Just another June afternoon in Wiesbaden…

We were blessed with more sunny skies and warm temperatures today.  I thought maybe we’d hit that castle I was thinking about yesterday, but Bill wanted to go to Wiesbaden.  Originally, his plan was just to get some ice cream and maybe have a look at where Elton John had his concert last night.  I bet it was a great time.  The weather was perfect for it.

We could see the work crew starting to break down the stands and stage set up for Elton as we wandered past.  It wasn’t long before we found ourselves in an area that looked like maybe they were concessions stands set up for the concert.  Upon closer examination, we discovered that we’d stumbled upon the Kranzplatzfest.  It started on Wednesday and today is the last day of what appeared to be a music and beverage festival.  We also saw lots of people selling stuff.

Lots of stands were selling stuff… mostly drinks, but a few had some handmade crafts and clothes for sale.

The Kranzplatzfest has been going on for 38 years, but we had no idea about it.  In fact, we would have completely missed it if we hadn’t ventured into the city today.  That would have been a pity, because I got some great footage of people dancing to Cuban music.  We happened to get there just before Los 4 Del Son started their 2:00 show.

It was warm today… and it looked like steam was coming off of this fountain.  I don’t know if the water was really that hot or if it was a special effect.  Edited to add: My German friend says this is no special effect.  We stumbled across the Kochbrunnespringer.  Indeed, we saw steam, as the temperature was about 67 degrees Celsius/152.6 degrees Fahrenheit.

I was attracted to these paintings.  I wouldn’t have minded bringing one home with me.  But I wasn’t sure what the price range was and Mr. Bill has already spent a fortune this summer.  And summer hasn’t even started…


Before the Los 4 Del Son show started, we were entertained by watching a crotchety clown yell at some guy who was messing with his bubble blower.  The clown– who wore a festive clown patterned vest, a matching newsboy cap with pom pom, denim capri pants, and a sour expression on his face, noticed the guy adjusting the blower with the wind.  There he was, holding a balloon he’d been turning into an animal for a small child, bitching out the man who dared to touch his bubble blower.  It was a really funny scene, though maybe you had to be there.

Cool sculpture.  This was where the cranky clown had put his bubble blower.


Setting up for the show…

This guy was not amused when some random dude started messing with his bubble blower.  He told him off, which didn’t seem very clown like to me.  The guy responded by laughing at him, which seemed to piss off the clown even more.

See the blower?  It was delighting kids and adults alike.

Bill and I tried apple wine for the first time.  It’s a specialty up here near Frankfurt.

One was sweet and the other was sour.  The sweet version had lemonade in it.  I like it better than the sour, which really was very sour.

We had cold chicken shwarma for lunch.  It was cheap and filling, but really messy.  I was glad I saved Wet Naps from our last fest.

And some German craft beers to wash it down.  Bill’s was an IPA.

Lots of people were dancing.  I got some video, which I may be able to share here.

Here’s the video!
I got a kick out of the guy in yellow and red…

There was another young man who appeared to have been drinking quite a lot.  He was really showing off his moves in a dramatic way.  I bet he’s a hit at dance clubs because he obviously has confidence to show off his stuff.  We saw him approach a young woman with two small children with her, as if he’d asked her to dance.  She turned him down.  He turned and walked away, dejected.

After about an hour of watching people dance and listening to festive Cuban music that made me wish we were in the Caribbean, Bill and I decided to get some ice cream.  We stopped by Eis Cafe Rialto for the first time.  This is supposedly one of the best ice cream joints in Wiesbaden.  The ice cream is made locally and there are many flavors.

And passed this cool vintage car on the way there… lots of money is up here in Wiesbaden…

It was hot and sunny, but we managed to find some shade.

I had a Black Forest cup and Bill had a Wild Berry cup.  Germans love their ice cream creations.  They are very fancy and can cost as much as an entree in a restaurant.  I was amused by the cherries in my ice cream, which tasted like they were carbonated.  I love a cheap thrill whenever I can find one.

