Rheingauer Weinwoche in Wiesbaden– 2023 edition! And more dental woes for Bill…

Yesterday, I lamented to Bill that yet another Saturday was about to get away from us with no fun outside of the house. His answer to me was to suggest that we go to downtown Wiesbaden, where the Rheingauer Weinwoche is going on. This annual event started on Friday and will run through August 21st. COVID kind of messed it up in 2020 and 2021, but we attended in 2019 and we went several times last year.

Although we had some rain yesterday, we managed to get to the festival after most of the weather had passed. It was just partly cloudy with some breezes and a few drops from the sky. As usual, the big celebration is going on in the Schlossplatz, and there are dozens of wineries from the Rheingau region represented, along with some food stands and live entertainment.

Bill and I parked at our usual garage at the theater, where we soon noticed that they had a brand new parking system in place. It used to be, when you drove in, a machine would give you a ticket that you’d later feed into the payment machine. It would tell you how much you owed when you reclaimed your car. Now, you just drive in and input your license plate number when you leave. I also noticed that they had designated a bunch of spaces on the first floor for electric vehicles. I guess that’s one reason to get an electric car. You get prime parking spots downtown! 😉

Anyway, it had been awhile we were last in downtown Wiesbaden. We should probably go there a lot more often than we do, because it’s a really nice town… much prettier than downtown Stuttgart is. There is often a lot going on, too.

We walked around the fest, just to see what was available. I stopped at the first WC I saw, noticing that the price of a whiz has gone up to 1 euro. However, you can purchase an all day ticket for four euros, or a family pass for six euros. I ended up going four times and Bill went twice yesterday. Next time we go, we’ll have to get a family ticket. 😀

We stopped at a random wine stand that had plenty of seating and a good view of the festivities. I had a glass of Riesling and listened to a female singer in the distance, but noticed I could also hear a brass band on the other side. I was more in the mood for the brass band, so we left after one glass and went to the other side. Not surprisingly, there wasn’t a lot of seating there, so we went around the corner and sat at another random wine stand that happened to specialize in Sekt.

That other stand was also near a WC, which was very handy for me… so we just sat there and people watched, drank wine, and took some photos. I’m sure we’ll be back again at least once, because just as they did last year, Bill’s co-workers have reserved a table for this coming Friday night. I have a feeling Bill will be ready for a celebration, because on Monday morning, he has to visit a local dentist to have a tooth extracted and start the process for his very first dental implant.

Wednesday, he was at work, eating a gummi bear, and suddenly noticed that there was some rattling in his mouth. He spit out a hunk of gold, which turned out to be a root canaled and crowned molar that he’d had done in 2011 or so. It just sheared right off! He called our usual dentist in Stuttgart, but as usual in August, he had shut down his practice for his annual vacation. Since this was not a situation in which Bill could wait until next week, when Dr. Blair returns, he asked a colleague for a local suggestion. Her dentist turned out to be pretty excellent, too.

He called that dentist’s office and they got him in at 10:30. The oral surgeon– a young German guy who went to school in nearby Mainz– said he couldn’t save the tooth, which had a huge cavity in it under the gold crown. But since the tooth had already been root canaled, the dentist said Bill could wait until Monday to have it extracted without risking infection. Then, perhaps, he might even be able to get the implant put in without having to wait for the tissues to heal first (like I did when I got my implant in 2016). Truthfully, though, I have a feeling he’s going to have to come back later for the implant. They’re probably going to have to do a sinus lift, which will take more time. I had to get one of those, too.

So… not only did we just buy a bunch of new appliances for our house, but now Bill is going to have a big dentist bill. We do have dental insurance, but it’s still going to be pricey work. And when we go back to see Dr. Blair in October for our cleanings, he’s going to be like “WTF”? 😀

Honestly, though, given the number of appointments it takes to get a dental implant, it’s probably a good idea for Bill to have it done locally. If and when my other baby tooth finally gives up the ghost, Dr. Blair can do another implant for me. I know he does excellent work. The one I had done in 2016 is still perfect.

