Sud Tyrol and beyond… part four

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Chasing a waterfall in Mittenwald, gazing at the Eibsee, and views from Germany’s highest mountain!

Saturday was a full day for us. It was definitely fuller than what I’ve been used to lately. We walked several miles in warm weather and the pedometer on my iPhone was giving me bursts of celebratory praise in the form of virtual fireworks. Still, even with all of the walking we did on Saturday, we missed the majestic waterfall at Leutaschklamm, which is most easily accessed from Mittenwald, Germany. So, on Sunday morning, we decided to visit the German side of the gorge.

We were a little bit confused about this part of the walk. When we read up on visiting the gorge, people mentioned a three euro fee to “see the waterfall”. I was under the impression that it was on the gorge trail itself. It’s not. If you go to the German side of the gorge with your car, you have to park at a lot in the town, walk down a pleasant country road alongside the rushing brook, and then you will encounter the German entrance to the gorge trail. However, you won’t find the waterfall on that trail, which looked pretty steep and obviously leads to the panorama bridge. I shared pictures of the bridge in part three of this series– one post previously.

Instead, you have to go to the nearby snack bar– which you can’t miss– pay three euros, go through a turnstile, don a mask, and then walk through a misty crevice on a wooden planked trail. Your three euros also gets you access to the toilet, which is pretty handy. I didn’t take a picture of it, but the sign on the men’s room reads that that toilet is for men only. The ladies room is for both men and women. I guess the men’s room only has a urinal. Unlike the gorge trail, the waterfall path is narrow and it’s impossible to “socially distance”, hence the mask requirement. If you don’t have one, you can buy one at the snack bar.

I took video of our walk to the waterfall. At the end of the video, there are a few clips from Saturday’s walk on the Austrian side. Here it is!

It was worth the three euros!

I also got a lot of nice pictures of this excursion. The walk took about twenty minutes or so, and only because we stopped to enjoy the waterfall and the cool mist it created. I would say this experience was easily one of the highlights of our trip! I’m so glad we didn’t miss it.

It was late morning by the time we were finished seeing the waterfall. Once again, I was glad we arrived early. Parking spots were filling up fast, and just as they were on Saturday, people were lurking for a place to park. We noticed that the lot on the Austrian side was completely full when we passed it on the way to Mittenwald. And as Bill was trying to vacate our spot, two dumbass guys parked their car directly behind us temporarily so they could get a Parkschein (parking ticket). They were completely oblivious to the fact that they were blocking us, too. But even once they noticed Bill’s annoyed face, they still didn’t move, and they almost caused an accident. Unfortunately, they weren’t the only dumbasses we ran into on this trip. But, in fairness, I’m sure some drivers thought Bill was a dumbass, too.

After the thrill of the waterfall, we decided to visit Eibsee, which is a huge, beautiful lake at the base of the Zugspitze. First, we’d have lunch in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, which we hadn’t visited since 2009. It was a bit of a ghost town, probably due to COVID-19. I noticed a favorite Konditorei that we visited a few times back in the day was closed. I was sad to see it. Last time we were there, we parked next to a car that had been keyed… looked like maybe the owner’s ex girlfriend was a bit of a psycho. S/he had scrawled “Fucking bastard” on the side of the car, or something like that. I remember feeling sorry for the guy, having to drive around with that on his car. He might have been a bastard, but it was still not a great look. Plus, the thought of the sound the key must have made on the metal set my teeth on edge. That was at least twelve years ago and I could see that the Konditorei, which had served such delightful pastries, coffee drinks, and beer was closed up tightly. What a pity. Edited to add: my German friend says the person who ran the Konditorei when we visited had a bad reputation. Maybe he was the owner of the “Fucking bastard” car. He disappeared sometime in 2009 (same year we left) and a much better tenant took over. She closed the business last fall.

