Here’s a very quick post about last night’s wine stand, which was blessed with sunshine and relatively warm temperatures (for a change). Recently, we’ve been bringing Noyzi, the Kosovar wonderdog, to the wine stands. We hope to get him a little more socialized and used to crowds, noise, and people.
Noyzi has made a lot of progress since we adopted him in October 2020. When we first got Noyzi, he was afraid of most people, especially men. Now, he’s still a little nervous and skittish, but he clearly loves people and wants to interact. And he’s very gentle– not a single aggressive bone lies in his massive doggie body.
We probably would have gone to the wine stand last night, no matter what, but we did have a good reason to celebrate last night. Bill got a very nice raise yesterday. He gets them yearly, but this year, it was double the size of last year’s raise. So we definitely raised a glass or two to that.
We got to tell Noyzi’s story to a German couple who were intrigued by him. They spoke a little English, we spoke even less German, but we still managed to bond over our street dogs. It turned out the couple has one, too. I think they said theirs was from Romania.
Noyzi was pretty fidgety at the wine stand last night, but a quick walk around the Dorfplatz helped him calm down a bit. I think by the end of the summer, the wine stand will be old hat to Noyzi and he will be much better in public places. After about an hour, he was settling down enough that I thought he might even lie down, but we never quite made it to that point.
We met another guy with his big brown dog, Sam. Noyzi and Sam hit it off famously. As we were leaving, Noyzi made a point of saying goodbye to his new canine village friend. One thing that makes Noyzi good at the wine stand is that he’s relatively quiet. We seldom brought Zane and Arran to these events because they were both pretty loud and obnoxious, and they had each other to hang out with. Noyzi is a totally different kind of dog, and I think he will eventually become really good at these gatherings.
Below are a few photos from our excursion to the Dorfplatz… I also included a couple I took yesterday morning on our walk.
And here are a couple of short videos… One is of Noyzi as we were about to go to the wine stand, and the other is of our very full village brook, which is really rushing right now. I suspect that pretty soon, the heavy rain will stop, and the creek will be much shallower and slower.
On Friday, March 24, Bill and I made our way down to a very familiar city. We were both relieved to be on our way. The lead up to this trip had been very stressful, as our dog, Arran, was suffering from lymphoma, and we were very worried about the prospect of boarding him. He’d been physically healthy enough until the evening of March 16, when he suddenly had what appeared to be a stroke.
On the morning of the 17th, it was pretty clear that Arran was fixing to make his way to the Rainbow Bridge. We helped him on his way. While it was very sad to say goodbye to Arran, the timing of his passing was kind of fortuitous. It meant we wouldn’t be worried about him all weekend, as we were in the fall, when we visited Hotel Bareiss just after he was diagnosed with cancer.
March 24th was a rainy and chilly day. Noyzi was delighted to get to go to the Tierpension Birkenhof, though. He hadn’t been there since the fall, when we last went to see Dr. Blair. In November, we had our 20th wedding anniversary holiday, in Ribeauville, France. We took the dogs with us for that trip. For this trip, we needed to board Noyzi. I booked the Wald Hotel’s suite, and though the hotel is very dog friendly, the specific room we were staying in wasn’t, as it is carpeted. Luckily, Noyzi LOVES the hundepension. Arran used to like going there, but as he got older, he made it clear that he’d rather be with us. It was good that he didn’t have to endure a last stay there.
I got a video of Noyzi on his way to the “dog hotel”. He absolutely loves going there– as you can see! I was surprised to see that they’d done some renovation since we were last there, too. But Noyzi also likes coming home. Bill is going to go get him in an hour.
Once the dog was dropped off, we continued our journey south. I had suggested to Bill that we should stop for lunch in the town of Besigheim, a hamlet known for its wines. It’s just north of Ludwigsburg, a city in the Stuttgart area we used to visit all the time. We had never been to Besigheim before, but I decided it would make for a nice stop when I saw someone share photos of it in a local Facebook group. We didn’t have the best weather, but I did find the municipality to be very charming indeed. Better yet, it had plenty of cheap parking, and a garage that had a public restroom, which Bill really needed. 😉
I managed to get some photos, and then we had lunch at a historic restaurant on the main drag called Ratsstüble Besigheim. It appeared to be a local favorite, and we did have a nice lunch there. I think the waitress was kind of curious about us. Overall, we liked the lunch, although my fish was a little burnt on one side. Bill loved his salad, though.