I figure the wine fest will offer Bill some pain relief, after he has his extraction on Monday… I don’t know if we’ll go back today. Bill just brewed a new batch of beer last weekend, so he needs to bottle his brew. My car also needs a spin to keep the new battery functioning. It looks a bit cloudy, too. On the other hand, the wine fest is a lot of fun– there’s also beer and non alcoholic beverages for those who aren’t into wine, as well as plenty of food. We capped off yesterday by having a rare east Sicilian treat called arancini. I noticed them early in the day and was intrigued. They’re deep fried rice balls, covered with bread crumbs and stuffed with mince meat and/or vegetables, mozzarella cheese, peas, and ragu. The ones we had yesterday were delicious and filling!

Here are some photos from our excursion…

I do love this about living in Germany… There’s always some kind of fun or interesting activity going on, and the vast majority of people are well-behaved. Yes, the police were there, and there was security, but I saw little need for them to intervene. The same isn’t necessarily true at events in the United States. So, I’m grateful to live here… and raise yet another toast to the annual wine festival week in Wiesbaden!

Champagne Bucket trips, Regent Seven Seas Cruise Lines

Getting off the Regent Splendor and into Copenhagen…

The morning of Friday, June 23, would be a “changing day” for us, as Dr. Phil would say. That was the day we were to disembark from Regent Splendor and go back to a land based lifestyle.

To be honest, I wasn’t that sad about getting off the ship. We had a good time, and Regent Splendor is, for sure, a gorgeous, comfortable, well-staffed vessel. But I looked forward to a still floor at night, a day without tour buses, and not having to dress up for dinner. Also, I was legitimately tired. I know it sounds crazy to need a vacation after a vacation, but in my daily life, I don’t spend time with many people. I was also still dealing with the remnants of the cold I caught in Norway, and trying to unpack the many new things I saw, heard, and did over the course of our long vacation. So, I wasn’t too depressed about disembarkation day. For me, it was time.

The last Regent Splendor breakfast…

The night prior, we packed our bags, tagged them with group Yellow One stickers, and went to bed. We had our last breakfast in the stateroom, did one last thorough check to make sure everything got packed, and then made our way to Deck 5, which was the lowest the stairs and elevator closest to us would go. I think our original plan was to go to Deck 4, which was where the exit was, but we ran into Gail and Ger at the Coffee Connection area– where people could get coffee drinks and desserts at any time. We only used it once, on the last full day, when I stopped there for a double shot of espresso to get me through the last bus tour.

We had a nice final chat with Gail and Ger as we waited for our group to be called… and it never actually was! We were among the last people off the ship! I didn’t mind, because we were headed to the Clarion Hotel Copenhagen Airport, which has a check in time of 3:00 PM. Since it was still about 9:30 AM when we disembarked, we had plenty of time to kill. And kill time we would, because there was a HUGE line for taxis. I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say it took about an hour before we scored a cab of our own. I managed to get a shot of a customs dog inspecting cargo while we waited.

A very friendly Pakistani man– one of several on our trip– invited us into his cab for the roughly forty minute trip to the hotel. The guy told us that he was born in Pakistan to a wealthy family. His siblings were all people with prestigious jobs. His children moved to the United States, where they enjoyed high level work with handsome paychecks. But he was happy as a Copenhagen cabbie, where he provided an honest and necessary service to people like Bill and me. As he talked, I could tell that he was more interested in interacting with Bill. He said a few things that were blatantly sexist, mostly about the female leaders in Denmark.

I had agonized a bit over where we would stay for our two nights in Copenhagen. At first, I wanted to stay downtown. But then, when I realized we would be leaving the city on Sunday morning, I figured it would be best to stay near the airport. Clarion Hotel Copenhagen Airport is the closest we could get. It turned out to be an excellent choice.