We had lunch at an Italian restaurant called Pizzeria Renzo, although I would have loved to have stopped in at El Greco, which was a favorite Greek spot we used to visit back in the day. We thought El Greco had closed, but as we passed it on the way back to the car, it was obviously open. I guess they took down their outside menu because of COVID-19. A lot of restaurants are offering abbreviated menus right now, since a lot of them are printing them on single sheets of disposable paper instead of handing out thick books of pre-COVID days.

After lunch, we made our way to the Eibsee in Grainau. We knew it would be crowded. I wasn’t expecting it to be the way it was. I thought the lake would be like a lot of the other lakes I’ve seen in Germany… kind of low key. Well– the Eibsee, which is right next to the huge tourist attraction of the Zugspitze and either the Seilbahn (cable car) or cog wheel train to the summit– is not an easygoing place. Lots of people were taking advantage of the lake– swimming, sailing, paddle boating, hiking, and picnicking. I had really just wanted to get a few photos, so that’s what we focused on… then, kind of on the fly, we decided to take the cable car to the top of the Zugspitze, where we enjoyed a beer and got even more photos.

These pictures of the Eibsee are kind of misleading. I managed to get some that don’t show a lot of people. The place was very crowded, and we would have been hard pressed to find a spot if we’d wanted to go swimming or boating. I didn’t have a bathing suit with me, anyway. I was glad to get the pictures, though, and now that I’ve seen the Eibsee, I don’t have to visit again. Since we were already there, we decided to see the Zugspitze, too. Bill was last up there in the 1980s, when there was no Seilbahn. The cog wheel train still runs and you have a choice as to which method you want to use to get to the top of the mountain. Since face masks were required for either method, we chose the Seilbahn, which is super efficient and only takes ten minutes. The basic cost for either method of getting to the top of the Zugspitze was 59 euros per person, although they had other tickets for families or those who wanted to visit other attractions.

We could have spent a lot more time exploring here if we’d wanted to… They have lots of exhibits as well as other activities that we didn’t try. It’s obviously a popular attraction for children, too. But it was a very full day for us, so we were ready to go back to the hotel. Getting out of the parking lot was obnoxious– we encountered a trifecta of dumbasses. As Bill was backing out of his space, an oblivious young fellow with water toys almost collided with the hood. Then, another dumbass with his buddies and perhaps a girlfriend, decided to aggressively angle for Bill’s spot. He came very close to hitting our 2020 Volvo. I sure as hell am not looking for another legal issue this year, although it would not have been our fault if he’d hit us. Bill just sat there and stared the kid down until he let us leave.

Finally, the last dumbass of the day was an old guy on a moped. He suddenly got a wild hair up his ass and cut Bill off as he carelessly pulled into traffic without even looking for oncoming cars. It was a very near miss. The guy could have met his maker if Bill weren’t such a good driver.

On the way back into Leutasch, I spotted a little fest going on. We stopped and listened to some Austrian folk music, bought a small piece of art and some locally produced gin, and checked out a camel who was brought in for camel rides. They also had pony rides.

A short video with the folk music. I wasn’t trying to capture people on film, so it’s not a great video. But the music is delightful!

And finally, our last dinner at the fabulous Hotel Kristall to cap off this gargantuan post about our Sunday. I really enjoyed Austria and it was far too long since our last visit. We need to come back again and explore more of this underrated country with its warm hospitality and breathtaking views!

I would say that Sunday, August 9th, was the best day I’d had in a long time. It was worth the cost of the entire trip. But there were more thrills to come in Italy. More on that in the next post!

A weekend at home and in the city…

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Saturday morning, we got up later than usual. The weather is changing inexorably to autumn, which means random rain showers and cooler temperatures. I’m mostly happy to see the weather change. It kind of matches my mood these days.

Saturday, we stayed home, listened to music, and drank wine. Bill finally broke out the electric pasta maker I got him last year. He made homemade bread and fresh Fettuccini Alfredo. Here are the photos… I have created a cooking monster.

We drank lots of wine all day and enjoyed each other’s company. I think we’ll have to make fresh pasta more often, especially as the weather gets colder.