I’m glad we went to Wiesbaden today, even though we always end up there somehow.  I wouldn’t have wanted to miss today’s fest, especially since I hadn’t known about it.  If we’re still here in a year, we’ll have to make a point of coming to a couple of days.  I’m sure yesterday, it was a zoo thanks to Elton John’s concert.  On the other hand, I’m sure the lucky concertgoers had a lovely time.  The weather was absolutely gorgeous for a show.  It was probably nicer than the Stuttgart show, anyway… I sat downwind of some guy with halitosis.  I don’t know how Elton was last night, but I did read he had to cancel his show in Verona due to a cold.  Hope he’s better now!


Halloween in Stuttgart at the Irish Folk Festival!

It’s showtime!  


If you’ve been following this blog, you might know that the summer of 2018 was our summer of concerts.  Since I recently bought tickets to three more shows and have one more that has been planned since February 2018, I can safely say that 2019 will continue on the concert theme.

Some months ago, I noticed an ad on Facebook for the Irish Folk Festival.  This is an annual tour that celebrated its 45th anniversary this year.  Every year, bands that play Celtic music travel through Austria, Switzerland, Germany, and Benelux.  And yet, even though this festival is almost as old as I am, I somehow never knew about it until I saw that Facebook ad.  Since I was on a roll buying tickets for shows, I decided to pick up a pair for Bill and me.  They were comparatively cheap.  I think I spent a little over 80 euros for two tickets and we sat in the second row.

Thanks to all of the big name acts we’ve seen this year, there were a couple of times I actually forgot that we’d bought tickets for this show.  I set up a reminder on Facebook, just so we wouldn’t forget to attend.  I’m so glad we did manage to catch this festival.  We had a wonderful time!

Last night’s show started at 8:00pm at the Stuttgart Theaterhaus, located very close to Robinson Barracks.  Bill and I have passed that Theaterhaus a few times, but this was the first time we ever took in a show there.  It’s a very nice venue.  Next door, there is a restaurant that we would have liked to try if we’d had time.  Unfortunately, we were caught in hellacious Stuttgart traffic and arrived at the venue about an hour before showtime.  The restaurant was very full and we didn’t think we’d have time to eat.  However, there were a couple of bars open and they did have sandwiches and candy available.  We each had a beer.

The theme was the hope for Ireland’s reunification after Brexit.  The lineup included several acts that I had never heard of, but I left the venue with several new CDs that I can’t wait to plug into my Celtic music mix.  We had the pleasure of being entertained by: Joanna Hyde & Tadhg Ó Meachair, Christy Barry & James Devitt, Ailie Robertson’s Traditional Spirits, and The Outside Track.  The show lasted a solid three hours with one twenty minute break.

Bill and I left as they were doing the last song, because it was already 11:00pm, and he gets up early for work.  The mostly German crowd was on its feet at the end.  They enjoyed the show as much as we did.  We saw more than one person wearing a kilt.  I was sorry Bill hadn’t worn his!

Below are some photos from last night’s show, along with a little light commentary.

It was just starting to get busy in the Theaterhaus when we arrived.  I was marveling at how nice it was.  I wish we’d had the chance to go to other shows during our time here.  Maybe we’ll have another opportunity at a later date.


Some information about other planned shows.

I got a kick out of this giant sign for the toilets.  I didn’t get a picture, but next to this lit up sign, there’s an Andy Warhol style graphic depiction of toilets.  That’s one way to make sure theatergoers know where to go when they have to go.


The venue has quirky decor.


My goofy husband, being a good provider.  He bought peanuts and crispy M&Ms so I wouldn’t get too hangry.


I’m always intrigued by graffiti and stuff people leave in bathrooms.  Here’s a statement on the evils of prostitution…  Prostitution is legal in Germany.