When we arrived at about 10:00 AM, a bunch of people were checking out. We had originally planned to drop our bags and go into the city, but it turned out they had a room ready for early check in. Bill paid an extra $70 or so, and we were able to go straight to room 1140.

Room 1140 was very spacious and offered a nice view of the area. It had a large bathroom with a bathtub and a shower, and his and hers sinks. There was a desk with an uncomfortable chair that faced the mirror. However, I was able to move the chair to the other side, so that was a plus. I don’t like looking at myself when I’m writing! The room also had a minibar, but it was the kind where if you move anything, they automatically charge you. That wasn’t so good, since we couldn’t use the fridge to cool anything personal.

When we got into the room, I realized that I really just wanted to rest. The weather was kind of crappy, anyway. The sun was coming in and out, but there was also lots of wind and some rain, which was much needed, from what I understand. So I got into my nightie and laid down on the bed. Soon, I was fast asleep… for three hours!

I think Bill took a nap, too, but he slept for a much shorter time. He’s such a good egg. He let me take my very long nap without interruption. Obviously, I needed the rest.

When I woke up later, it was mid afternoon. The hotel has a restaurant that stays open all day, so we decided to go get something to eat and try some Danish beers (although my first one was French– Kronenbourg 1664). So that’s what we did… and I was delighted when the blond waiter, an obvious local, immediately spoke Danish to us! I guess we look the part.

The food in the restaurant was good, although the portions were small. I didn’t mind the smaller portions, actually. I wasn’t super hungry, and it was just enough to take care of me for the rest of the day. I guess the hotel restaurant is popular with locals, too, because I noticed there were several reservations. It was empty when we came in, but it was pretty much packed when we left! Maybe it’s just the only “local” restaurant in the Kastrup area, although the hotel is connected to both the airport AND a metro station. And the train will get you downtown in about 13 minutes!

After we visited the restaurant, we went back to the room and ended up watching a 70s era movie with Burt Reynolds and Jerry Reed. No, it wasn’t Smokey and the Bandit. It was called Gator, and it was a drama. I confess that I wasn’t paying close attention to it, even though it was in English. However, I enjoyed it enough that I downloaded a greatest hits album by Mr. Reed. When we got home on Sunday, I played it. I had forgotten how entertaining and genuinely talented Jerry Reed was. It made me glad I was born in the early 70s.

The next morning was Saturday, and we had the day to venture into Copenhagen. The weather was actually somewhat worse on Saturday, but I was feeling more energetic after my day of rest. Over breakfast, we thought about what we might like to do. Copenhagen’s aquarium is located very close to the hotel and we thought maybe we might like to go there. But then I read the reviews, which indicated that weekends there are crowded. I wasn’t in the mood for crowds.

Copenhagen’s awesome metro!

So, we decided that we’d just take the metro downtown and wander around, like we usually do. Maybe we’d stumble across a museum or something, or find something cute to buy for Bill’s grandchildren. I’ve been on a lot of metros in my time. Copenhagen’s metro is very easy to use and reasonably priced. It was easy to find our way to the center, which was still vaguely familiar to us after fourteen years away. Our visit to Copenhagen in 2019 did not include a stop downtown.

We walked around a bit, and I got lots of photos… I was a little tempted by shopping, but then I remembered that we were flying, rather than driving. My bags were stretched to the limits as it was.

Eventually, it was time for lunch. We went searching for a place, and then it appeared, just like a beacon… An Italian restaurant called Accanto. We were warmly welcomed to sit down and enjoy a lovely lunch, accented by expensive, but tasty, wines by the glass. What I especially loved about this place, besides it’s “cozy hygge” vibe, was that we were not rushed at all. The waiters were very friendly; the food was good; and they even threw in some limoncello.