Yesterday, the weather was kind of crummy, but Bill wanted to venture into Wiesbaden to catch the last day of the annual city fest. It was very well attended despite the weather. I’m sure it helped that it was also a Sunday shopping day in Wiesbaden. I got lots of pictures. My favorite attraction, of course, was the Shetland ponies. They had quite a few people selling crafts, lots of food, wine, beer, and agricultural exhibits. There was also a car show going on in the Market Square.

To be honest, for several reasons, I’ve been feeling a bit down on Germany lately… but one thing I do like about living over here is that there’s always something to celebrate. The Germans will have a festival for anything. And the ones up here in Wiesbaden are kind of different from the ones near Stuttgart. They tend to be less focused on beer and more on wine.

I was hungry, but not in the mood for fest food or the crowds. We wandered around looking for someplace to eat and finally ended up at Casa del Sabor, an Argentinian steakhouse. We ate there a few months ago and I really enjoyed the rib eye steak I ordered. This time, I decided to try a cheeseburger. This was an act of bravery on my part, since burgers can be iffy over here…

The cheeseburger had tomatoes, onions, cucumbers (not pickles), lettuce, ketchup, and mayo on it. I don’t usually put mayo on burgers, but I think Germans often do. I had to cut it in half and struggled to finish it, mainly because I went to town on the bread. I was really hungry when we came in and both of the spreads, but particularly the garlic, were delicious. I like Casa del Sabor. We’ll have to go back and try some of their other stuff, if only so I can have more of that garlic spread.

I was feeling kind of tired and listless and the weather was getting worse, so we decided to go home. I relaxed for awhile, then joined Bill for more music and wine. I went on a buying binge on Saturday and got a few albums by classic bands from my youth… the Doobie Brothers, Steely Dan, and Chicago. Sometimes I miss being young, but I am grateful I grew up at a time when there was so much fantastic music.

So begins another week here in Deutschland… Columbus Day weekend is coming up. I usually plan trips for the long weekends, but I am not feeling very inspired to this year.

Damned good burgers at Fletcher’s Better Burger in Frankfurt…

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We had absolutely perfect weather today. It was so perfect that we were seriously considering going to an apple festival in Mainz. We decided to go to Frankfurt instead, since Bill discovered a new burger restaurant we had to try. A friend at a conference he just attended at Ramstein Air Base told him about Fletcher’s Better Burger, a chain in Frankfurt that was started by an American. At this writing, there are four locations, all of which are in Frankfurt. I have a feeling this restaurant will take off and there will soon be more places to enjoy one of Fletcher Davis’s juicy burgers.

We tried the location at Katherinenpforte, which is right next to Frankfurt’s big main square and just around the corner from Five Guys. There’s a huge parking garage located right next to the square. It was a bit of a mad house getting in and out of it, and we had to park on the top floor because so many people did a shitty job parking. However, Fletcher’s burger was so good, I didn’t mind it so much. Here are some photos from today’s visit.

It’s a pretty low key affair. They just have burgers (beef and veggie– made with peas), fries, soft drinks, and beer. The meat is fresh daily, and they make their own buns. Burgers come with tomatoes, onions, ketchup, mayo, honey mustard, lettuce, and pickles. You can also get jalapenos, fried onions, BBQ sauce, hot sauce, mustard, and grilled mushrooms free of charge. Irish cheddar cheese and bacon is extra.

Unlike Five Guys, Fletcher’s Better Burger only gives you one patty with a standard burger. Of course, if you want more meat, you can add it for 1,60 euros or 1,90 euros for an extra patty with cheese. You can also order your burger wrapped in lettuce if you’re watching your carbs.

I have to say, we were really impressed with our burgers. They were juicy, fresh, flavorful, and a good size. I also liked the cross cut fries, which were robust with potato flavor and cooked to perfection. I definitely think Fletcher’s Better Burger could give Five Guys some competition. I noticed they weren’t nearly as busy, either.

