anecdotes

Weird day in Brno…

Once again, I’m writing a short post to serve as a reminder when I write up this trip, which is proving to be epic in so many ways. Bill and I had very few expectations for today, but it turned out to be profound in so many ways. So I’m going to write about it now, so I don’t forget…

Bill and I went to Brno today just to see the city. We had heard it wasn’t a very exciting place. But just a few minutes after we exited the parking garage, we came upon an outdoor food fest. It all looked and smelled delicious, so after we climbed a tower and took a Labyrinth guided tour, we headed back over there. After a few minutes of lurking, we scored a seat at a table, and Bill went looking for beer and lunch.

He came back with a couple of craft brews, then brought a potato pancake. I like potato pancakes, but I’d had my eye on the meat on a stick that was being grilled over an open fire. I thought Bill understood that. When I hadn’t been super excited about the potato pancake, he asked me if I wanted pork or chicken. I didn’t care and said so.

Bill went back to the stand and came back with… sausage in a pepper sauce. It is traditional for the area. I wasn’t too happy about it, because it wasn’t what I had been expecting. And I didn’t understand why he kept bringing back stuff I didn’t want. At that point, I thought he knew what I wanted. I was reminded of our infamous hot dogs for lunch incident in Switzerland. He was bringing me hot dogs when I wanted something else. I also knew we wouldn’t be able to eat everything and it was likely going to go to waste.

Bill dutifully went and got me some chicken on a skewer with horseradish, mustard, pickles, and bread. It was a lot of food, and more than I knew I could eat. I did what I could, and Bill ate some. But I knew it was going to get tossed.

Suddenly, this very thin woman with brown hair and brown eyes showed up. She had bald spots and was missing at least half of her teeth. She pointed at my bread, which I hadn’t touched. I asked her if she wanted it. She nodded yes. Then I asked her if she wanted the whole plate of leftovers. She did, and she quickly grabbed it, sat down at a spot near us, and chowed down with much gusto.

Bill continued eating his food, and when he was finished, she took his plate, too. A nearby couple who appeared to be British were shocked as they watched her wolf down the leftover food Bill and I had been sharing, and we were obviously total strangers to each other. I don’t blame them for being shocked. I would have been, too. She completely cleaned both plates. Nothing was wasted.

She finished off the potato pancake and the pepper sauce that came with the sausages. Then, when Bill went to get more beer, she said she wanted some water. When Bill came back, I told him the lady wanted water. He disappeared to go get it, and I was left alone. After a few minutes, a much cleaner cut looking man in a leather jacket came to me and started begging. He was not as convincing and wanted money, which I didn’t have. I tried to ignore him, but he wouldn’t go away.

The toothless lady, whom I’d been trying hard not to stare at, told the guy off. He responded back to her. I started getting really nervous, because I was alone and didn’t see Bill waiting in a line. I started wondering if maybe they knew each other and someone grabbed Bill and beat him up or something. I think the lady could sense I was nervous, because she was sticking up for me, but I finally told the guy to go away. I just didn’t feel safe at all. I was genuinely worried. And of course, I don’t know a word of Czech.

The guy went away, and I waited some more, getting more upset by the minute. Finally, I saw Bill and his familiar soldier’s walk. He had a six pack of water for our new “friend”, which he’d bought at a nearby Lidl. He gave it to her, much to her delight. She picked it up, touched her heart, thanked us, and promptly split.

It was a very profound experience for both of us. We drank a little more beer, listened to some live music, and on the way out, happened to run into an awesome banjo busker we’d seen in Cesky Krumlov just a couple of days ago. There he was in Brno, playing his banjo and looking cool. Bill had run out of small Czech bills, so he gave him ten euros and we told him he was awesome (and he is). I bet, the way things are going, we’ll run into him in Prague, too.

I was also reminded a bit of our experience in Dublin, back in 2018… Bill ended up giving a bunch of euros to a homeless guy he had inadvertently insulted. He’d made a very thoughtless comment, felt like shit about it all day, and was presented with a chance to make it right. So he did. We weren’t feeling guilty when we ran into this lady, but she clearly was someone in need of help. We helped her, and she was very grateful, much like the guy in Ireland had been. She never asked us for money… all she wanted was our leftovers, which would have gone into the trash, anyway. She ate all of them and thanked us profusely.