After our long lunch, we decided to stop by a very cool food market, where we picked up some wine for the evening. We took the metro back to the hotel. On the way there, I got a rather obvious sign that my cold was finally finished (glad I had tissues). And we spent the evening enjoying wine and watching more Danish TV. I know that’s kind of boring, but we were a bit vacationed out. I was glad to have the chance to relax a bit before our journey back to Germany. The hotel, by the way, also has a spa with a salt water pool. But I didn’t make use of it during our stay.

Below are some photos from downtown Copenhagen…

And some more before I close this post…

Champagne Bucket trips, Finland, Regent Seven Seas Cruise Lines

Helsinki! Helsinki! Our first look at Finland’s capital city!

Years ago, Bill and I were big fans of the British comedy show, Little Britain. That show featured various character skits by comedians David Walliams and Matt Lucas. One skit they did consistently involved characters named Lou and Andy. Lou asked Andy where he wanted to go on holiday, and Andy insisted that he wanted to go to Helsinki…

Lou suggests Florida, but Andy reiterates he wants Helsinki… but then changes his mind.

I didn’t change my mind about Helsinki. I was genuinely curious about it. On our first day aboard the ship, we were to take a short bus trip into Finland’s capital and take a harbor cruise. This was one of the “free excursions” offered by Regent. But first, we needed to fuel up with breakfast. So we went down to the Compass Rose restaurant and enjoyed some very hearty fare, delivered to us by warm and attentive wait staff.

We were arriving in Helsinki during the late morning hours, so we had time for a leisurely breakfast and, as it turned out, a quick lunch. I’m glad we had lunch before we got off the ship, as our excursion took place during the time when we might ordinarily have a midday repast. There’s a reason I mention this, and I’ll get to it in a couple of posts. 😉 Suffice to say, we went to La Veranda again and grazed the humongous buffet so we’d be well-fortified for our trip to the city of Helsinki.

Cruise director Jude made an announcement that Finland’s authorities had cleared the ship and people could get off the vessel. There were complimentary shuttle buses into town, or those who had excursions could go to the Constellation Theater and trade their tickets for group numbers, which they would then give to the locally hired tour guides.

One thing I immediately liked about the Regent experience is that they do have the complimentary shuttle buses. Regent bills itself as the most “all inclusive” cruise line available. Actually, I think Hebridean Island Cruises is (or was) more all inclusive than Regent is, but it’s a lot less famous and goes to far fewer places than Regent does. For a well-known cruise line that goes worldwide, I do think Regent probably does offer the most bang for the buck. But I caveat that by saying this as someone who hasn’t experienced a lot of different cruise lines.

On both Royal Caribbean and SeaDream, if we weren’t signed up for excursions, we had to find our own ways into the cities. Sometimes, that wasn’t a problem, but other times, not signing up for excursions meant being stuck at an ugly port, walking into town, figuring out and taking public transportation, or hiring a cab. Regent does have buses for those who want to do their own thing. I also want to mention, in fairness to Royal Caribbean and SeaDream, their policies may have changed since we were last aboard their ships. I honestly don’t know.

I ended up enjoying the harbor cruise excursion, as Gail and Ger were also on the boat with us. One group got off about midway, because they had paid for an extra segment of the tour. We were just fine with the boat, which had three guides offering commentary about life in Finland. When they mentioned that Finland had just joined NATO this year, everybody cheered!

The harbor cruise boat was comfortable, with seating available on top and inside the cabin. There was a bar serving snacks and beverages, including local beers. They also had clean toilets, which was a huge plus. In fact, the guides encouraged everyone to use the toilets on the tourboat, since public restrooms in the market area in Helsinki are scarce.

I thought the tour guides on the harbor cruise were basically good. There was one who did a bit of rambling. It was as if she wanted to keep talking to prevent people from talking among themselves. I know that once people get to talking, it can be hard to get them to be quiet again. But the rambling was noticeable.

Nevertheless, we did learn a lot about how cold it gets in Finland in the winter, as the guides showed us the ice breakers that keep the shipping lanes open. The guides also said that the ice gets hard enough that people can walk or even drive on it, although global warming is changing that reality. Personally, I think I’d be afraid to walk on the ice!