The only thing I didn’t like about our experience was the music. They were playing godawful dance versions of classic 80s songs, including “Fast Car” by Tracy Chapman and a cover of “With or Without You”, which was originally a U2 song. I found the music very annoying. But we could have eaten outside, as they did have plenty of tables available. Also, the bathrooms, which are at the bottom of a flight of stairs (bad news for wheelchair users), could have used some attention today. We would still go back, though. It’s nice to see the humble hamburger getting better treatment in Germany.

After we ate, we walked around a small fest that was going on. We didn’t stay long because there were a lot of people crowded into a small space. But I did take some pictures.

People were selling gifts, crafts, and lots of food. I was disturbed by the number of stalls specializing in mushrooms… the one food I will not eat under any circumstances. Some guy was also selling mushroom lawn ornaments. Creepy!

I’m sure we could have found more to do, but Frankfurt was even more of a zoo than usual today, so we decided to head home so I could write this post. Tomorrow, we’ll hit the apple fest… or, at least that’s the plan.

A little Scotch N’ Soda… an Irish pub in Wiesbaden

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We almost didn’t make it out yesterday. It rained until the afternoon and Bill spent most of the morning and early afternoon in search of Betadine for Arran’s paw. I had some when we lived in Stuttgart, but it somehow got displaced during the move. I’m sure I’ll find it when I don’t need it anymore.

Bill’s search sent him to several stores and a couple of pharmacies, where he finally scored a small bottle for about 16 euros. Some things in Germany are way more expensive than they are in the United States. I’m going to order some from Amazon to have on hand.

When the much needed rain finally let up, I told Bill that I really needed to get out of the house. It’s mostly been a depressing week without Zane around, and I was in need of some fun. A person in my Facebook wine group was in Wiesbaden yesterday, and she recommended a visit to Scotch N’ Soda, an Irish pub downtown. I also knew there was an international food festival going on. So, although it was early evening and rain was still threatening, we headed that way. I must add, Arran was a perfect gentleman while we were gone.

We started out with the festival. It turned out to be pretty small, although there were some interesting looking food booths there. But because it was getting late, and the weather wasn’t cooperative, it appeared that some of them were closing. I took a few pictures anyway. I seem to remember a larger incarnation of this festival in Esslingen and Stuttgart in years past.

We didn’t stick around the fest for long, though, since it appeared to be wrapping up. The church bells were going off extremely loudly, so I kind of wanted to get out of the area. They went on for several long minutes…

We took a stroll around the area, looking for dinner. I had Scotch N’ Soda in my head, but wasn’t averse to trying a different restaurant. I love a good Italian place, although I have had enough Italian food in Wiesbaden and really need to branch out. When we got to the Irish pub, it wasn’t hard to make the decision to go inside.

Scotch N’ Soda is located near a kind of “restaurant row”. There are a bunch of eateries there, including the excellent La Cantinetta, where we’ve dined a couple of times so far. La Cantinetta was very busy yesterday and I wasn’t in the mood to be upsold on expensive wines and appetizers. By contrast, Scotch N’ Soda is very much a low key place. It has a cozy round dining room, with lots of tables and chairs… almost too many for the room. One can also go upstairs, where I assume there’s more seating.

Scotch N’ Soda has a sports bar like atmosphere. You can sit outside, weather permitting, so sit inside and listen to British rock or watch European football. I commented to Bill that this place appears to be Wiesbaden’s version of “The Auld Rogue”, which only makes sense if you’ve also lived in Stuttgart.

The Auld Rogue in Vaihingen was a Greek restaurant called Taverna Faros when we first moved there in 2007. It later turned into a really shitty dance bar, then eventually became a very successful American hangout, where everyone speaks English. Bill and I visited The Auld Rogue many times during our most recent Stuttgart stint. I’ve blogged about it plenty of times.

Well… Scotch N’ Soda seems to be Wiesbaden’s version. Lots of Americans were there last night, and more than a few appeared to be affiliated with the U.S. military. However, I don’t think Scotch N’ Soda is quite as comfortable as The Auld Rogue is. It’s definitely not as large. I was impressed by their beer selection, though, which was better than The Auld Rogue’s. And their menu was also somewhat different, and somewhat less kid friendly.