I don’t think they get a lot of Americans in Besigheim, although I could be mistaken. My German friend says that one of Barack Obama’s forebears was born in that town in 1729. These days, it looks like it’s mostly known for being a place to buy lovely local wines. I’d like to go back, as I noticed a nice looking hotel, a wine bar, and some inviting looking shops. They also had several restaurants that were intriguing, and an Italian Feinkost (gourmet shop).
I would have liked to have stayed in Besigheim longer, but it was getting later in the afternoon and we were worried about traffic. It turns out we were right to be worried. Getting into Stuttgart via Heilbronn and state roads was a bit of a nutroll. There was tons of construction, as usual, as well as the annoying traffic patterns one often encounters in Stuttgart. But, after taking our usual route back today, we can say with all honesty, the Autobahn isn’t a whole lot better. 😉 There is a reason they call it “STAUgart.
We arrived at Wald Hotel in the late afternoon, and were welcomed by a young man who half-heartedly offered to help us with our bags. I was more impressed the last time we visited the Wald Hotel, and stayed in the Junior Suite (which is a better room, in my opinion). That was in May 2019. But anyway, I got photos of the Suite, too… and I don’t think I need to book it again. It was nice enough, but I liked the Junior Suite more, and it costs less. I actually like the rainfall showers better in the newer Superior Rooms. They’re awesome, and have mood lighting. The “suites” are lovely marble, but they don’t have rainfall capacity or mood lighting. I also think the beds in the Superior rooms are more comfortable.
I see in my review of the Junior Suite (502/500) in May 2019, I mentioned a “mysterious stairway”. I think I figured out that it leads to the Suite (501), as the two can be booked to accommodate a family of up to six people. There’s also a little bedroom in the Suite complex (500) that probably gets used for kids.
We also got a free round of drinks in the bar because I am an Expedia gold member and booked through them. Wald Hotel used to have a really cool bartender named Angelo who worked there, but he retired not so long ago. The current bartender was very good too, although Angelo was an old pro, and it really showed. I’m sure the current barkeep will eventually become legendary in her own right.
We decided to eat dinner at the hotel’s restaurant, Finch, so we had our free round at the bar and the bartender beamed when Bill tipped her on the “free drinks”.
It does appear that Wald Hotel is doing things a little differently now. It used to be they offered free drinks in the minibar. Now it looks like the minibar is no longer “free”. Still, we were glad to be back. We got to bed at a reasonable hour and slept mostly well. The mattress was very firm, which we’re not used to, but that could be because I just put a foam topper on our bed.
Saturday, we made new discoveries, which I will write about in part three tomorrow.
We had good weather yesterday, so Bill and I decided to go to Wiesbaden for lunch. I had a few places in mind where I’d like to go, but they were all pretty crowded. We ended up at Scotch N’ Soda, which is an Irish pub that is popular with the American community in Wiesbaden. In retrospect, I realize there’s another Irish pub near there that we have never visited. Maybe we should have gone there… but we were destined to go to the place we knew from prior visits.
One reason we like Scotch N’ Soda, besides the fact that they have a lot of scotches, is that they don’t take a midday pause. We have a tendency to get started late on the weekends, especially on Saturdays. But as it turned out, we were well within the bounds of the lunch hours when we arrived. A lot of people were sitting outside, because it was relatively warm and sunny. We went inside, where there were several tables available.
Bill ordered us a round of beers, and I looked up and noticed a reminder of Arran… We have twice been to the distillery that makes Arran Malt whisky, and it’s a good product. We didn’t have any yesterday, but it was a reminder that our dog, Arran, will always be popping up in unexpected places.
Lots of people were watching rugby on the televisions while Bill and I enjoyed comfort food. He had cottage pie, and I had fish ‘n chips with mushy peas. I actually got the small portion (one piece of fish)– they also offer medium and large. I couldn’t finish it. In fact, we didn’t even eat dinner last night. Say what you want about British and Irish food, it does stick to the ribs!
Before we got to Scotch N’ Soda, we walked around Wiesbaden a bit. I noticed something I’d never seen before. There’s a really cool city model near the main drag. Four years, we’ve been living here, and we never saw it before yesterday.
And no visit to Wiesbaden would be complete without a photo of the Evangelical Market Church in downtown Wiesbaden. It is such an imposing and beautiful structure. Every time I see it, it takes my breath away.
Well, it’s our first weekend without Arran… and we do miss him. This is the first time since 2002 that we haven’t had a beagle in the family. Noyzi is a wonderful dog and we love him very much, but he’s definitely different on many levels. It’s hard to get used to not having a warm doggy body on the bed with us. Noyzi probably would oblige, but he’s really too big to share the bed, even though it’s a king.