The guides also spoke at length about sauna culture in Finland. Apparently, many people have their own saunas at home. Sometimes you find homes with private saunas in Germany, too, but in Finland, it’s evidently very common. Lots of people own boats and second homes, too, even if they aren’t very wealthy. Or, at least that’s what we were told.

Below are some photos…

After the boat tour, we walked around the marketplace, where vendors were selling everything… There were a lot of really nice souvenirs. I bought a silk scarf for myself, and a couple of wooden toys for Bill’s youngest grandson. I wish we’d had more euros on us, although a lot of places also took credit cards.

There was also a ferris wheel and live music playing. I would have liked to have spent more time in Helsinki. We’ll have to go back, if only because I also noticed an Armenian restaurant near the port!

Here are some more pictures of Helsinki, some of which were taken with my digital camera, as opposed to my iPhone.

Some of the above photos have a glare on them. I am still learning how to edit photos, so I need to find a way to get rid of the glare on the above shot. It’s a keeper. One thing I didn’t like on Splendor is that there seemed to be a lack of open deck space, which made taking photos of scenery challenging. I could take pictures from my balcony, from the top decks, or on deck 5. But if I happened to be sitting in the observation lounge and noticed a particularly beautiful sunset or leaping dolphins, there was no way to easily get outside to get a good shot. And getting to a place where taking a good photo was possible would take a lot of time. That’s one thing about Regent Splendor I don’t like. I wish they had an outdoor area near the Observation Lounge. Even the pool area was kind of enclosed on the sides, though it didn’t have a retractable roof.

Oh well… another first world problem…

When we went back to our suite, our laundry was waiting for us, boxed up and gift wrapped. And again, because we were concierge guests, there was no extra charge!

Each item of clothing had a little tag in it with our suite number. It was all expertly cleaned, pressed, and folded. Very, very nice!

For dinner on the 24th, we decided to try Sette Mari, which I had read gets very crowded as people discover it. We went early, to make sure we’d get a seat. A poised young woman with black hair and a braid over the top of her head took care of us. She was very polished and professional, as she brought us Italian dishes. Sette Mari does offer table service, but there’s also a buffet for salads and desserts. I noticed it got a bit rowdy in there, but the food was good. We enjoyed it. I wish we’d had another chance to dine there. Maybe on another cruise.

Here are some photos from our visit to Sette Mari.

After dinner, we spent a little more time in the Observation Lounge. I had a Brandy Alexander. Bill had ginger ale, because he wasn’t feeling well. We decided to go to bed early. At about 9:30 PM, a steward brought us the beer I requested. He seemed surprised to catch me in my nightie.

So… that about does it for Helsinki. Stay tuned for Tallinn, Estonia!


Impromptu lunch at Lucullus, in lovely Königstein…

Since we’re down to one dog, and he does pretty well on his own, Bill and I decided to go out to lunch yesterday. We were going to try a place I’ve been curious about since we first moved up to Wiesbaden in late 2018, Ristorante Fischbachtal. That restaurant, which doesn’t take a midday pause, is always busy, though, and though it has its own parking lot, the lot looks a bit like a half maintained field. So it was yesterday, when Bill turned in and was immediately confronted by cars trying to go in and out with no sense of decorum.

I said to Bill, “Let’s find somewhere else to go.” It was getting close to 2:00 pm, though, and that’s when the midday pause starts to happen. I consulted with my phone and got on the OpenTable app, where I discovered that Lucullus in Königstein had plenty of availability and doesn’t take a pause on Sundays. We should have made a reservation, since that would have given us some “points” on OpenTable, but we were really close to the restaurant and it seemed silly to reserve fifteen minutes in advance.