I enjoyed the fish and chips. I couldn’t quite finish them, so the waitress kindly offered to box them up for me. Bill and I were admiring all of the whiskies on display. They had a nice variety of them from Ireland and Scotland. I counted how many whose distilleries I’ve now seen. Bill liked the cottage pie, which had some spice to it. I was kind of laughing to myself, though, because it was just such a “British” dish in the traditional sense. Britain is not exactly known for its food, although good food can definitely be had there if you know what to order. I happen to love British food, but that’s because it’s mainly comfort food. It’s not really “highbrow”. That cottage pie was decidedly not “highbrow”, but Bill liked it.

One guy at the bar did order a burger. I don’t know which one he had, but it had two very thick patties on it. I wondered if it was the “Fuck You” burger they had advertised in the menu. It looked pretty good, but again, I have been disappointed by burgers in Germany too many times to take a chance. Maybe next time, Bill will get one and I can determine if I’ll ever take the plunge. They did also have other sandwiches made with chicken or salmon, as well as soups, ribs, steaks, and even breakfast.

The bill came to about 37 euros. Bill rounded up to 40 and we made our way home. As he was paying for the parking, I couldn’t help but notice this manic looking ad for dental implants.

I’m not sure if I’d trust this guy with my teeth. He looks a little crazed. German ads crack me up.

It’s raining again today. We definitely need the rain. I’m kind of hoping we can go to Mainz, though, since today is the last day of the wine market. We’ll see what happens.

We just made Wiesbaden’s Weinfest…

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It’s been going on since last week, but we were away, so we only got to it today. Despite some clouds and heavy rain, we had a good time. I got to try several good wines, including some from Turkey. We listened to good music. I got some photos, too. Here they are…

We happened upon some live entertainers who were doing a great job of channeling Stevie Ray Vaughan. Actually, the guitar player was like Vaughan, as his female singer was more like Bonnie Raitt. As a singer myself, I was quite impressed. One thing I do love about Germany is that there is never a shortage of entertainment. There’s always a fest going on, and there’s good food, good entertainment, and clean toilets aplenty!

Today, we also finally visited the inside of the huge Protestant church in downtown Wiesbaden… and it was just as beautiful as I’d imagined. I just want to hear the amazing pipe organ, now.

Our landlord said yesterday not to worry, because he knows we’ll be here next year, and they do this every year. He’s probably right, but I’ve learned not to count on it. Still, I liked this more than Stuttgart’s Weindorf. If we are here in a year, we will definitely go back, and hopefully visit more than once.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There’s even a woods!

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

Cheers!

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

This guy was dancing his ass off.

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

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

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

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

Fireworks!

Breckenheim bikers throw a good party!

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Every time we move to a new place, I’m always intrigued by our neighborhoods.  Some places have been better than others.  This time around, we seem to have chosen a very social neighborhood.  Last week, we had the wine stand.  This week, we have a street fest that was capped off by a concert hosted by a bunch of bikers from our current hamlet, Breckenheim.

The club members all had these vests.  Most of them were very personalized.  As you can see, this group was celebrating their 20th anniversary!

If we’d wanted to, we could have just sat out on one of our balconies.  The bikers had a band and were selling brats, brotchen, beer, and Jack Daniels.  I loved that they all had matching leather vests with their names on them.  I got the sense that during the work week, they were all working conventional jobs.  On the weekend, look out!  They were born to be wild!

We stayed at the fest for a couple of hours and listened to the band’s first set.  Here are a few pictures.

The view from our balcony.

 
We had a little bit of rain, but the locals were prepared.  They put up a tent and, with some teamwork, were able to put it over about half of the tables.

A plane on the way to Frankfurt, no doubt.  We live about twenty minutes away.

Bill was in a festive mood.  He likes a good Friday night fest, even though he knew he needed to stay sharp because we finally got the VIN for our new car and he had to call the bank about arranging the loan.

