Mr. Bill and I celebrate 20 years of marriage… Part three

Arran’s medications make him hungry. They also make him need to go potty more often than usual. Consequently, on all three nights of our stay, Bill got up in the wee hours of the morning to take him and Noyzi out for walks. Then, he’d come back to bed, and try to go back to sleep. The apartment where we stayed was easy to keep dark, so on Thursday, we slept until 8:00 AM. We almost never do that anymore!

Our morning habit, whenever we visit France, is to get baked goodies from the patisseries. I am a big fan of FRENCH croissants– and yes, they are different to me than the ones we can get in Germany. Kugelhopfs are also very popular and prevalent in Alsace, as well as in parts of Germany and Austria. Personally, I can take or leave the Kugelhopfs, although I will admit to thinking they look very pretty. They usually include raisins and almonds, though, and I generally prefer my baked goods without fruit and nuts. One can also score delightful Pain au chocolat– flaky pastries filled with semi sweet chocolate– which are very decadent. I love chocolate, but again, the one must do French breakfast treat for me is the lowly croissant.

Bill went to one of the nearby patisseries and brought back the usual, then scrambled some eggs. We bought some clementine juice, ham, and cheese, at the local Carrefour grocery store, located very conveniently about a five minute walk from our gite. Once again, I was marveling at how flaky and delicious the croissants were, and kind of wishing we had more of them. But the last thing I need is a plentiful supply of baked goods!

After breakfast, we all took a walk around Ribeauville. It’s a very pretty little village, not unlike other pretty villages in Alsace. Riquewihr, which is only two miles from Ribeauville, is considered one of the most beautiful villages in France. However, I prefer Ribeauville, because it feels more lived in to me. It’s obvious there are a lot of locals in Ribeauville, even though it’s a tourist destination. Riquewihr feels a little more touristy to me, and it has a lot more tourist oriented businesses. For that reason, I like to stay in Ribeauville, and visit Riquewihr and some of the other, more famous towns, like Kaysersberg, which is where Anthony Bourdain, sadly, took his life in June 2018. Of course, I also like Ribeauville, because we know Yannick, and he’s very cool with our dogs.

I took lots of pictures of the town, as usual, because even though we’ve been to Ribeauville so many times, it’s always a pretty town. We usually go there in the winter, rather than the fall. We’ve only managed one visit in the late spring, when everything is open, but crowded. Once the dogs were sufficiently exercised, we took them back to the gite and went looking for lunch.

As I mentioned before, only a few restaurants were open during our visit. The ones that were open had plenty of business. We were wanting to go to a little lunch spot that was once called Chez Martine, but now has new owners and a different name. Schaal’É Sucré offers a menu that is very similar to that of what Chez Martine used to have, only now it’s open later and is run by men instead of women. On Thursday, it was clear that it was every bit as popular as its predecessor was, as the dining room was completely full when we stuck our heads in, looking for a bite.

We ended up eating at Caveau de L’Ami Fritz, a restaurant that is affiliated with the hotel of the same name. We have eaten at L’Ami Fritz before, and I remembered that the dining room is in a very charming “cave”. I also remembered liking what I had there the first time we tried it. The dining room was full of people when we arrived, but everyone looked very happy. Bill and I sat down and enjoyed some local specialties.

I had Quiche Lorraine, while Bill went for pork and Baeckaoffa, basically cheesy potato casserole made with Munster. The quiche was delicious, although it was made with a slightly “musty” cheese. I am very particular about cheese, and this one just bordered on “offensive” to me. Still, I managed to eat the whole thing, anyway.

We also enjoyed a local Riesling. Bill had asked for a 28 euro bottle, but when we got the bill, it turned out they had given us a 55 euro selection. Oh well. I suppose he could have complained, but we enjoyed the wine and we could afford it. And of course, we had dessert, too… Chocolate mousse for me, and a myrtle tart for Bill. He had leftovers from the Baeckaoffa, so we had that packed up and brought it to the apartment. I probably should have done the same with the mousse. It was a very generous portion.

By the time we were finished with lunch, it was early afternoon and a bit drizzly. I decided to have a rest and try to read more of my latest book. Naturally, that led to a two hour nap. 😉

Our lunch was so filling that we ended up staying in for the night, eating a light snack at dinner time and, of course, enjoying more wine. It’s a lovely thing to go to France to recharge! I liked the French weather lady’s dress, too. I also notice the fine for not cleaning up after your dog has gone up a bit.