I don’t care what kind of person she is or what her lifestyle is like. She is certainly worth all of the consideration we showed her and even more. Maybe if we hadn’t been so stunned, Bill would have just bought her some lunch of her own, instead of letting her eat the remnants of ours. But the whole thing happened so fast and was so shocking that we didn’t think of it. It was a win/win if you think about it. We got to try the food that intrigued us, and it didn’t go to waste when we couldn’t eat it all.

We probably should have made more of an effort to see Brno than we did, but we had a really good time and made memories that will truly last a lifetime. I hope we can come back again someday. Brno is a fascinating city.

Well… that about does it for now. Stay tuned for the official trip report, which will come when we get home, starting Tuesday. Tomorrow, we’re off to Prague, for the last two nights of our trip.

The featured photo is of the chicken dish I had. She ate all the bread, most of the pickles, the horseradish and mustard, and some of the chicken. Then she ate the remnants of what is pictured below.

None of this went to waste today… and I left with a cool story.

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American cuisine in a Germany based restaurant owned by Iranians…

The weather cleared up nicely this afternoon, so Bill and I decided to go to Wiesbaden. I read there was going to be a festival there, starting at 3PM. So we fired up my neglected Mini Cooper, put the top down for the first time since last year, and drove to town.

We actually got to Wiesbaden at about 1:30. I watched a lot of people walking around in costumes. Bill said there was some kind of Cosplay event going on… Glad he explained. I might have thought Let’s Make a Deal had made it to Germany.

We walked around a bit, enjoying the beautiful, warm, sunny weather. We passed a new looking wine bar that appeared to be inviting. But when we got to the end of the street we were on, we ran into what looked like an anti-vaxxer demonstration. We turned down another street and soon passed a new restaurant called Godfather. Bill said he’d just gotten a Facebook ad for the place, which opened on July 17th.

Since we didn’t have any other big plans, we decided to give it a try, even though I’m not always impressed by American style restaurants in Germany. The first thing I noticed when we went inside was the music. It was a bit loud, and consisted of a single female singer doing covers of somewhat recent hit pop ballads that mostly sounded like the same type of emotional song. The singing certainly wasn’t bad, but the tempo was a little depressing, especially for a burger joint. I heard the playlist at least twice through during our visit. I probably wouldn’t have noticed it or minded if there had been a mix, rather than just the one singer doing covers of songs like Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”.

I looked on the wall and noticed there was an “Uber Uns” (about us) statement hanging on the wall. It read that the people who owned the restaurant were from Iran and had come to Germany because the husband was getting an education in engineering. They decided to stay in Germany and open a restaurant. The wife is a singer and a writer. Hmmm… sounds like we have something in common. I also used to live just north of Iran, in neighboring Armenia.

The restaurant offers burgers, fries, quesadillas, pizzas, snacks, and a full bar. Bill and I decided to have a round of beer, and I had the Philadelphia burger. He had a quesadilla. I got a choice of what kind of bun I wanted, as well as the type of patty. The waitress also asked if I wanted everything on it, which in the case of my burger was “salad” (lettuce), tomato, avocado, guacamole, Godfather sauce, and there was supposed to be cheddar cheese (although my burger didn’t have cheese on it).

Bill’s Washington Quesadilla had beef, mozzarella, cheddar, tomato sauce, corn, pico de gallo, avocado, and their version of Ranch dressing.

We also had a round of pommes (fries) which reminded me of what we might find in Belgium. We couldn’t finish those and took them home with us.

Overall, I thought the food and service at Godfather was very good. The staff was friendly to us, and the serving sizes were ample, as well as reasonably priced. The only thing I didn’t like as much was the music, which I found a bit sedate and a little too loud. They did change it to something peppier as we were finishing up.

I thought the presentation of the food was very nice, and noticed there was a lot of fresh vegetables. I think my burger was also hand formed, which is excellent. One thing I don’t like about German burgers is that a lot of times, they’re very tightly molded, so they aren’t juicy or flavorful. Not so at Godfather. I had to eat my sandwich with a knife and fork, because it was a bit messy!

I think we’d go back to Godfather. We had a good experience. I do wish they offered some Iranian food, since there are plenty of places to get burgers in Wiesbaden. I noticed they had a burger called the Tehran Burger, though. Maybe they’ll come up with some interesting twists of their burgers with Iran in mind… even though Godfather is meant to be an “American” restaurant. I won’t get the Tehran burger, because it has mushrooms on it, although I guess I could ask them to leave them off.