 

Drinks were flowing…  They even had four dispensers for Jack Daniels.  I guess that’s a biker thing.  I used to like Jack Daniels a lot.  When I used to fox hunt, the master of the hounds would pass around a flask full of the stuff.  I didn’t drink it then, because I was just a teenager.  I don’t drink it much now, but when I was in college, I was a fan.

The brats were grilling.

Lots of people were socializing.  This looked like a very friendly group.  I like that there are so many clubs in Germany, one for every possible interest.

 

This was dinner.  It was very good!  I don’t usually go for brats at these events, but I think the bikers put me in the mood.

The band was also pretty swell.  They were playing all manner of hits, from well-known pop songs in English to German songs.  One lady sang a well-known Adele song; another covered Amy Winehouse.  They were quite competent and even had a sax player!

 
The crowd was into it.
 

I tried one of the Jack and Cokes.  It was a lot sweeter than I remembered it, and not just because of the cola.  This one was a double…  I’m feeling it this morning.

 

They had lots and lots of Jack Daniels.  I didn’t know Tennessee Sour Mash whiskey was so popular here.

 

After awhile, we decided to go home so Bill could attend to his loan business and I could play him a new song I discovered yesterday.  I think there will be a lot of activity choices for us this weekend… lots of fests are going on right now.  We’re definitely spoiled for choice!

 

Nagold triple threat! Grill Off, Dog Swimming, and a Street Food Fiesta!

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It’s no secret that Nagold is probably my favorite of all the cute towns in the Stuttgart area.  There are a lot of reasons why I love it.  For one thing, it’s super close to where I live.  For another, there are many awesome restaurants.  It’s a very pretty little town with a river, a great Badepark, and lots of shopping.  There’s even a nice hike to some well preserved ruins that give you a great view of the whole area, right on the edge of the Black Forest.

It’s not lost on me that when Bill and I move in the next couple of months, I’m going to really miss Nagold.  It’s an awesome town.  If we ever have the good fortune to move back to this area, I will be looking for another house near Nagold.  I love that town!

Today was a great day to be in Nagold, since there were three events going on.  There was a grill off, involving several eateries vying for the best barbecue, a Street Food Fiesta, and the pool complex was allowing dogs to swim on the last day of the season.  Bill and I visited all three events.  Below are some photos from the day, with some light commentary.  To my knowledge, these are annual events.  I know they do the dog swim every year at the end of the pool season.

This was a good bet today!

 

Not too busy yet!

This man is serious about his meat!

Setting up for judging.

 

After a quick weizen, we went into an awesome warehouse turned after work bar.  It’s called Teufelwerk and they host dancing, after work parties, movie nights, and concerts.  I had seen it before, but today was the first time we ever ventured inside.  Let me just say, I’m a little sad we have to leave now…

The inside of Teufelwerk.  We went in for a cupcake and potty break…

They have a little outdoor area overlooking the river, complete with repurposed toilets.

You could sit here and watch the world go by…

Or watch whatever is on the stage.

Or have beer and cupcakes.

They were getting close to starting the judging for the grill off…

The scene was set for good beef… so we decided to watch some dogs swimming.

 

Nagold has a really nice pool complex.  Today is the last day of the summer season, so people were allowed to bring their dogs for a swim.  We didn’t bring Zane and Arran because neither of them particularly enjoy swimming.  But we did pay a euro each to go in and watch the dogs who did attend.

This dog didn’t want to get in the water, but did want that ball.  S/he was trying to get the ball to float closer… and getting checked out by another pooch.

Plenty of dogs were having a blast!  It was a great place for action shots!

 

I was kind of tempted to jump in myself!

We passed by the grill off on our way to the Street Food Fiesta, which, to be honest, was kind of disappointing.  We should have just stayed at the grill off and eaten beef.

This was kind of a small affair.  The music was pretty horrible, too.

Bill had a “pulled beef” burger from this stand…

I was a little tempted by these fried dough treats, but then I realized they were a recipe for heartburn.

As I was sitting here eating meat on a stick, some really awful racist music came on.  They were playing dance and rap music and they played one song that was full of really filthy racist language.  I usually have a pretty high tolerance for that stuff, but my ears were burning.  