Bill and I last visited Königstein in June 2020, during the height of the COVID pandemic nightmare. In fact, we went to Lucullus for my birthday lunch, because we were staying at a nearby hotel connected to a mineraltherme. Yes, it was only about 20 minutes from our home in Breckenheim, but we wanted to get away for the celebration, and at the time, travel was difficult. I remembered how cute Königstein was when we went there in 2020. Now, I think we should go there a lot more often. Not only do they have the fabulous Lucullus restaurant, which offers wonderful food and wine served with a smile, but is also just a really pleasant little town.

In yesterday’s post, I mentioned that we saw a Braille model reconstruction of Wiesbaden on Saturday. It was the first time we’d ever noticed it. Sure enough, there’s one in Königstein, too. My friend, Susanne, says that these bronze city models are spread all over the place, not unlike the Stolpersteine (stumbling stones) that commemorate people who were lost or displaced during the Holocaust. I had never noticed them before spotting them in Breckenheim one day in 2019. Now, I’ve seen them all over, and not just in Germany.

I’ll have to keep my eyes peeled for more of these…

We arrived at Lucullus at about 2:30, and were warmly welcomed by the staff. They asked if we had reservations, but none were needed. There were only a few people there, and they were mostly having drinks near the bar. Lucullus has a big terrace area, which is where we sat in 2020 (mainly because it was required). Yesterday, we got the chance to sit in the dining room, which I really enjoyed. The walls were lined with many bottles of wine and books… two of my favorite things!

We took a seat by the window and the sommelier came over and asked us if we wanted an aperitif. I said that I really wanted some red wine. Bill and the wine steward chose a beautiful bottle of Primitivo, that went very well with our sumptuous lunch. Feast your eyes…. 😉

We decided to go “all out” and each had three courses. I started with a “taco”– made with a fresh salad, topped with crispy duck, and drizzled with a passion fruit dressing and garnished with perfect avocados and tomatoes. I loved the duck. It was probably my favorite part of the meal. I don’t usually get excited over salads, but I loved the dressing, and it went perfectly with the duck.

Bill enjoyed his Parmesan “brulee”, which looked a bit like a dessert creme brulee, only it was savory and topped with winter truffles. I might have enjoyed trying it, except I don’t like fungus at all. I should mention that the restaurant itself smelled a bit like truffles. I guess it’s the season. 😉

As the meal continued at a leisurely pace, we talked and enjoyed each other’s company, not worried about Noyzi, who has proven himself to be very good at home when he’s alone. We miss Arran a lot, but he was not always so good when we needed to go out somewhere. He was a typical hound, who missed his pack very much. Noyzi is a lot more independent.

I chose dorade, which was one of the daily specials, for the main course, mostly because a lot of what was offered had mushrooms or truffles, or was something I could get anywhere. Lucullus doesn’t offer things like pizza or a lot of pasta dishes, but they did have spaghetti carbonara. Bill went with lamb, which is another dish I probably wouldn’t enjoy anywhere. He really enjoyed the lamb, which was topped with zucchini and paired with potatoe pralines filled with candied tomatoes. My dorade came with a perfectly cooked medley of spring vegetables– carrots, zucchini, cauliflower, and broccoli, and topped with olives and tomatoes.

We couldn’t leave without dessert. Bill had warm baklava topped with yogurt ice cream. I had a “lava cake” with vanilla ice cream and cookie crumbles. I don’t actually like ordering lava cakes. I do enjoy them, but they’re done everywhere now. I would love to go somewhere and have a nice slice of layered cake, instead of the half-baked flourless chocolate creation. Next time we go there, I’ll have to make a point of branching out. 😀

The bill came to about 205 euros, which is a lot of money. But we were done eating for the day, and it’s been so long since we last enjoyed a really beautiful lunch. We got great service from our server, who spoke English and welcomed us back again, next time we’re in town. We truly enjoyed our visit to Lucullus yesterday as much as we did in 2020. We must visit again, if only to look around the town and perhaps visit the imposing castle ruins in the distance.

Königstein is cute!