Below are some photos from today. We really enjoyed the weather. Wiesbaden is such a pretty town!

As we were leaving, the car ahead of us had trouble getting out of the newly refurbished garage. Bill was getting irritated by that… but then we ran into traffic due to the breaking up of a football (soccer) game. It was fun to watch all the men walking down the street with their plastic cups of beer.

We never did make it to the fest that prompted us to go out. I was thinking about hitting a wine stand or something, but decided I’d rather just come home and hang out with Noyzi. It was good to go out for awhile, though… especially since there were so many people celebrating life.

Maybe tomorrow, we’ll do something truly different. We’ll see…

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All new adventures in German laundry… and last night’s festivities!

The last fifteen hours or so have been rather eventful. First off, last night the two day Breckenheimer Dorfplatzfest began. Ordinarily, last night would have just been a regular wine stand night, but the local culture club held its annual festival. So basically, it was like a supersized wine stand with beer, food, and live music. They had brats and burgers, along with fries (pommes) and wild potatoes with tzatziki.

Our neighbor and multi-talented veterinarian, Dr. Konrad Blendinger, was there with his pop ensemble, providing entertainment as friends and neighbors gathered in the village “square”. Dr. Blendinger plays guitar and even wrote a song about Breckenheim, which he sang last night. When he’s not playing music, Dr. Blendinger is well-known for his prowess in breeding dogs. Like, he’s world renowned for it– and people come from all over for his services. I even caught him admiring Noyzi when we brought him to a wine stand. Noyzi will never be a father, though. 😉

Bill and I had a pretty good time, although we were joined by an older German couple who didn’t speak English. There were also a few women there, one of whom was one we met on prior occasions. She asked us where Noyzi was. We left him at home, because we figured it would be too loud and busy for him. She nodded her approval.

We impressed them with our ability to enjoy wine, then they brought over some guy who spoke Russian. I spoke Armenian to him… 😉 I did so to be funny, not because the Russian and Armenian languages have anything in common. Of course, I didn’t expect him to speak Armenian, and I’m actually glad he didn’t, because I have forgotten a lot of it myself. I guess I just get tired of people assuming all Americans are monolingual. The guy got up and walked away. 😀 Oh well.

I also had occasion to use the new toilet that was installed last year. The fest was canceled last year because it was being built. As you can see from the photos, it’s pretty snazzy. This time, no one walked in on me, either. They put up directions in German and English!

I got some photos and videos of the festivities.

We had a good time, but unfortunately, I overdid the wine quite a bit. This morning, I look like I got in a fight. Oh well…

As if having a hangover wasn’t bad enough, Bill greeted me with the news that there’s an issue with our washer. I bought the washer brand new from Amazon.de nine years ago next month. For the past couple of years, it’s been in decline. There’s a problem with the door sensor, so that it doesn’t close properly unless you bang the shit out of it. This morning, Bill tried to do a very light load and the cycle quit at about five minutes.

I drained the machine, which made a big mess… then I determined it was time to buy a new washer and dryer. Our dryer is functioning, but it has an annoying squeak that I can hear all the way upstairs, and it’s just a very no frills Turkish model that is too small and isn’t that great.

I spent the last hour or so agonizing over which brand to buy. The washer we have now is an LG, and it’s not bad… and I know how to use it, for the most part. But I wanted to get one as soon as possible, so I ended up buying a Siemens washer and dryer. I figure if they turn out to be smart devices (and I think they are), I’ll only have to download one app. Plus, I could get them delivered on the same day. Hopefully, they’ll work out fine. I paid a little extra for the delivery guys to hook everything up and take away the old appliances.

These new machines are quite a bit more expensive than the old ones were– naturally. I think I paid just over $1600 (about 700 euros each, before VAT and delivery) for the pair, whereas I see I paid about 600 euros for my old dryer (no longer available) and 370 euros for the old washer (which I now see is also no longer available and gets poor reviews– it probably didn’t when I bought it). But I think they’ll be easier to use, and they’ll hold more. I got the 9 kilogram size, instead of the 7, which is what I’ve been using. I would have liked to have gone for the biggest one they offered, but doing that would have significantly reduced my choices. Also, we have to make sure we can get the appliances through the doors and down into the basement.

I mainly decided to buy the models I did because they got mostly good reviews, weren’t super expensive, and could be delivered as soon as Tuesday. I do a lot of laundry, so this is a good thing. The bigger size should make it easier to do laundry, too. I think I got a condenser dryer, which will be a new thing for me. I tried to find one that vents, because that’s what I’m used to, but they didn’t seem to have them available. So, now I get to learn how to use a condenser dryer.