So I ate this and drank a beer.  Then we got the hell out of there.  I had to cleanse my brain by listening to Ronnie Milsap.

Still, they had some interesting food selections. I’ve seen better street food fiestas, though. Maybe we’ll have better luck at the next one in Tübingen in a couple of weeks.

 

My favorite part of the day was the dog swim.  I wish I had brought my dogs and my bathing suit.  Maybe they wouldn’t have gotten in the water, but I would have.  It was a great day for it.  And it was fun watching all the dogs playing.  If we were going to be here longer, I think we’d definitely check out Teufelwerk, although maybe we’re too old for it.

I’m sure Nagold isn’t the only town basking in the last days of summer.  If you’re new to the area, I encourage you to seek out events in your town.  There’s always something going on in Germany.  Dive in and enjoy the culture!  Create some memories!  As for me, I’m making a few more before we move to a new German town and make new memories on the Rhein.

The 2018 Böblingen Afrika fest… and back to Sindelfingen’s street fiesta!

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I posted yesterday about how Bill and I visited Sindelfingen’s Street Fiesta.  This weekend event was a first for us, and we had a great time.  Last year, I remember very well visiting Böblingen’s Afrika Fest, which is one of several local Afrika fests held in the summer.  In the four years we’ve lived in the Stuttgart area for the second time, we have also attended Afrika fests in Stuttgart and Tübingen.  By now, I know it’s a great place to enjoy African products– clothes, food, music, furniture, dishes, and art.

Today, we decided to visit Böblingen’s 2018 Afrika fest.  Afterwards, we went back to Sindelfingen, because if I’m honest, there was more food, more entetainment, and more beer.  But if your aim is to shop, I will admit that Böblingen is a good place to be during the last weekend in August.  Below are pictures from both events, along with my usual comments.  I have been drinking… 90% of which was done in Sindelfingen.  I’m sure it won’t be hard to determine which fest I liked better.

This guy was on stilts, entertaining everyone….  I got a lot of shots of him.

 


 I bought one of the plates in this photo…  The salesman was Tunisian, which meant something to me. I visited there over New Year’s 1977-78.

More Tunisian wares!  I want one of those birdcages!

Another salesman.  We didn’t stop in.

You had to buy a coupon to get beer or wine.  It was a pain in the butt.  We did it anyway.  I had a glass of wine from South Africa. 

Lots of people were enjoying African cuisine, German beer, and Cuban cocktails, along with a mashup of Cuban and African music.  

Set up for the afternoon’s performance by an orchestra from Senegal.  We didn’t stick around for it, but I bet it was lovely.

Another shot of the guy on stilts.  He was very engaging.  Bill says this is an West African thing.  Wikipedia tells me this is called “Moko jumbie“.  “Moko” means healer and “jumbie” means ghost or spirit.  He watches over his village and guards it from evil spirits!

Lots of clothes to be had.  I’m not a fan of the deep crotched look.

Bill got a turkey shwarma, which was full of turkey, grilled onions, and a “light sauce” with a kick.

He brought me a plate of stuff… this was West African and had chicken, lamb, and possibly pork or beef.  I couldn’t tell.  It also had cous cous, rice, and peanut sauce, which I loved.  And there were two fried dough rolls that were kind of like hushpuppies.

 

Longer lines for food at the Afrika Fest.

He was everywhere and wanted to be photographed!

 

 Böblingen is quite nice, if you know where to go.  This is the Marktplatz, which, in six total years of living in this area, I will admit I have spent very little time.

We left Böblingen at about 2:00 and decided to go back to Sindelfingen.  I wanted to try some of the craft beers we missed yesterday.  Once we found a place to park, it proved to be more our speed.  There’s was more live music, played by the band pictured below…

They were playing good songs and their arrangements were great, but the lead singer was lacking vocal range.  Sorry, I really am a snob when it comes to music.  But they played stuff by the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Golden Earring, AC/DC, and Black Sabbath.  Not bad.

Good beer.

Plenty of stuff for the kids to do.