One other thing. They were playing dance music in the dining room. I don’t usually enjoy dance music much, as I’m not a dancer… but the kind they were playing was tasteful and interesting. And, once again, we were reminded of Arran. I mentioned that on the day we lost him, we heard the song “Shiny, Happy People” by R.E.M. twice. Yesterday, as we were finishing up, we heard “Losing My Religion”, though it was not done by R.E.M., but was a cover version by Mark Coles & Menno. “Losing My Religion” was, of course, from the same album that brought us “Shiny, Happy People”– Out of Time. Crazy, huh? I had no idea so many people had covered that song, either.

Frankfurt, Hessen, Sundays

Our first, but not last, visit to Bad Homburg!

Some time ago, I started following a Facebook group dedicated to sharing pictures of Hessen and day trip ideas. People were sharing photos that reminded me of how much fun Bill and I used to have pre-COVID, visiting different places, eating in restaurants, and enjoying our weekends. Bad Homburg, which is a spa town just north of Frankfurt, is about a half hour drive for us. People in the Hessen Facebook group often share pictures of it, making me think it was a place I wanted to see.

Today was the perfect day for a visit, as we had beautiful, sunny weather, and pleasant temperatures. So, off we went this afternoon, after Bill had confirmed there were restaurants that didn’t take a pause after lunch. As usual, we got a late start that put us at our destination after prime lunch hours. He also found a well-rated parking garage. This was important, as when he arrived at the garage, he found it pretty hard to maneuver our SUV into a spot without parking over the line! He tried several spots before he finally got the car in without encroaching. I shudder to think about the poorly rated garages in Bad Homburg!

Just outside of the garage, I could tell we were in for a treat. Just coming into the city, you pass imposing looking tower gates. I also noticed that the Christmas market stalls were already going up, and they were all over town! I bet this will be a great destination when the markets open for the holiday season! I loved the tower on the Schloss grounds, and the saying at the gate “Walk in like you mean it.” I also loved the awesome cedar tree outside the gate. This castle dates from the 12th century, although all but the keep were demolished by Frederick II, Landgrave of Hesse-Homburg. The castle that exists today was built in the 1680s.

First, we walked up to the Schloss, which offered beautiful views and finally, some fall foliage, which I feel like I’ve missed since summer ended. Not only did I get some pretty photos, I also got a chance to use the bathroom, and it was FREE! That was lucky! Below are some photos from around the Schloss. We could have toured it if we’d wanted to, but we were short on time and needed lunch.

After the Schloss, we visited a couple of churches– Erlöserkirche, a Protestant church that dates from 1908, and the Church of St. Mary, a Catholic church. Both were beautiful in their own rights, but I also loved the gay friendly vibe at the Catholic church. I liked how the inside of the Protestant church glittered as if it was studded with gold. The Catholic church was a little more modern looking, but still very welcoming and comfortable, with the smell of incense in the air. The town itself, especially near the churches, reminded me a lot of France.

Bill lit a candle for his father, and then we made our way to a restaurant called Pane e Vino, an Italian place with a full menu and bar, and no afternoon pause! I had grilled salmon with potatoes and spinach, while Bill had veal scallopini with potatoes and pea pods. We washed it down with Primitivo and San Pellegrino, and enjoyed the convivial mood of the place, then finished with a glass of Merlot for me, and an espresso for Bill. We also had complimentary limoncellos as digestives! Check out the cool mural on the ceiling in the restaurant! Lunch came to about 65 euros, before the tip, but we had a couple of the pricier dishes.

We walked around a bit more, stopping to tip a violin busker, who was playing Mozart and Vivaldi, enhancing the European ambiance with his talents. Then we went to the Kurpark for a short stroll, as the sun was starting to set. I got a kick out of the statue of Dostoyevsky, who looked like he was thinking real hard. I found myself wishing we had gotten going earlier in the day. Bad Homburg has a lot to see. Next time, we’ll come on a Saturday, and I’ll get a better shot of the potted tree on the way in. I want to come back just to check out that Feinkost!