On the other hand, there are some things about Arran I won’t miss… like the fact that he was never 100 percent housetrained. He was good about 90 percent of the time, but we had to watch him, especially at night or in the early morning. Sometimes he had a habit of relieving himself on my rugs, rather than telling us he needed to go outside.
On Friday morning, Arran actually DID alert me, even though he could barely walk, and he did his business outside. But as recently as a couple of weeks ago, I found a big wet spot in his favorite place. Noyzi, on the other hand, almost never goes potty in the house. He’s always been like that, even when we first got him. It’s a definite plus!
I don’t know if or when we’ll get another beagle. We do love them… but they can be rascals, and they require a lot of diligence to make sure they don’t get into trouble. On the other hand, they’re cute, snuggly, friendly, and hilarious. And they’re also not quite as common in Germany as they are in the southern United States. I have noticed they’re much more popular here now than they used to be, though.
I suspect our next dog could be another Eastern European or Balkan immigrant… and smaller than Noyzi is. We shall see. For now, I think we’re going to enjoy having a little more freedom. It’s time to start planning a vacation. I definitely need one, and this blog needs some fresh material. So stay tuned for that.
Breckenheim had a wine stand last night. We decided to attend, so we could salute Arran in style. Noyzi came with us, because we’re hoping to get him more used to people. We’d like to be able to take him more places. Besides, he genuinely loves people, but he’s scared of those he doesn’t know. Taking him out in the village is a good way to help him get more socialized.
We enjoyed a few glasses of local wine and talked to some of our neighbors. We told them about Arran, and how we lost him yesterday morning. I wondered if they thought we were weird for going out… We ran into our landlady– or, the wife of our landlord. I think she’s the one who legally owns our house, since her brother built it. She asked where Arran was, and we told her what happened.
It struck me as kind of strange. When we lost Zane, our landlords didn’t know until over a year later. That’s how much privacy they give us, even though we’re next door neighbors. Our former landlady probably would have known within days, even though she didn’t live next door.
Anyway, we said we’d seen her artwork at the neighborhood art show in the fall. She laughed, and said that wasn’t her artwork. It seems there’s another woman in our village with the same name. She’s much older. The landlady said she’s always having to tell people she isn’t the same person! Either way, the artwork was beautiful. Our landlady has a nice sense of style, too. She was wearing a pretty scarf. Maybe that reveals a certain artistic bent.
We also met an English speaking guy who hailed from the Nagold area and moved to Breckenheim. He said he used to work as a waiter at a nightclub in Stuttgart. One night, the deejay was very late coming in, and he was flanked by two police officers when he finally did show up. I guess the show didn’t go on that night.
It was a pretty average wine stand, but I did get a nice video of the neighborhood horses passing, as well as a few photos…
It was nice to get our and enjoy the onset of spring… and now we can make some travel plans. We’re long overdue for a trip. After three years of road trips, I might even be convinced to fly on a plane and go somewhere further afield.
Cheers to Arran, who is no longer suffering, and no longer has cancer or needs chemo… and doesn’t have to worry about trying to jump up on our too tall bed. I like to think of his soul finally free of his sick, but very strong body. The featured photo is the second to the last one we have of Arran. I took the last one in the vet’s office, just before we said goodbye. I don’t normally do that… but for some reason, I just felt like doing it. I’ll keep it private, because I don’t want people to remember him in that way. He was a majestic dog with a larger than life presence. We were blessed to know him.
About twenty-four hours ago, I sent Bill an email letting him know that Arran managed to jump up on our new “tall” mattress. I had just put a new mattress topper on the bed, making it taller than usual. Realizing that Arran, our sweet rescue beagle who had been battling lymphoma for the past six months, would have trouble navigating the new height, I ordered him some steps from Amazon. They haven’t arrived yet, but Arran won’t be able to use them. We lost him this morning.
Last night, after I showed Bill the new lighting I got for our bedroom and my office, we had a very ordinary dinner. Arran begged for some of our burgers and fries. Then he crawled under the table and fell asleep. When he got up awhile later, he was very dazed and moved slowly, as if he’d had some kind of stroke. Arran had some “seizure like” spells in the past, that he got over quickly. We took him upstairs to bed, and he slept mostly peacefully, with a few panting episodes. Bill spent most of the night being nudged to the edge of the mattress.
This morning, Arran didn’t wake up super early, like he’s been doing since he started his chemo. When I went in to see if he was okay, he gave me a weary look. I immediately realized that the downward spiral I had been anticipating was well in progress. I told Bill I thought Arran might need his help getting off the bed. Bill coaxed him, not wanting to pick him up, because he had a large tumor on his side that was hurting him. He finally jumped off the bed and slowly went downstairs and outside, where he took a long whiz and had some diarrhea. Then he moved very slowly back into the house and turned circles for about forty-five minutes, before he finally relaxed and laid down on his dog bed.
