kind of pricey. ¬†For instance, Dr. Pepper was selling for over four euros a can.

 

Bill had a regular Weizen, also kind of pricey at about 4 euros.  I think my mixed drink was about 6 euros.

 

They also have American craft beers in bottles.

There was a large group of Americans in the restaurant and the wait staff had their hands full with them. ¬†Consequently, they were a little too busy to deal with us right away. ¬†That was alright, since we weren’t in a hurry. ¬†Then the group moved outside, which made things a bit more chaotic. ¬†The waitress was apologetic as she took our food orders. ¬†I had a “Social BBQ” quesadilla, which was a tortilla with chicken, guacamole, barbecue sauce, melted cheddar, melted Monterrey Jack cheese, and bacon. ¬†It came with a choice of sides– fries, garden salad, Caesar salad, or for a euro more, curly fries or sweet potato fries. ¬†I went with a small Caesar salad. ¬†Bill ordered a half rack of baby back ribs, with Californian jerk sauce, and fries.

Our food took a long time to get to us. ¬†After we’d been sitting for awhile without food, the waitress came over and apologized, explaining that the large group had put them behind. ¬†It was alright, since we were neither in a hurry nor particularly hungry. ¬†However, once the food arrived, I couldn’t help but notice that it wasn’t very hot and appeared to have been sitting for awhile. ¬†I wondered what it would have been like if they were dealing with that large crowd of Americans and the restaurant was actually full.

My barbecued chicken quesadillas. ¬†This was actually good, but not very fresh. ¬†Obviously, it sat for awhile before it got to me. ¬†The cheese was no longer very melted, and it was just warm. ¬†I could have complained, but I didn’t want to wait longer. ¬†I did enjoy it well enough. ¬†It would have been better if it had been hot.

 

Bill enjoyed his ribs, which had a bit of heat to them. ¬†They were saturated with sauce. ¬†He said he also liked the dip that came with the fries. ¬†I can’t comment on that, since I didn’t try it. ¬†I did try the ribs, which were pretty good. ¬†I did notice that the sauce tasted a lot like the sauce that was used on my quesadillas.

 

After we were finished eating, the waitress asked if we’d like an espresso on the house, since we’d had to wait. ¬†I missed that she was comping it and said I’d rather have a shot. ¬†She said that was fine. ¬†Bill then explained that these were freebies. ¬†It was no matter, since the shots were cheaper than an espresso or cappuccino would have been. ¬†I decided on Bailey’s. ¬†Bill had an espresso.

I was expecting a small shot glass, but she brought me a big glass with a healthy pour that looked watered down… but didn’t really taste watered down. ¬†

You can’t go wrong with espresso.
 

While we were waiting for the check, which came to about 34 euros, we noticed a man talking to the waitress. ¬†He was from the large group that had moved outside. ¬†We heard him apologizing and wanting to pay for ribs. ¬†She said something along the lines of what he was asking wasn’t allowed– I mean, I’m sure she would take his money, but it sounded like something else happened that was technically verboten.

I wasn’t sure what was happening, but her reaction and body language were definitely not what I’d expect from a restaurant in California. ¬†It was very German, in fact. ¬†But I can’t comment on who was in the right, since I’m not sure exactly what was going on. ¬†He seemed to be trying to smooth things over and she was kind of chastising him for something. ¬†Rather than stand back and rubberneck, Bill gave her 40 euros and said “Stimmt”, so we could get out of there and let them settle their dispute in peace.

We went back to the parking garage and proceeded to get off on the wrong floor, wandering around the garage for about ten or fifteen minutes in a fruitless search for my car.  I kept telling Bill I thought we were a level lower.  He finally listened to me and we found the Mini.  Very soon, that car will be the senior one in our fleet, as we send his Japanese SUV on to its next owner (in Africa or Asia maybe?) and start driving a Swedish SUV.

As we passed Chillers on the way home, we saw that same large group of Americans standing in a circle in front of the restaurant, appearing to be having a discussion with someone in charge.  It just occurred to me that the lady at the bus stop was posing!  

This election poster gave me pause.  It sounds a bit like MAGA.

It’s election time…

I didn’t think Chillers was horrible. ¬†It wasn’t as bad as Chili’s at Ramstein, for instance. ¬†I might give it another chance if the opportunity arose and I really wanted a German interpretation of American style junk food, although I don’t think I’d go out of my way to give it another try. ¬†I would have had a better impression if my food hadn’t been lukewarm and service had been a little more attentive. However, having once been a waitress myself, I understand that sometimes shit happens. ¬†I don’t hold it against her too much. ¬†It looked like that group might have been giving her a hard time.

Drinks were a bit pricey, but the food was reasonable. ¬†I just don’t want to park at the garage from hell again. ¬†Anyway… not my favorite local restaurant… could have been better… but it has its positives, too. ¬†Probably best for a young crowd. ¬†Bill pointed out that Erbenheim isn’t too far away. ¬†I’m sure American youths come by there often to get their chicken wing fixes.

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