Our view before the show started.  A German couple sat next to us and asked if we were from Ireland.  We admitted to being Americans, albeit with lots of Celtic heritage.  The couple seemed surprised we’ve been in Germany for four years and are moving to another German city.  They wondered if we would eventually go back to the USA.  I’m sure we will at some point… but then again, maybe we won’t.  Time will tell.  I noticed they didn’t come back after the pause.  I hope we didn’t offend.


The local concert promoter was a German guy who wore a green suit covered in shamrocks.  He reminded me a little of Steve Martin before his hair went completely white.  I almost expected him to have an arrow through his head, the way Martin used to about 40 years ago when he did stand up comedy.  I understood some of what the guy was saying and noticed he had a good sense of humor.  The performers spoke a little bit of basic German, but the rest was done in English.  I noticed most of the people around us understood English perfectly well.  Once again, I regret not studying German in school instead of the six years of Spanish I took.

I did not take any photos during most of the show, nor did I do any filming.  Having performed on a stage myself, I understand that photography can be distracting, especially when people use flash.  Also, I think it’s rude to watch a concert through a cell phone screen.  I did get a few photos at the end of the show, when the excellent performers were doing their finale and taking their bows.

 Ailie Robertson, playing harp, seemed to be the evening’s bandleader.  She performed first with her band, Traditional Spirits, and explained how her music was about the making of whisky in Scotland, particularly in splendid Islay, which Bill and I have had the good fortune to visit twice.  After the pause, she joined her band, The Outside Track, which consists of almost all females and includes members from Ireland, Scotland, and Canada!  The lady in the sparkling green dress is lead singer, Teresa Horgan, who also served as a great bandleader and has a stunningly beautiful voice.

Mairi Rankin, the beautiful redhead from Cape Breton, Canada dancing front and center, was absolutely enchanting as she played her fiddle, sang, and danced.  I couldn’t take my eyes off of her.  She had a wonderful stage presence and seemed to really enjoy her work.  I was drawn to her and probably would have loved to have had the chance to chat with her after the show.  She has a very friendly and kind aura.


A close up of the dancing!

Mairi is joined by Joanna Hyde and a guy named Cillian O’Dalaigh.  Cillian had fabulous hair and played flute and guitar and danced and sang.  He was another one I was drawn to watch.

Taking a bow!

The rest of these pictures are a little repetitive, but I’m including them for the curious.  It really was a wonderful show and the house was packed.  The tour continues tonight in Ravensburg and ends on November 17th in Hamburg.  I would definitely recommend getting tickets to any of the upcoming shows or planning to see this next year.  I see that they stopped in Mannheim and Frankfurt earlier in their tour, so if we’re still in Germany a year from now, we’ll have to make plans to attend.  It was time and money well spent for us!  And frankly, I was a little jealous because I wanted to be on stage, too… and I wish I had kept studying music when I was young.  Oh well…  At the end of this post, I’ll include a video I did of one of the songs we heard last night.  Yes, it’s me singing.

Well deserved accolades!

The song on this video, which includes pictures from Capri and Amalfi, is “Get Me Through December”.  I originally heard this done by Alison Krauss and Nova Scotia native and fiddle player Natalie MacMaster, but it was also performed last night by Teresa Horgan and the rest of The Outside Track.  I may have to do this one again today…  By the way… I would love to see Natalie MacMaster and her fantastic family play in Germany.  Maybe someday…  This version is mine, and the arrangement is similar to the one done by Alison Krauss and Natalie MacMaster.  Last night’s version was done in a lower key, but was no less ethereal.


Early dinner at Cortijo in Stuttgart!

A month ago, I got my teeth cleaned at Dr. Blair’s office in downtown Stuttgart.  I didn’t have any cavities, but he was concerned about an area of redness in the gums under my front bottom teeth.  It wasn’t like gingivitis or anything like that.  The redness was below the area where teeth and gumline meet.  He asked me if I have Crohn’s Disease.  I don’t.  Then he asked me about allergies.  I do have those, but he said if the redness was caused by allergies, my whole mouth would be red.  There’s only one area that was reddened.  He was concerned, so he asked me to come back in a month so he could see if the area got better on its own.