Bill and I had the talk we’ve been dreading… First there was the pragmatic. We have to go out of town next week, and the hotel where we’re going couldn’t accommodate Arran. As of today, the reservation is non-refundable. I didn’t like the idea of boarding Arran, since he had come to hate being boarded.
Then there was the obvious. He was at least 14 years old, and he’d been enduring chemo treatments since October. You can see from my posts that he did extremely well and fought very hard. And up until the bitter end of his life, he was very much enjoying being with us. He’d even started being nicer to Noyzi. But death is part of life… and I did not want Arran to suffer any more than he had to. He had developed another tumor on his belly, and the lymph node under his jaw had gotten bigger.
And finally, we just realized that he was very, very tired… and there was nothing we could do to make him better. Anything the vet might do today would only prolong what we all knew was coming. So we called her and brought Arran in… I had to carry him into the office, although he managed to walk out of the house on his own. He didn’t protest when I put him in or took him out of the car, and he was very patient as the vet took a look at him and agreed that it was time to let him go to the Rainbow Bridge.
Still, even up to the very end, he was fighting. The vet gave him anesthetic and remarked that he was a very strong dog. It took a long time for him to get sleepy, and like his fierce predecessor Flea (RIP 2009), he took some time leaving us. He did NOT want to die. Or maybe, he just didn’t want to leave Bill, who was his very favorite person. We stayed with him until he was on his way to see Zane… Zane died in the very same room on August 31, 2019.
We thanked our wonderful vet, who really did her very best for Arran. And then I gave him a teary kiss on the top of his head and said, “Goodbye…” Somehow it seems especially fitting that our wonderful dog, Arran, named after a gorgeous island in Scotland after we lost his predecessor, MacGregor, should die on St. Patrick’s Day…
Below are some photos from our ten fantastic years together… This dog, born of humble origins, and meant to be a hunting dog in North Carolina, got to move to Germany and visited France, Italy, Austria, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, and Belgium. He loved every minute of being Bill’s very best friend… besides me, of course.
I think Arran has already given us a sign that he’s okay. As we were driving down the road to our house, R.E.M.’s song, “Shiny, Happy People” came on the radio. Yes, it’s kind of a sarcastic take on Utopia, but somehow, it kind of fits. If you knew Arran, you could easily understand why.
We’re going to miss him so much. There’s already a massive hole in our hearts… and our home.
Bill got home from his latest TDY at about 7:00pm on Friday night. Unfortunately, he has to leave again this afternoon for another three nights in Bayern/Bavaria. At least it’s just part of the week. I hate it when he travels without me. 😉 March seems to be the worst month for business trips.
I was kind of hoping we could go out for lunch yesterday, but Bill had some errands to run, and the weather was kind of crappy. We had sun, but it was cold and windy. Today, we have a wintry mix. March in Germany is typically like this, with totally random weather. One day, it’ll be sunny and kind of warm. Another day, it’ll rain or snow, or there will be terrible wind. Friday we had wind so scary that Noyzi didn’t want to go outside. Then there are the days when we get sun, rain, snow, wind, and hail in the same few hours.
Anyway, the upshot is, as usual, my travel blog isn’t very interesting. I promise more engaging posts are coming soon. We have to go to Stuttgart at the end of the month, and that means if Arran is still with us, he will probably be boarded. Or maybe we’ll take him and board Noyzi. I hate to put Arran in boarding now, even though I know he’ll be well taken care of. He much prefers to be with us.
Speaking of Arran, he just had another chemo treatment the other day. He’s still pretty sparky and vibrant, although the tumor on his side is about the size of a large plum or a small peach. It doesn’t seem to hinder him much, although I have caught his scratching it a few times. He still eats, sleeps, wants to take walks, and even runs around sometimes. Again… he’s done amazingly well on the chemo, and totally surpassed all of our expectations. And the chemo has been affordable, and not that difficult for him to endure.
Of course, not all dogs react the way Arran has. We never had the chance to try chemo with our late dog, Zane, but I don’t think he would have done as well. The lymphoma he had appeared to be much more aggressive, and he wasn’t as strong as Arran is. Throughout his life, he had more health problems. Arran has always been very healthy and strong, having no problems with allergies or sensitive stomach issues.