Reunited with France… and it felt so good to be back! Part nine

Sunday morning, we woke up more than ready to head home to Germany. I missed Noyzi and Arran, even though I generally enjoy it when we have a chance to take a break from the dogs. I saw so many cute dogs in France, including a couple of European styled beagles that made me want to get one of my own! Of course, I won’t be doing that until we are down to one dog again. Arran doesn’t share well, and even after about 18 months with Noyzi, he only barely tolerates him. And Noyzi is a very kind and considerate dog.

We went down to the Stammtisch to find our usual breakfast. The day prior, the breakfast lady had thought we were leaving and asked us if we wanted to pay. We had to remind her that Sunday was our day of departure. I got the impression that maybe people don’t typically stay at the Auberge au Boeuf for several nights, as we did. But actually, there’s a lot to do in the area around Sessenheim. It’s not too far to get to Strasbourg. Nancy and Metz aren’t as close as Strasbourg is, but we could have visited there if the mood struck. Of course, the Alsatian wine route, south of Strasbourg, isn’t far, either. Neither is Baden-Baden, the great German spa town.

As you can see by my posts, we did manage to find several cute and diverse eastern French hamlets. It occurred to me that north of Strasbourg is more diverse in appearance than the southern area is. Over the past few years, Bill and I have visited Alsace more than anywhere else in Europe. We almost completely missed Alsace the first time we lived in Germany together. I’m so glad we’ve had the opportunity to explore this unique, historic, and beautiful part of France. We really enjoyed visiting Sessenheim, Soufflenheim, Haguenau, Bitche, Obernai, and Saverne! Each place was different and had its own special vibe and history.

It’s not lost on me that my unexpected and unplanned lifestyle as an “overeducated housewife” has come with certain perks. If I had done with my life what I had planned to do, I might have managed a visit to Paris or Lyon… or maybe to Nice again. Those are all lovely cities, but they tend to be teeming with Americans. Thanks to Bill’s work with the Army, I’ve had some great opportunities to see “the real France”, as it was put by a British man who owned a wine shop in Cluny, France, which we visited in 2017. Cluny is a very nice city in Burgundy and we loved our time there. But I would not expect too many Americans to go, especially not from the United States. That was where Bill ate pig intestines! Talk about a typically FRENCH experience!

Anyway, we enjoyed our last breakfast, but it was time to go home. We loaded up the car and I paid for everything with my credit card– about 1600 euros ($1800 approximately) when all was said and done. That was for four nights in a beautiful suite, breakfast for two every morning, three bottles of wine, four apéritifs, and two nights of sumptuous dinners for two. Parking was free. I feel good about stimulating the local economy.

On the way out of Sessenheim, we stopped at a nearby Boulangerie/Patisserie to get some French pastries. Bill got several beignets, two pain au chocolats, and a kugelhopf. It was a lot for just the two of us. Fortunately, the kuglehopf has kept well in the fridge. I wish he’d gotten some croissants, too. French croissants are better than the locals ones we can get.

The drive back to Wiesbaden was totally uneventful and took about two hours. We had no traffic issues at all, and the weather was fine. I had to laugh on Sunday night, as we dined on Popeye’s Fried Chicken from the food court on post. It’s crazy that we went from five star dining to fast food in less than 24 hours.

I would not hesitate to book Auberge au Boeuf again. Next time, I hope we can try their Stammtisch at lunch or dinner, and if the menu has changed, I would definitely be up for another grand gourmet experience at their restaurant. We’ll see what the future holds! Below are are few last photos from our most recent adventures in France.

If you’ve been following along with this series, thank you so much for reading. My travel blog has been dying, thanks to the pandemic and moving to a new platform. I hope this series will be the first of more to come in 2022! Wish us luck!


Alsace and Burgundy… Eguisheim and Riquewihr! pt. 4

On Tuesday, Bill got up and went to the bakery, where he picked up an Alsatian delicacy.  The Kugelhopf, also served in western Germany, is a light, yeasty marble cake.  I noticed it the last time we visited Ribeauville, but we never got a chance to try it then.  This time, Bill made a special effort to score one for us.