Today was the day I was to return so Dr. Blair could check out my gums.  We got an appointment for 2:00pm, which is not the best time for an after appointment restaurant visit, especially in Germany.  Bill came with me, which I always appreciate.  Trips to the big city are always more fun when Bill’s around.

I saw the dentist this afternoon.  He checked out my “rash”, for lack of a better term, and said it was better, but not completely gone.  I have to go back in September to see him.  Then he explained why, in Germany, it’s important to differentiate between a physician and a doctor.  We started talking about my education, his education, my sister’s education, and Armenia.  What I was expecting to be a five minute appointment turned into a half hour.  Oh well.  He’s bar none the best dentist I’ve ever had anywhere.  Besides, whenever I go see him, I get to have dinner in Stuttgart.

After we were finished with the dental business, we went to the Galeria, where I had read I might find some Georgian wine.  Unfortunately, we weren’t lucky today and found no Georgian wines.

So we decided to look for a late lunch/early dinner.  Originally, I was thinking maybe we’d have Italian food, but then realized the place I’d been eyeing was right next to a large construction site.  So we kept walking and soon found ourselves standing by Cortijo, a Spanish restaurant I’d been wanting to try for some time.  I’d heard good things about it in the Stuttgart American community and liked their Facebook page, which constantly advertises Flamenco dancing and guitar players.  They also don’t take a pause during the afternoon.

Bill prays before he makes his decision…  (kidding)

We took a seat and ordered beers and Paella Valenciana.  Paella can only be ordered for two or more people and takes at least 30 minutes to prepare, so we had a wait in the sunshine.  I heard the party behind us speaking Spanish, which is a good sign.  I noticed the menu also featured a number of other interesting dishes and tapas, some that seemed more German than Spanish.

This restaurant is right next to a strip joint.  It’s also next to a pizzeria with a wood oven.  It looked promising.  Maybe next time we’re in Stuttgart.


Bill was pretty hungry because he didn’t eat anything after breakfast this morning.  However, he was not displeased with our paella, pictured below.

Paella Valenciana– for two people or more at 15,90 per person.  It’s the cheapest of the three types offered at Cortijo.


I was delighted by the paella, which is a great change of pace here in Swabia.  It’s made with rice seasoned with saffron, shrimp, mussels, calamari, peas, chicken, and red peppers.  Squeeze a little lemon juice on it and you’re ready for a good meal!  The only disappointing thing about this paella was that the shrimp were a little hard to peel.  Oh… and I made a really gross joke about what mussels look like that turned Bill off.  In all seriousness, though, this was a really lovely meal, both in taste and presentation.  All they need there is a fly zapper to get rid of the flies who want to share the meal.  But I wouldn’t be surprised if zappers are illegal here.  I’ll have to research it.

A few offerings at Cortijo.

When we were finished eating, I went into the ladies room and found it immaculate and smelling slightly of bleach.  That’s also a good sign.

A tri-lingual sign to assist you in your flushing duties.


The stage where there are singers and dancers later in the evening.

Cortijo has a large dining area and two dining rooms.

I liked the bar, too.  You can sit around it and see the stage.  And check out the decorations made of sombreros from local tequila!  Pleasant Spanish guitar music filled the dining room.


Total damage for tonight’s dinner was just under 40 euros.  Cheap!

Front entrance.

And outdoor seating.  This is also near a construction zone, but they weren’t building when we were sitting there.  If you look at the obligatory shot of Bill at the beginning of this post, you can see the construction site.  A lot of building is going on downtown.


We walked back to the car a different way and realized Cortijo is very close to Primo, a wine bar and Italian restaurant where Bill and I ate last month.  This part of Stuttgart is rich with good places to eat.  Unfortunately, it’s also rich with traffic, which we got caught in on our way out of the big city.