I’m already feeling a lot better than I was earlier. I took some Advil and ate breakfast, which helped a lot. The Dorfplatzfest starts up again at 2:00 PM, but I’m not sure if we’ll go today. Bill is talking about brewing some beer… and I sure don’t want to start tomorrow like I’ve started today.

In other news, we have some pretty wild flowers in our backyard… They came from the bee bombs I planted a few months ago.

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Street food in Hofheim equals presents for my ass…

I was feeling kind of lazy today, and probably could have been talked into staying home. But then I noticed Hofheim, which is a town very close to our village of Breckenheim, was having a street food fest. I have to admit that I love German street food fests. They are always an interesting mix of kid friendly activities and adult beverages. Also, there’s usually live music and good food. I don’t care that much about kid friendly activities, of course, but I am all about adult beverages, good live music, and street food… especially if it involves empanadas. So off we went in the Volvo, since I didn’t feel like messing with the Mini’s last decade sound system. I think it’s time to shop for a new car. The Mini is 13 years old and can’t keep up with technology. 😉

We parked in a different area of the Chinon Centre, which is the local shopping mall. We easily found the fest, which was/still is going on downtown. There was a nice turnout of vendors, with everything from Indonesian to Colombian food. We didn’t actually eat a lot, because much of what I saw being served was in pretty large portions. I may look like I can eat a lot, but actually, I am more of a drinker. 😉 So I ended up just having a couple of empanadas… but I did learn about a fruit that was new to me… and especially about the hilariously rude names people in the UK use for it.

Anyway, below are some photos and videos… It was a lot of fun, and a nice way to waste the afternoon. I really liked the guy who was playing guitar in the last hour or so of our visit. He seemed equally influenced by Sting, Santana, and Mark Knopfler. All are worthy, in my opinion. And his live guitar playing beat the ever loving hell out of the crappy Euro trash trance music that was playing. I do love Europe, but the pop music here often sounds like a mixture of dance music and late 80s era Mentos commercials.

As you can see, we had lots of choices for food and drink, and there was plenty for kids to do. The weather was perfect, not too hot or windy. My only complaint is that they needed another umbrella or two. Also, I wish there had been smaller portions at some of the food trucks. But really, those were minor complaints. It was a really nice afternoon. Hofheim rocks!

Medlar fruit, AKA Mispelfrucht in German, is interesting. Apparently, in Britain, some people give it vulgar names because of how it looks. Seems about right for my peeps. They call it “monkey’s arse” or “open arse” or whatever. It is, however, considered to be a very tasty fruit. Today was the first time I have ever encountered it in my lifetime.

I would have liked to have tried other stuff, but it was quite hot, sunny, and bright outside, and Bill was worried about the dogs. So we came home. We had a good time, though, even if we were near an American lady who was very loudly letting everyone know where she’s from. I guess eight years of life in Germany has made me sensitive to loud talking.

I did get a few videos of Bill, which also captured the guitar player. He was pretty good.

Don’t mind our silly banter. I have the best husband ever.

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Where has Limburg been all my life?

First thing’s first. I had no plans to visit the Hessian city of Limburg, Germany today. I went there because I follow Wiesbaden Fest Finders on Facebook, and I run my own “wine and food” group, mostly for Americans in Stuttgart and Wiesbaden. My food and wine Facebook group started in 2017, when Bill and I lived in Stuttgart, and we made a point of trying new restaurants and doing new stuff every weekend. In those days, we had no clue that we’d eventually move to Wiesbaden, and we had even less of a clue that there would be a global pandemic.

In late 2018, when we moved from Stuttgart to Wiesbaden, just about everyone in my Facebook group was based in Stuttgart. It was a pretty active group then. Since I spent six years living there in two different stints, I decided to just tack Wiesbaden onto the name of the group. In 2018, I thought I’d be going to Stuttgart often, if only because that’s where my dentist is. The main difference is, I don’t belong to a bunch of Wiesbaden groups. Living in Stuttgart and dealing with social media drama there made me want to be more under the radar. So I kept the group going, but while I thought I’d be going to Stuttgart more often than I do, that hasn’t happened. Thank COVID for that.