In any case, you can see by the below video that Arran is still quite full of beans…
Meanwhile, Bill and I have been talking about places we might visit at some point soon. Most of the places we’re thinking about would probably require a plane ride. I haven’t flown since November 2019. I discovered some interesting places in the Baltics, for instance. Yes, we could drive, but it would take a long time. On the other hand, we drove to Germany from Sweden in the summer of 2019, so it’s doable. Just got to use a ferry for some places…
Noyzi just came in here and put his head on my thigh, asking for a pat on the head. He just had a much needed bath, and it wasn’t easy to get him in the tub. But once I got him in, he stood there and let me wash the stink off of him. He sure has become an adorable, lovable family member. Arran is being nicer to him, too. I think it’s because he knows that pretty soon, it’ll just be him here with us until another dog comes our way.
I don’t look forward to saying goodbye to Arran, but I am ready to travel again. This week, the most interesting things that happened were that I drove to the store and bought more beer… and they had a noticeable shortage of Hefeweizen. And then, I went to the vet with Arran for his chemo, and didn’t have to wear a face mask. That was notable. In fact, I wondered if I’d ever see the day.
Arran has another treatment on Wednesday… When I brought him home the other day, he actually ran around the house like a nut after I took him off the leash. Don’t ever let people tell you that chemo for dogs is like it is for humans. It’s definitely not.
The only other notable things that happened involve the sound system in our house. I finally managed to tame the four Echo Dots I bought, so they are programmed to play in groups. And I got a new HomePod, which I put behind the TV in our bedroom. The sound is a hell of a lot better on the TV now. It will make watching movies better. I might buy another one for the other TV. It’s that much improved.
Well, that about does it for today. Hopefully next weekend, I’ll have something more interesting to write about in my travel blog. Cheerio.
Lately, I’ve been following some local Facebook wine groups, besides the one I run. Thanks to events like the Wiesbaden Wine Festival, I’ve found a few local wines that I really enjoy. When I noticed that the Barth Winery was going to be attending this weekend’s JustWine wine tasting event at the StadtHalle in Hofheim, I told Bill we should pay a visit. I enjoy tasting wines, and I already knew I liked the products by at least one of the attendees.
The JustWine event is continuing today, starting at 1:00pm, and running until 6:00pm. Yesterday, it started at 2:00pm, and ran until 9. I had wanted to go early and maybe have lunch or dinner in Hofheim. Unfortunately, we got held up waiting for an Amazon delivery. I bought Bill an Alexa Echo for his side of the bedroom. I was hoping to pair it with the one on my side, and create stereo sound. I’m still working on making that happen. 🙁 It’s not as easy as it should be.
Because we were waiting for the delivery, we didn’t leave for the wine event until it had been going on for a couple of hours. One nice thing about this event is that it was at the Chinon Center, which has a huge parking garage. That made it much easier to get the wine to the car. We bought fourteen bottles, six of which will be shipped to us. Last May, we went to an event at the Kurhaus in Wiesbaden, and Bill almost killed himself getting the wine to the car, which was parked in a distant garage. Yes… the parking was the best part of the JustWine event. The rest of it impressed me somewhat less.
The entry fee for the JustWine tasting is 8 euros. For that, you get unlimited entry until the event ends for the day. You can taste wines by vendors from France, Italy, and Germany, as well as purchase gourmet food items from the SudTyrol and Hofheim. There was also a D.J. That was a first. I’ve never seen a D.J. at a wine tasting. The music was okay– sort of techno trance instrumentals– but it was turned up kind of loud, which made it hard to hear and be heard. There were also a LOT of people there, so it was hard to actually access the booths. We ended up only going to three before we finally decided to give up and see if we could find dinner in town.
Before we ventured into Hofheim searching for food, we stopped at the Edeka in the mall so I could get some hair conditioner. The guy running the register, Herr Rocky, looked pretty much over it as he asked Bill to put his “Geschlossen” sign on his conveyor belt. It must have been break time… or maybe it was time for him to go home.
Then, after we bought my hair product, we stopped at a couple of restaurants, both of which were totally full. We didn’t make any reservations, because we weren’t expecting to go to the event as late as we did. It looked like everybody was out in Hofheim last night, which is understandable. Less than year ago, things were still pretty locked down in Germany. Since I already had indigestion, I told Bill that we should just go home.
So that’s what we did… and I was soon confronted again with Alexa, and her reluctance to pair properly in our bedroom. Bill has to go away this week, so hopefully I’ll figure out how to get the speakers doing my bidding before he comes back Friday– temporarily– until he has to go away again for another three days. On the plus side, Arran and Noyzi were overjoyed to see us. Arran, in particular, was running around with unbridled joy. He has that big tumor on his side, and it seems to hurt when we touch it. Yet he still has the ability and the will to greet us with so much enthusiasm. He amazes me every day.