Now that we’ve tried the paella at Cortijo, we want to come back for dinner and check out the live entertainment.  Definitely recommended, especially if you want a change of pace from German, Italian, or Greek food.


Happy birthday to the US Army!

Last night, Bill and I ventured to Sindelfingen to attend the 241st Army Birthday Ball.  We hadn’t originally planned on attending the event, but got talked into it by a certain low ranking MP.  😉  Since the Army’s birthday is close to my birthday, we figured it would be a fun way to celebrate with friends and fellow party animals.

The last time Bill and I attended an Army Birthday Ball was in 2004.  We lived at Fort Belvoir at the time, so our nearest ball was a fancy one held at a hotel in Washington, DC.  I remember sitting at a large table surrounded by polite but somewhat unfriendly people I didn’t know.  I drank way too much wine that night and ended up spewing in my husband’s car as we drove through old town Alexandria.  My husband later gifted that car to his former stepson, who turned out to be using Bill for money.  But that’s a story for another blog post.  😉

I drank too much wine last night, too, but fortunately no one got hurt and no messes were made!  We only made great memories and a few new friends!  Not for nothing, but I think I prefer the smaller, more intimate Army ball here in Germany than the huge fancy one in DC with big name entertainment.  I’d rather be entertained by fellow revelers.

Bill parked the car at Panzer and we walked across the pedestrian bridge to catch the bus that would take us to the event.  We didn’t really know where we were supposed to be going, but soon spotted several other people dressed like we were.  We got on the bus and I was immediately delighted by the somewhat anatomically correct sticker on the window…

Whose head is on this little guy?


I had been a little bit concerned about my attire.  I ordered a long dress for the ball and it got to me in time, but decided not to wear it because it’s a little too long for me.  It’s also made of fabric that I thought would be too heavy for a June night in a venue with no air conditioning.  It wasn’t actually that hot last night, but I was pretty grateful that I dispensed with the long dress and fancy heels.  I am not very physically coordinated under the best of circumstances.  Add in heels and booze and I can be a menace to other people in proximity to me.  We had to climb up and down a number of stairs.  The last thing I needed to do was trip over a long gown while struggling in uncomfortable shoes.  Maybe I’ll save the long dress for the Marine ball in November, after I get it hemmed.

There really was no need to worry about how I was dressed, though.  Plenty of ladies wore short dresses.  Some wore very high heels and platforms, and some wore flats.  I saw a few people take off their shoes altogether.  One of my lady friends even wore stylish pants and rocked them!  Besides, I really just wanted to see Bill in his blues…

I must admit, I miss seeing Bill in his uniform on a daily basis.

Proud to say he still cleans up fine in his blues!  Be still my heart!  My Marine friend, Paul, is looking sharp, too! 


Bill waits in line at the cash bar.  Not long after I took this photo, a bugle sounded to signal that it was time to get the party started.  

When we booked our table for four, it was empty.  We weren’t sure if there would be another couple joining us.  We did end up having company and they turned out to be a lot of fun, even if they had to cut out early because the male half had to go on duty.  The Army never sleeps!  I’m sure Bill will eventually run into our new acquaintance, since it turns out they work in the same area.  On the way home, I was thinking about how lucky we were to have such friendly and engaging people sitting at our table with us.  Unfortunately, that’s not always a given!  Not only were they friendly and interesting, but they were also funny.  I truly enjoyed meeting them.

A pretty table!

The shindig started off with the usual protocol.  There was a call to mess, an invocation, and several ceremonial toasts.  I was immediately reminded of the first episode of Army Wives, when the characters were toasting the president and one of the characters thought the president was actually attending.  I didn’t see anyone make that mistake last night.

It wouldn’t be one of my travel blog posts if I didn’t write about the food.  If I recall correctly, we had four choices for dinner, which we chose when we bought our tickets.  There was beef, chicken, salmon, and the vegetarian option.

We had salad and some surprisingly good bread.