I still have lots of Stuttgart members, and some Wiesbadeners have joined. It’s not a particularly popular group, and frankly, I’ve been thinking about going defunct. But just when I’m about to abandon the group, something exciting happens that makes me keep going. Today was one of those days. Today, we discovered Limburg! And no, it’s not where the infamously stinky cheese comes from; that’s in Belgium.

A whole shitload of wine fests are happening right now in the Rheingau. I posted several of them this morning. The Limburg fest happened to be the first one I shared in my group. I was a little curious about Limburg, because in 2020, when we were trying to adopt a dog from a German rescue, we had a home visit done by a lady who was from Limburg. She said it was about 45 minutes away. She approved us for adopting the dog, but tragically, it didn’t work out for us. But no matter. Now we have Noyzi, the wonder dog from Kosovo.

So anyway… that brings me to this morning, as I was contemplating whether or not I wanted to go out, having just recovered from my first official bout with COVID-19. I finally decided that I did want… and NEED… to get out of the house. Like I wrote before, there were many things going on today. We had our pick. But I decided I wanted to go to Limburg, so that’s where we went. And, I have to say, we had a great time! This was our first time in Limburg, but God willing, it will not be our last. What a cute town! It’s on the Lahn River, and there are so many splendid timbered buildings dating back hundreds of years. The weather was perfect, and when we got there, I was enchanted by the many adorable shops. I even found something I wanted to buy, but decided not to, when I realized how heavy it was.

We stopped at the Leon Gerhard Weingut stall and tried several wines. I would have liked to have tried others, but we were a little pressed for time, thanks to the parking garage. It was one where you prepay, rather than pay when you’re done. Bill’s credit card wouldn’t work, and for once, we were short on spare change. While I didn’t think the cops were gonna bust us for overstaying, Bill was in a hurry… and we did have hungry dogs to consider.

There were a whole bunch of vintners at the Wine Fest, as well as food purveyors. As we were leaving, musicians were setting up for live music. I couldn’t help but feel so grateful to be in Germany now… as my homeland is embroiled in endless political bullshit, Germany is having wonderful festivals, reminding us that sometimes you just need to chill out and enjoy some wine and company. God bless Germany. It will always have a piece of my heart.

As for Limburg, it definitely didn’t stink… again, the infamously smelly cheese, comes from the Limburg area of Belgium, not Germany. So although I will make jokes about stinky cheese and cheesiness, this town isn’t the one affiliated with famously pungent cheese. We’ll be back, because I’m sure they have lots of fests. We were only there for a few hours, but I feel like I got a short vacation, and it was great for my soul. Especially when we visited Limburger Dom, which is a uniquely beautiful cathedral that has its origins in the 9th century.

We did stop for lunch at Werner-Senger Haus, which is a very cute and historic restaurant in a building that dates from the 1200s. We ate in their garden, which was up a couple of flights of stairs, or accessible from a gate on the other side of the restaurant. It was hot, so we drank Weizens, and I had a Wildschwein Burger, while Bill had Wildschwein Bratwurst with Pfifferlingen mushrooms. The food was good, and there was plenty of it, although it was a bit messy! Both dishes came with a Preiselbeer sauce that was a bit heavily applied on my burger, which was “molded” rather than hand shaped. But it tasted okay, even if it was a little rarer than I like it.

As we were leaving Werner-Senger Haus, I noticed a portrait on the wall near the door. I thought maybe it was Werner Senger, but my German friend was kind enough to edify me with the startling truth. Apparently, the man in the portrait is the Schinderhannes, Johannes Bückler. The restaurant is in the house where he was brought after he was captured. Wikipedia tells me that Johannes Bückler was an outlaw and thief who lived from 1778 until November 21, 1803, when he was guillotined in nearby Mainz. Bückler was famous for organizing one of the biggest crime sprees in German history, so we were dining on true historic ground! I did marvel more than once that I thought the restaurant was really cool looking, but now I know it’s very historic, too.

I might have preferred street food at the fest, but I needed to pee, and as we walked through there, the public WCs weren’t quite open for business. They were when we came back an hour or so later. Our bill at the restaurant was about 49 euros. I would like to go back, if only because it really was such a unique and historic building, just as so many others in that town are. I felt like I got a half day vacation!

Below are some photos…

We had a great time today. I am sure we’ll be back to Limburg. It’s a very nice town, and I’ll bet they have some great fests. And once again, I am so glad to be living in Germany. I don’t know how long we’ll be here, but today was a reminder to enjoy and learn from every moment. Today was a treat, and I hope we can get back into enjoying them more often. At least until COVID gets bad again.