I might have enjoyed the JustWine event more if we had gotten there sooner, when it was probably much less crowded. We probably would have found food, too. There was food at the event, but nowhere to really sit, or even stand, because there were so many people there. Personally, I think they should have scrapped the disc jockey and put in a few more tables.
I did at least get to buy some sparkling Rieslings from the Barth Winery and introduced myself to Axel, the guy who represented the Barth Winery and alerted me to the event in the first place. He’s very active on Facebook and speaks perfect English.
I got a kick out of Axel, because as we approached his table, he was dealing with a very petite young Asian lady who seemed to be putting him through his paces. She also seemed to be a little bit “lit”. She ended up buying a bottle of sparkling rose before she stumbled off, looking a little bit cross. Maybe it’s because she understands Armenian or Spanish, as I used words from both languages to describe her rather familiar demeanor to Bill. I know… shame on me. But she was kind of hogging Axel’s attention, and it looked like maybe he could use an assist.
Anyway, I’m not sorry we got out of the house and went to the JustWine event. It was a little too loud and crowded for my tastes, but it was definitely a unique affair. And we did pick up some wines, which I will be avoiding during Bill’s TDY. I like to temporarily get off the sauce when he’s not home.
Earlier this week, Bill noticed the wine stand sign was up, advertising the return of our village’s reliable club fundraisers. I was excited to hear that the spring ritual was commencing because that means better weather is on its way. Breckenheim has impressed us a lot since we moved here at the end of November 2018. People are friendly, and there are a lot of community events.
Last fall, we finally got a weekly market, which has proven to be very popular. It went off so well that it continued even through the winter. Every Thursday, local fresh food vendors sell their products in our Dorfplatz. The wine kiosk is open, and someone usually cooks brats on the grill. However, the market only goes from 1pm until 6pm, so that makes it hard to go shop unless Bill gets home early.
The wine stands are different, as they are only about wine and socializing. Sometimes, there’s live entertainment, too. Last night’s wine stand was hosted by the local tennis club. Seems to me the last time they hosted, they also had a singing group. I remember it well, because it was during the summer and, because they were putting in the new public restroom, the stand was held in the parking area of the Rathaus/elementary school. That’s even closer to where we live than the Dorfplatz is. I also remember that particular wine stand because I got COVID-19 right after we attended.
I shared a couple of photos with the wine group I run on Facebook. A lady who lives down in Stuttgart asked about the wine stand, and I had to break it to her that I’ve never seen wine stands in Stuttgart or its environs. That area is more about beer, although they do have wineries in the Stuttgart area and their own wine culture. But Wiesbaden and the surrounding area is in the heart of the Rheingau, which is Germany’s wine country.
Stuttgart does have some other fun traditions, though, like pop up “Besen” (Swabian word for “broom”) restaurants. If that’s a Germany wide tradition, I have yet to run across it in the Wiesbaden area. But then, I don’t hang out in the local Facebook groups up here.
Anyway, last night’s wine stand was fun, albeit a bit chilly, and mostly uneventful… I did get some photos, and when we came home 90 minutes later, Arran gave us an enthusiastic welcome. Our old guy still has a big tumor on his side– I had thought it was a lymph node, but the vet says she thinks it’s a tumor. He seems a little more tired lately, too. But he’s still with us, and wanting to do all he can for as long as he has left.
I will spend the next week home alone, as Bill has another business trip this week and part of next week. Good vibes, please, that Arran hangs in there until the business trips stop for March. He had a treatment this week and will get one next week.
Today, we have plans to go to a wine “messe” in Hofheim. If we actually make it, I’ll be writing a new post tomorrow. Stay tuned.
We didn’t enjoy any excursions over the weekend because winter has come back to Wiesbaden with a chilly flourish. I also needed to wait for some new recording equipment to arrive, which it did in the afternoon. By Sunday, the weather was grim and decidedly cold. So we stayed home, ate takeout food, listened to music, and talked. We also enjoyed another weekend with Arran.
His lymph node under his left foreleg has gotten noticeably bigger. I don’t have to feel for it anymore. It’s now pretty obvious on casual view. And yet, Arran is still eating, sleeping, playing, walking, and being his adorable self. I know it’s probably not going to be much longer before he starts feeling badly again. But for now, we’re enjoying his affectionate company. He and Noyzi even seem to be getting along better lately. The featured photo was taken today. Yesterday, I actually caught them lying next to each other, as if they were pals.
