Parker goes to France, part three…

Sunday is kind of a rough day to be in some parts of Europe, especially in January. January and February are very much the “off season” in Alsace, so a lot of places are closed. I’m actually kind of glad to be in Alsace in the winter. Yes, a lot of shops and restaurants are closed, but there are no crowds whatsoever and you get a feel for the place as a local might. Bill and I visited Ribeauville for the first time over MLK (Martin Luther King Jr. weekend) weekend in January 2017. I remember how it was then… and then we came back in February of that year. We had meant to bring Parker with us that time, but she was unable to visit because of an unexpected injury. It was interesting to see that some of the places that were closed in January were open again in February, and places that were closed in February were open in January. Anyway, in 2020, it was no different than it was in 2017, although I did notice that a couple of businesses had either closed altogether or changed hands.

Sunday morning, we decided to go to Riquewihr, since it’s super close to Ribeauville and quite touristy. I knew we’d find a few things open and maybe score a nice lunch. As it turned out, we did have a nice meal at La Grappe D’Or, a restaurant I had been wanting to try on previous visits, but we never got around to it due to the dogs. I see from Trip Advisor that this establishment gets mixed reviews. We had a really nice meal there, and I got a kick of all the Michelin bric-a-brac decor.

Here are some photos from lunch…

The family who sat at the table next to us brought a cute little French bulldog in with them. She only got a little bit agitated when someone walked past with an active looking retriever. I really enjoyed La Grappe D’Or. We’ll have to go back there, if we make it back to Riquewihr. We probably will, but you never know what the future holds.

Here are some more photos from our walk around town. Riquewihr was still decked out for Christmas and I was imagining how pretty it is there during the holidays, even if the snow was absent this year.

After a couple of chilly hours walking around Riquewihr, which wasn’t totally dead, but was a lot less populated than usual, we headed back to the gite. We were all pretty tired, and the cloudy weather kind of made us want to hibernate with some wine. Luckily, that’s easy enough to do in Ribeauville, too. I remember the first time we visited Riquewihr, I was really surprised by how beautiful it is. Every time I go back, I am surprised anew. It really is a unique village that, unfortunately, way too many visitors to France miss. I’m glad I’ve had the opportunity to visit several times. It never gets old.


A crappy day in Germany…

I have had one hell of a crappy day.  What really sucks about my crappy day is that I was looking forward to the weekend, hoping to have some fun.  My husband, Bill, has been gone to Chad all week and I’ve been by myself, hanging out in our rented home with my two sweet but occasionally irritating hounds.  I really need to get a life and make some friends.

Last week, I was sick with a cold and I’ve been dealing with what I think is a very weird gum abscess.  It doesn’t hurt, but it’s worrisome and annoying and has caused a little swelling and bleeding.  I need to have it looked at, but we don’t have dental insurance yet… it doesn’t kick in until January 1.  Add in the fact that I am very neurotic when it comes to my teeth.  I have two baby teeth that may be about to give up the ghost.  I expected them to– they are 42 years old and have served me pretty well.  They seem to be rooted well, too.  But the idea of possibly needing an extraction or two and the expense, trauma, and pain associated with that does nothing for my mood.  And once those teeth come out, it’s time for implants.  What fun.

I got a visit from Aunt Flow a couple of days ago, which is always fun.  It’s even more fun when your plumbing is on the fritz.  This morning, I went downstairs to do my laundry and there was a bunch of standing grey water in my new washing machine.  I immediately assumed something was wrong with the machine.  My husband bailed the water out, then went to take a shower.  While he was showering, the drum in the washing machine filled with more water.  That tells me there’s a blockage of some sort in the house.

So we called the landlords and they came over to help us.  There’s water all over the floor.  My dogs are going crazy.  I’m feeling neurotic about my teeth and I’m on the rag.  We finally got the washing machine going to the point at which we got the laundry done, but it wasn’t without a big mess and inconvenience.  The homeowners will call a plumber on Monday because there’s a leak in the pipe and the drain probably needs snaking.

I’m still feeling very cranky and grouchy…  the mail carrier comes by.  She looks a lot like my mom.  She has a package for me, a star I bought for our big Christmas tree because the one I have on it is a 110 lighted one from Target.  I’ve been waiting awhile for this thing to arrive.  It didn’t cost much.  Looking at the address on the envelope, I see why it’s taken so long to get to me.  The star came all the way from Hong Kong.

I open the package and this is what I see…

This thing is even more disappointing in person than it is in the photo.


It’s made of cheap plastic and there’s no way to stick it on the tree.  It’s sloppily and incompletely covered with glitter.  And it’s just a sucky product.


I showed it to Bill and he said, “It’s like the equivalent of the Charlie Brown Christmas tree.”  He asked me if I wanted to put it on our other tree (we have two because the first time we were in Germany, I forgot to pack our tree and got another one that is small).

I said “No, we can just put it somewhere and make fun of it.”  That comment made him laugh.

So, in review, I’ve got residual snot from a cold to get rid of.  I’m on the rag.  The plumbing is messed up.  The washing machine may also be messed up, though we did at least get the thing going enough so we have some clean underwear.  I have dental problems and no insurance until January 1… and I’m not in enough discomfort to go to the dentist and pay entirely out of pocket.  At the very least, I suspect I need some antibiotics and knowing that, I keep checking my teeth and gums for signs that I need to get to a doctor urgently.  That has made the side of my face sore because I have to contort my lips in order to see and I’ve done it enough times to cause muscle fatigue.  I wanted to have some fun this weekend, but it looks like that’s not in the cards.  I can’t take a shower because of the plumbing.  And I’ve been listening to my dogs bark all day.

Stuff is just piling up.  I know these are minor first world problems, but they are still very irritating and have spoiled my mood.

Last night, we visited The Mad Scientist for dinner and ran up a respectable bill.  I had my usual stuff for dinner, but finished up with my very first taste of Metaxa, which is a Greek brandy.  It sort of tasted like brandy mixed with sherry.  It tasted good and no doubt made our Mad Scientist friend happy that I ordered it.

Metaxa in the glass…

Metaxa in the colorful bottle…


I need to have some fun soon.  At least I’m not in any pain, though.  On a positive note, Bill did bring home some macaroons from Paris.

These are yummy!