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Sundays

A little Sunday fest in Hofheim…

Our beautiful weather continued on Sunday, so Bill and I decided to take the Mini out again. We had several appealing options for places to go. The cute town of Ingelheim am Rhein was hosting the Hamburger Fischmarkt, which is an annual tour the Hamburg Fischmarkt does most years. It was canceled in 2020 and 2021, but it’s back again. Ingelheim was going to have it for the weekend, so I thought maybe we could go to that. But then I remembered going to that market in Stuttgart and recalling that it gets pretty crowded. Since I’m still getting over a cold, I’d rather not be around a bunch of people.

Then we thought maybe we’d go to Wiesbaden and find a restaurant for lunch. But as we were driving out of Breckenheim, I remembered that Hofheim was having a flea market. We decided to go there instead. I can’t tell you too much about the fest itself, since we got there a little late. They had live music, a fire engine display, food, and lots of performers on stilts walking around Hofheim. It was also a shopping Sunday, so a number of stores were open– a rare thing on Sundays in Germany. We enjoyed what we heard of the band, which was finishing up as we arrived. I managed to get a minute of footage, posted below.

After we walked around a bit and ran into a balloon animal making children’s performer with an organ grinder, we decided to have lunch at Cafe Tass, a place we’d never tried before. The food was pretty good, if the service was a little casual. Bill tried speaking German as he was telling the server which dressing he wanted for his salad. The server immediately switched to English! Sigh… such is life. That’s why I kind of gave up on trying to learn German.

We didn’t stay too long, because it was hot and sunny, and we’re very white people… Hofheim doesn’t have the lovely grove of oak tries Eltville has by the river. But it was nice to get out for awhile, and while we were eating lunch, the band came over and had rumpsteaks. A guy came over to them and asked in German where they were playing next. They said Bayern (Bavaria). They were a pretty decent band, singing songs in German and Italian.

I also observed a lot of people smoking and vaping, including a couple of young ladies sitting near us. They shared a vegetarian Flammkuechen (Alsatian pizza). I don’t mind vaping as much as cigarette smoke, which came from the people sitting behind Bill. But, other than the air pollution, it was a nice lunch. I had gyros, which came with t’zatziki, rice, and pommes. Bill had a summer shrimp salad with yogurt dressing. I couldn’t finish my lunch, so we brought half of it home with us. I’m glad “doggie bags” are more of a thing in Germany now. Lunch was less than 40 euros.

I actually got choked up with how happy people were during the fest, enjoying the music, dancing, and just being good to each other. What a sharp contrast to the image I get of the United States, as people continue to fight over basic human rights for women. I felt very grateful to be part of the celebration yesterday… and I have so much love for Germany, which is feeling more and more like home, even if it really isn’t. I’m grateful I get to live here.

Below is a cute children’s performer singing, playing his organ grinder, and entertaining everyone!

Below are some photos from yesterday’s outing. It was a beautiful day!

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2022 Sekt Fest on the Rhein in Eltville!

We had absolutely gorgeous weather yesterday, so Bill and I decided to take a short trip to Eltville, a charming town on the Rhein River. We decided to go there because there’s a “Sekt Fest” going on all weekend. We love Sekt, which is Germany’s version of “fizz”, and Eltville is an absolutely charming hamlet.

Yesterday’s visit was only our second time in Eltville. The first one occurred in the blissful days of June 2019, before COVID-19 shut down the world. Eltville is a SUPER cute town, and we only live twelve miles from there, but there’s another issue that kept us away from there, besides COVID-19. There was a bridge that runs through A66 (Autobahn) that, in 2021, was declared unsafe. The bridge was closed and demolished last fall, which means that going to certain towns on the Rhein requires taking detours. The bridge is now being rebuilt, and will hopefully reopen in 2023.

Because my Mini Cooper convertible is 13 years old and has less than 39,000 miles on it, we decided to drive it yesterday. We also took a short detour through the lovely, but congested, town of Biebrich, where some guy tried to parallel park in a street parking spot while we were in heavy traffic. He was trying to back up, but we weren’t able to move for him, because there were people behind us… and naturally, they all started honking. Before I knew it, I was yelling at the guy, and actually called him a dickhead! Technically, that would be “Beleidigung”, which is a personal insult and is illegal in Germany. But at least I didn’t flip him the bird, which is also illegal.