I sense that Arran knows he’s going to be headed to the Rainbow Bridge soon. Most of our dogs have been like this, toward the end. Our beagle, Flea, used to insist on sitting with us in the last months of his life. Our first rescue, CuCullain, used to insist on taking walks with both Bill and me. Zane came and found me and slathered me with kisses two weeks before he died. MacGregor was probably in too much pain to show us this kind of affection before he passed, but instead, seemed to stay with us through Arran, who often acts like his predecessor.
Arran has always been a velcro dog, but he’s become even more so lately. Noyzi is also spending more time hanging out with me, rather than staying in his bed in his room, which is also an entertainment room that we rarely use.
I just took the dogs for a walk. Arran had plenty of energy, even though he has a peach sized swelling by his leg. He’s supposed to go to the vet for more chemo tomorrow. It seems to keep him feeling okay, even though the cancer is obviously progressing.
Still, I am amazed when I see Arran behave like he did in the video below, which was taken a couple of days ago. Arran truly is an amazing dog… resilient, loving, affectionate, and full of surprises. I don’t know if or when we will find his successor, but that dog will have some big pawprints to fill, even if Arran is, himself, just a medium sized dog.
It’s nice to see Arran and Noyzi getting along better. It was a long time coming. When we had Zane, the situation was the opposite. For awhile, Zane and Arran were actual buddies who got along beautifully. Then, Zane started having health problems. Arran took advantage and tried to be the top dog. He would pick fights with Zane, who did not enjoy fighting, but would fight if it was necessary.
Sometimes, Arran got the better of Zane, but there were a few notable times when Zane kicked Arran’s ass. I always got the sense that Zane really resented Arran for that. It was like he never forgave him for turning on him. They weren’t really friends at the end of Zane’s life.
With Noyzi, it seems like the opposite is true. Arran hated Noyzi at first, but slowly came around. And now, they almost seem like friends. I think it’s because Arran is very devoted to us. It’s like he knows he has to go soon, and he’s passing the torch. Or maybe it’s just comforting thinking for a silly human.
Maybe Noyzi has a little bit of Zane in him… and now Zane is in a much bigger and more imposing body. Noyzi doesn’t fight at all, but one time, Arran got too jealous and was eager to get into a scrap with him. Noyzi calmly put his massive paw on Arran’s back, and that was the end of that nonsense. Arran hit the ground and never tried such a stunt again.
Anyway, I’m going to try to enjoy this time… especially as the dogs finally bond a little. I’m sure that when the time is right, Arran will be back in the same way Zane is.
Bill did notice the sign was up for the wine stand this weekend. Maybe we’ll get to go. I know Hofheim is having a City Wine Fest this weekend. I hope we can get out and have some fun, before Bill has to go on another business trip.
Spring is coming, and I’m starting to feel like I should be end my self imposed winter hibernation. I do still worry about Arran, whose lymph nodes are getting big again, but I also know I can’t stay homebound forever. Saturday night, Bill decided to check OpenTable to see if there were any inviting and interesting restaurants to try yesterday. He noticed one we hadn’t yet tried, Restaurant Retter’s at the Romantik Hotel Schloss Rettershof. They had plenty of tables open for a 7:00pm reservation, so Bill booked us. As you can see from the featured photo, it’s a lovely, historic venue!
I didn’t know anything about the Schloss Rettershof before last night’s repast. My German friend, Susanne, decided to look up the castle’s history while we were enjoying dinner. It seems that before the Rettershof became a hotel and restaurant, it had a colorful history that included stints as the European headquarters for the Hare Krishnas, and, for a few years after World War II, a U.S. Army post. Prior to the 20th century, it was a farm. And before that– from the 12th century until 1559, it was a monastery, and home for nuns. On July 3 and 4, 2018, parts of the roof of the nearby riding stable burned down due to a major fire. I saw evidence last night that people still go riding in the area.
The property has had a very colorful past that is well worth reading about, even if it is beyond the scope of today’s blog post. I only wish we could have visited when the sun was out, as even in the darkness, I could see that the Rettershof offers beautiful views. It’s located in the Fischbachtal district of Kelkheim, and very close to Eppstein, which is one of my favorite areas up here near Wiesbaden. I wouldn’t have been at all distressed if we’d found a house in Eppstein, instead of in Breckenheim.
Anyway… on to our actual experiences. 😉
Bill overestimated the amount of time he’d need to get from our house to the Rettershof. Nevertheless, I was delighted that the GPS took us in a direction that, in four years of living up here, we’d never before ventured. I guess COVID lockdowns have a way of putting a damper on exploration. We ended up going through our village, up a hillside, and into a pretty, mountainous area. Or, it was mountainous for this area. Really, it was probably more hilly than mountainous, but it was still a nice change of landscape for us. We live in a valley.