I had salmon with rice and a cream sauce.  It was pretty good, though not very hot by the time it got to our table.  That’s understandable, though.  The other couple also had salmon.

Bill went with the beef… also smothered in cream sauce.  Also, not bad at all for banquet food.


After dinner, the birthday cake was cut…

I’m sorry this is a crappy picture.  I used a different purse last night and neglected to pack my digital camera that would have allowed me to zoom in.  I did think it was funny that the young soldier helping to cut the cake was born in 1994.  That was the year I graduated college.  I feel old, now.

The cake was delicious!

The colors were retired… and people commenced dancing.

I stayed safely on the tier overlooking the festivities.  I won’t dance, so don’t ask me.


At one point, the other couple at our table asked one of the waiters if we could have more wine.  They said we had to pay for it.  But then as the evening wore on, one of the waiters brought us a fairly full bottle that needed to be finished.  Waste not, want not!  We also witnessed a marriage proposal, which was definitely cool, and we got to take home crystal plates as a memento.  I was actually delighted about that, since a few of our small lunch plates got broken during our move!  Those crystal plates will definitely get used.  So will the pretty centerpiece as I celebrate birthday #44 tomorrow.

I was a little confused about the music.  There was a D.J. playing dance music, but then it seemed to morph into karaoke for a few numbers.  I actually would have enjoyed a karaoke party, since karaoke is one of my favorite pastimes.  I sing much better than I dance.  But I think they were only doing karaoke for a few pre-selected slow numbers.  The few singers were good, which is always a blessing at any party.  When the dance music came back on, a huge conga line formed.  I watched the conga line and briefly thought about joining it… but decided I’d rather watch.  I didn’t want to press my luck and faceplant or something.  Okay, I will admit that I did dance for about thirty seconds…  I didn’t fall down and didn’t throw up on the dance floor, so I call that a success!

As I was enjoying the festivities last night, it occurred to me how much I enjoy attending Army events.  There’s always a lot to see and it’s fun watching people have a good time.  There’s never a shortage of good people at Army balls.  People really let their hair down… well, as much as they can let their hair down, anyway.  I was even introduced to several new line dances (that I didn’t attempt myself), including one for “Copperhead Road” by Steve Earle.  I happen to have family roots in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, so that song has a special meaning for me.  😉  There’s usually moonshine at my family’s parties, as well as dancing and live music.

The best part of the evening was getting to meet several people I only know from online.  I am very active on Facebook, so I’ve interacted with a lot of folks in the Stuttgart community via the Internet.  Several of them came up to me last night and asked, “Are you the ‘Overeducated Housewife’?”  That was too cool!  I also got to feel like a celebrity as I talked to several people I’ve never “met” online who read this blog and told me they enjoy it.  To those who do read, I want to offer my sincere thanks!  It really made my night last night to hear people tell me they like the blog.  I was even happier to hear that a few folks had tried and enjoyed some of the restaurants I’ve written about.

I write this blog mainly because it’s fun and gives me something constructive to do.  I don’t do it for fame or money, though that would certainly be an incentive to write more.  So, it’s really a treat when people tell me what I do is useful to them.  Being “overeducated”, childless, and unemployed sometimes makes me feel a little worthless.  Last night, I was reminded that every person has worth and one can never know how many people whose lives they touch every day.  Thanks to everyone who touched my life last night by making the evening so much fun.  And I want to offer a sincere thanks to everyone who reads my blogs.  I really do appreciate it.

Happy birthday, Army!  We really had a marvelous time celebrating with everyone last night!


Part 8… Finally, a new island for us! Islay!

There are many distilleries on Islay, so it makes sense that our next stop on our whisky cruise would be on Islay.  However, because we were coming from Kintyre, we had some distance to travel before it would be time for another distillery tour.  We spent Saturday morning cruising past Northern Ireland on the way to our next stop, the Laphroaig Distillery.  Laphroaig is a well-known whisky and when I posted that we were headed there, I got a few likes from friends, as well as a spelling lesson.  It’s not so easy to spell Laphroaig properly, you know.