Soon enough, we had forgotten about the dickhead who almost caused a collision. Bill was parking at the local Rewe, which is also the site of a large “Parkhaus”. We walked into the old town, stopping for lunch at a place called the Eltviller Rosenstübchen. We decided to eat there, because they were offering continuous service, with no “pause” after 2pm. In retrospect, we could have just gone to the Sekt Fest and gotten food there, but we didn’t know how big the festival was going to be.

I’m glad we stopped at the Eltviller Rosenstübchen for lunch. The restaurant has kind of a cozy, old fashioned look to it. Service is very friendly; prices are reasonable; and we had a delicious lunch of smoked trout that probably came from the Rhein. I shared a laugh with one of the chefs, who was drinking a draft beer as he made lunch! I could see him from my high pub bench, which offered a view into the kitchen.

After lunch, we went down to the riverfront, where the fest was going on. Some people were selling their creations in booths, while there were also plenty of food vendors and wine stands. We stopped at a couple of wine stands and enjoy some Sekt while we watched ships pass. At one point, we even saw a Viking river cruise ship pass, although I didn’t get a chance to see which one it was. I’ve never sailed with Viking, but I’ve heard good things about their cruises. It’s interesting to live near a place where luxury cruise ships pass on a daily basis. I would probably never want to take a Rhein River cruise, since I can drive to most of the places where they stop! Maybe I would take one years from now, for old time’s sake… but then again, I probably wouldn’t. There are other places I want to see more.

At another point during our visit, we saw a couple on the river. It looked like they were just married, and we did see a fancy old car at the church that had flowers on the hood. That’s usually a dead giveaway that someone got married. But then my German friend shared a link about Eltville’s Sekt festival, and I’m wondering if maybe the couple wasn’t part of the fest. They waved at the crowd as they passed, and there was another canoe full of photographers. So were they a newly married couple, or were they part of the act? I don’t know… but I did get some interesting photos. The weather was just awesome. Wish more days were this gorgeous.

Bill got nervous about the dogs, so we headed back to Breckenheim. I wish we could have stayed longer. They were setting up for live music as we were leaving. We will definitely have to spend more time in Eltville. It really is a lovely town. And who doesn’t love drinking wine on the Rhein? Okay… maybe teetotalers wouldn’t. But we all know I’m not one of those. 😉

Weeee! We need to drive the Mini more often!

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Our Heidelberger Birthday Holiday! Part six

Yesterday morning, we enjoyed another “lie in”, then packed up everything for the relatively brief trip home to Wiesbaden. I’m glad we went to Heidelberg. It’s not far from where we live, but it has a different feel. It was nice to leave Hesse, even if we were just over the line. I could have used another day, to be honest.

I didn’t take pictures of yesterday’s breakfast, which was much like the one before it, although we had it inside instead of out in the courtyard. I mentioned that it was my birthday and was hugely surprised by a special gift from the kitchen…

This was a delight! I truly wasn’t expecting it.

After breakfast, we brought our own bags down to the reception desk. They greeted me with a “Happy Birthday!”, having noticed it on the paperwork. All told, our extravagant weekend ran us about $2000 or so– including two nights in the junior suite, a couple of trips to the bar, breakfast, parking, one dinner, and a couple of bottles of wine. Yes, it was very expensive, but we felt it was well worth it after such a difficult and strange year. For us, personally, it wasn’t as difficult as it’s been for a lot of people… but it was definitely weird. I’m hoping for better and less odd days in the near future, as more people get vaccinated against COVID-19. We choose to enjoy life while we still can… and splurge when we can. Bill’s latest TDY per diem will be paying for this trip.

Since we couldn’t pick up the dogs until 6:00pm, we decided to go home a different way and spend a couple of hours in Speyer, a town in Rheinland-Pfalz I had heard a lot about but never had a chance to visit. On the way there, my German friend shared this adorable happy birthday video with me.

Bwahaahahahaaha!

After we parked the car, we started walking toward the picturesque city, when I spotted this…

We decided to just stroll through the town and take some photos, since we were really full from breakfast. Founded by the Romans, Speyer is one of Germany’s oldest cities. It’s the kind of place where it’s just cool to be there. It has a unique look and a different vibe. After our brief look, we’ll definitely have to go back for another visit and perhaps an overnight or two. Parking was cheap and easy in a huge lot near the downtown area.