I was pretty hungry when we got to the Rettershof, which was a good thing. We got plenty to eat last night. However, as we pulled up, about 25 minutes before our 7pm reservation, I almost wondered if the place was open. The generously sized parking lot was practically empty. No one was near the entrance of the hotel, although it was lit up. When we walked inside, there was a friendly young woman at the reception desk who greeted us and took our coats. I was immediately enchanted by the sitting area near the reception. I didn’t get a chance to linger, though, because we were immediately ushered to the dining room and invited to take a table. There was one other party there– a family of four, who had the one table near a charming bay window. We took a table for four on the other side of the small dining room, so it was rather private.
I did manage to get a couple of photos of the lobby area before we sat down… I loved the fireplace, and the cozy lighting of the area around it. Too bad this isn’t a dining room, because it was very charming and inviting.
At the top of the stairs are some bedrooms for rent. There is also an extension where newer rooms have been built. I have no idea if anyone was staying at the hotel last night. It didn’t appear to have any guests, but then, it’s not exactly the high season.
There were two very enthusiastic men waiting on us. We got the sense that one might have been from France, and the other seemed to be Spanish. Both spoke German and English, of course, and they were very friendly. The one from France, who had his long dark hair in a bun, thanked us profusely for coming. We sipped glasses of champagne while we looked at the menu, which was pretty limited last night. I got the sense that maybe they limit the menu when they are expecting few guests.
There was a set four course menu, which I didn’t go for because of the presence of truffles… A la carte, we had a choice of Ox with cheese, See Teufel (Angler fish), or Wiener Schnitzel. I didn’t see any vegan or vegetarian options on last night’s menu, but I’m sure they have something… perhaps it was in the regular menu, which I never had a chance to look at, as Bill was selecting a wine and the list was in the one permanent menu they gave us. There was also a choice of two starters– beef tartar with quail egg or beef consomme.
I decided to go with the Angler fish, which a dense fish that reminded me a little of catfish in terms of looks and texture, but tasted more like halibut. Bill went for the Schnitzel. I was surprised he didn’t want the ox, since he usually likes that kind of thing… but he did order the tartar as a starter. I had the consomme, which had sliced pancakes and carrots in it. We also had bread and butter from France, and a lovely and unique red wine that the waiter with the man bun said was “new” to them.
Both waiters were professional, but the one with the man bun was especially memorable. I got a kick out of him, especially when he pronounced the word “dynomite” like “deenomeete”. I think he might have learned new vocabulary last night.
Overall, we really enjoyed the food and the pleasant, yet quirky, wait staff, who were both clearly delighted that we came in for dinner last night. Yes, it would have been nice to have had more of a choice in entrees, but given that we and the other party of four appeared to be their only patrons last night, I can understand why they didn’t stock too much. This definitely wasn’t an inexpensive meal. The check came to 277 euros, which is a lot… and Bill delighted the wait staff by tipping like an American. They were practically bowing to us as we left. 😀
I would go back to the Retterhof for another meal. Next time, I’d like to do it during the daytime, so I can see how pretty it is. I also suspect that when the weather is warmer and more people patronize the restaurant, the menu expands a bit. But we did enjoy ourselves last night. The castle is a charming venue, and at least last night, the staff was very warm and friendly and were clearly glad to welcome us. We don’t live far away, either, so I could definitely see us venturing out there again.
I will offer a caveat to those who have mobility issues. The restrooms are located down a flight of stairs and I didn’t see an elevator. In the ladies room, there are several steps up to the toilets. I’m not sure if they have alternative accommodations for people who use wheelchairs.
We got home at about 9pm. Arran and Noyzi were delighted to see us again. Arran, in particular, was really wound up and took off running around the house. I was relieved to see it, as two of his lymph nodes are large again. The vet decided to skip chemo last week, and the cancer has responded accordingly. But, in spite of the larger lymph nodes, Arran doesn’t appear to be feeling too badly right now. This is a sign, however, that the cancer is progressing, and we will probably be saying goodbye to him before too much longer.
I really hate this part of having dogs in my life, even though I know it’s necessary. However, I also know from experience that every time I have a dog who is very special and think no one can possibly equal him, I am proven wrong. Every dog we’ve had has been original and special in their own ways, and every one has been unforgettable and uniquely wonderful. So, as much as I hate the thought of saying goodbye to Arran, I also know that when he goes, another opportunity awaits us. And with that opportunity comes new and amazing experiences waiting to happen.