Bill and I took the opportunity to enjoy some local-ish beers offered on the ship, as well as try a gin that was new to us called Isle of Harris.  I had to point this out to an old friend of mine from Virginia whose last name happens to be Harris.  After lunch, we anchored in Port Ellen.  I was excited because I had heard about Islay, but had never actually been there.  Iain, the hottie hotel manager, came from Islay and told us where he grew up.  Apparently, everyone on that island knows each other.  This was later confirmed to me when Bill and I were in England and happened to run into an Englishman with ties to Islay.  He said he went there once, mentioned his family name to a bartender, and the bartender called up his relatives and they later showed up at the bar to drink with him.

We were loaded up on a truly *shocking* bus.  It appeared to be a school bus with a big sign at the front demanding that everyone wear seatbelts.  However, all of the seatbelts appeared to be badly damaged.  I noticed the upholstery on the seats was torn and poorly repaired with duct tape.  Then I noticed food stains and dried boogers smeared on the seatbacks.  Apparently, we were using a schoolbus!  Never mind, it got the job done.  Some of the cruisers weren’t interested in the whisky distillery, so they went to see Kildalton Cross and walk around Port Ellen.  The rest of us went to taste more whisky.

More barley malting…  Laphroaig has much of theirs trucked in.

Peat, which gives Laphoaig its distinctive flavor…

And another kiln…

The Laphroaig Distillery has an interesting history which I read about on the display boards in the visitor’s center.  Our group was divided into two groups.  I am sad to say that I don’t remember our tour guide’s name, but he was a very knowledgeable and entertaining chap.  He had been told that we knew about the whisky making process, so he simply showed us around the distillery and allowed us to taste the wort.  A wort is basically the same stuff one uses to make beer.  In fact, all whisky starts out as beer before it turns into spirits.

The Duke and Duchess…

Stainless steel tanks as opposed to the oak ones we saw at many other distilleries…

The spirit safe.

Like Springbank, Laphroaig was in the middle of malting barley.  Once again, we were shown how it’s done, though it appeared to me that Laphroaig has a slightly more sophisticated system all the way around.  I noticed a couple of shots of Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla on the walls, indicating that they had paid a visit.  Also, a lone stag passed us as we walked through the distillery.

After we toured the distillery, we visited Kildalton Cross, where I managed to take some really beautiful photos of Islays’ stark and haunting landscape.  Bill commented to me that he’d like to find a self-catering cottage on Islay and just hang out there for a week.  I’d be up for that myself.  It really is a beautiful place and there are plenty of other distilleries there that we didn’t see, namely Bowmore and Ardbeg.  We were supposed to see the Bowmore Distillery, but that was replaced at the last minute.

I like to buy music when I take trips, so instead of buying whisky, I purchased a couple of new CDs from Laphroaig’s gift shop.  I have now listened to both of them twice and really enjoy them, though I had never heard of the performers before I bought their music.  That night turned out to be pretty musical anyway, since Angela Paterson and her violin playing friend Fiona showed up to perform for the passengers after we’d had dinner.  Bill and I only stayed for about a half an hour.  That’s not a reflection on the quality of their playing.  I thought the ladies were very talented and I would have liked to have stayed longer.  However, Bill was nodding off and I was pretty tired myself.  I usually spend a lot of time by myself, so it can be taxing to spend the whole day around people.

I heard that after an hour or so, people started dancing to the music.  I wish I could have seen and/or participated in that.  I did, however, take away some inspiration from the musicians who played after we visited Port Ellen…

I learned “Wild Mountain Thyme” after hearing it performed on Hebridean Princess.

Credit the call of nature for my getting this shot…

Kildalton Cross…

John, our guide, and the lovely musicians from Islay.  I think that was the only time I ever saw John wearing pants as opposed to his kilt.

I just learned “Wild Mountain Thyme” today, thanks to Angela and Fiona…  

Laphroaig casks!