Plenty of food, too… everything from fish n’ chips to burgers, along with some vegetarian selections, sweets, and beers.

We spent a good portion of the afternoon talking to an American guy named Zach who came here from America to get his master’s degree and is now helping to launch Germany’s craft beer scene.  I asked him to join my wine and food group, mainly because even though there is a local beer group, I am not in it and I like my beer.  Anyway… if you also like your craft beers, you are invited to check out Cast-Brauerei, which has operated since 2010 and has a Web site.  You can visit, buy beer, and talk to Zach, who is friendly and knows about Saved By The Bell.  Zach’s colleagues recognized us from yesterday, when we were accosted by the drunk guy who was having a very good time trying everything.  See my previous post for the story on that.

These fests are now over, but the good news is, they run every year.  So if you missed them this year, you can probably catch them next year, if you’re around.  And if you come back every year, chances are good you’ll see a lot of the same people.  Talk to them.  They don’t bite, and will teach you a little something about what is here in Germany.  And who knows?  You might even make new friends.

Stuttgarter Frühlingsfest 2018

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Full disclosure.  Although Bill and I have lived in the Stuttgart for over five years of our married life (07-09 and 14-?), today was our first time ever visiting the spring fest in Stuttgart.  To be honest, I think we were taken aback by our very first “fest” experience in 2007.  It took us another 9 years to do another.

I think we’ve found that we like going on Sunday afternoons.  I think Bill figures that’s going to be less busy… however, when we’ve gone on Sundays, there has been ample entertainment.  I mainly like to go for the beer, the fabulous chicken, and watching all the drunk people.  Although I am not averse to getting drunk myself, I don’t generally get as messed up as some of the young folks do.  And today, we wound up in the young folks’ tent.

Actually, our trip started out a little bit stressful. I noticed on the train in Herrenberg that, unlike a lot of other people the previous fall, I was wearing Trachten and no one else was.  Add in the very obnoxious Middle Eastern looking lady who appeared to be taking pictures and texting, and you might realize how paranoid I was.  And then I saw on Facebook that one of the tents supposedly didn’t open until 5:00pm.  I needn’t have worried, though.  Plenty of people were wearing dirndls and lederhosen… and it was not hard to find a tent in the afternoon.

We got to the Dinkelacker tent at about 1:30pm or so… Honestly, I don’t know.  We sat at an empty bench, fanned ourselves a bit (it’s warmer in the spring), and ordered a couple of Maß Krugs of beer.  Then we had our traditional chicken and rolls…  Below are some photos from the festivities, which continue until May 13th this year.  We actually decided to go today because next weekend, we will be in France.  Now I see we could have postponed!

Goofy photo… and the nicest one of me today.  

Always good to know.  There is a WC very close to the train station.  

A few rides.  I used to like rides.

 

It wasn’t too busy when we arrived.

That chicken is so good! 

We found seats near the stage, although signs warned us that the benches were reserved from 5pm.  Honestly, I would rather party in the afternoon.  You have plenty of time to recover until it’s time to work again.

As time wore on, things got a little wilder…

But it was still pretty calm at this point.

Uh oh… people are busting loose!  By this point, I was becoming less pissy myself.

Hip bumping!

The lady in the blue dirndl was making eyes at the guy playing guitar…

 

Every time I think I might want a mini-dirndl, it occurs to me that maybe I’d rather not have my gams on display… but this lady had nice thighs.

 

One last shot before we left…

And a few shots of the crowd before we made our way to the train…

 

And the ride back to Herrenberg from Bad Cannstatt was not too bad… and no one took pictures and texted.  If I write a strange short story on my main blog in the next month or so, you’ll know why.

 

If you want to get a feel for the fest, watch the video.  It’s totally unedited, recorded on an iPhone (because my purse won’t accommodate my big camera), and will give you an idea of what happens from about 12:30 or 1:00 until about 5:00pm.  If you’re bringing kids, it may be especially valuable viewing.  If I’d had my camera, the film would be better.  But I have ordered a new purse, which means fewer iPhone films.