It’s light and not very sweet, despite the optional powdered sugar on top.  There were raisins on the bottom and almonds studded the top.

Bill and I decided to go to Eguisheim, mainly because my Facebook friend Sarah, who left Germany last year, had posted a picture that made it look like a great place to visit.  Eguisheim is just a little bit south of Colmar, but it’s worlds apart in terms of the mood.  The town is positively medieval, with its concentric circles and old timbered homes.  We didn’t really have an agenda in going there, other than to take in the atmosphere and have a good lunch.  We managed to do both.

Right before lunch, we watched more storks.  They were everywhere in Eguisheim!

There were helpful signs all around the town in French, German, and English offering information.

The houses in Eguisheim have coats of arms on them depicting what the person who lived there did for a living.  If you click the photo above this one, you can read about the coat of arms pictured above.

An impressive church.

A couple announcing their marriage.

And a very dramatic work of art.

After we walked around Eguisheim, we found ourselves at a gay friendly restaurant called Caveau Heuhaus.  I only mention the fact that the restaurant is gay friendly because it had a very prominent rainbow flag on the menu posted outside.  I chose the restaurant because it smelled really good and so far, my nose has never let me down.

We walked into the place and I immediately thought the decor reminded me of a yard sale gone amok.  But it was all arranged in a very endearing way.  The restaurant was not full when we sat down, but it was full by the time we got our meals.  Our waitress was extremely charming and didn’t speak much English, but she did speak German!  So that was a bit of a help, although my German is still terrible.

Bill checks out the menu.

This was a special wine of the day.  It was about 20 euros and delicious.

Should have brought some home with us!

I ended up with an entrecote.  It came with frites and garlic butter.  It was perfectly cooked, by far the best steak we had all week.

Bill went with a big plate of meat.  There were two different sausages, three types of bacon, and sauerkraut done French style, along with boiled potatoes.  We also had excellent bread.

For dessert, I had creme brulee.  This restaurant has a very impressive way of serving it.  The waitress brought it to me and lit it at the table.

The flame died down at just the right time!  Bill had coffee because he was too full from his big plate of sausages.

If you come to Eguisheim and are looking for good food, Caveau du Heuhaus is a good bet!  We really enjoyed our meal there.

After we finished lunch, we drove to Riquewihr, which is just a few kilometers from Ribeauville.  I wanted to stop there and pick up some macarons and madeleines, as well as more wine.

On the way into Riquewihr, we were treated to a glorious rainbow over the grapevines.

We visited Riquewihr in July of last year.  It was still somewhat busy in February, but not nearly as much as it was in the summer.  A lot of restaurants and shops were closed.  It was okay.  We still managed to get what we wanted.

We stopped into the Hugel wine shop, where we tasted several lovely local wines.

We happened to be there at the same time as four generations of the Hugel family.  They are pictured outside, as they were posing for a publicity photo.

And I took note of the sign showing how many Facebook likes the Hugel winery has right now.


For dinner on our last night in Ribeauville, we stopped at a small wine/beer bar.  I think we got off on the wrong foot with the proprietor because Bill said “Bon jour” instead of “Bon soir.”

Still, I took note of the provocative sign for the local brew and ordered it.

Sans culottes…  the beer caused us to have an interesting conversation about how I was on a forum for fundamentalist Christians and they were looking for culottes.  Someone warned not to searched for them online, since apparently culottes are pornographic in some circles.  As for “sans culottes”, it is apparently a statement about the poor versus the rich.  Poor people did not wear culottes (silk britches) because they couldn’t afford them.  They were for the wealthy.

I wasn’t very hungry, so I had what is known as a flammkuechen here in Germany…  onions, bacon, and cream on a very thin crust.  

Bill had chicken and salad.


The proprietor’s attitude toward us seemed to brighten when we praised his cute little granddaughter, who was learning the tricks of the trade at about five years of age (or maybe younger).  She was super charming!

Wednesday morning, we woke up bright and early and packed up for our trip to Burgundy.  Checking out of our gite was super easy.  We just put the key back in the little code operated lockbox by the door.  Later, Yannick sent me a text thanking us for staying with him and wishing us a good trip.  I think we made a new friend in Alsace.