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Mandatory fun at Heiliggeist…

Okay, actually, it wasn’t really mandatory fun… It was highly encouraged fun.

Bill’s company allocated funds for a holiday party that never happened due to hectic schedules. So, last night’s gathering was basically what would have been the “holiday party”. I don’t always enjoy Bill’s work parties, because they’re often about people “talking shop”. They also involve set menus. Such was the case last night.

But the party was held at Heiligeist, and we ate there before, during the height of the pandemic. Because of COVID, we ate outside. Luckily, the weather was good on that day. I was curious about the interior, as the building restaurant occupies was built in 1236 and was originally a hospital. But the interior looks very much like a cathedral. Also, I knew Bill wanted to go, and he doesn’t like to go to these events without me. And finally, until last night, I literally hadn’t left my neighborhood since the day after Christmas!

Arran had a better week, too. One of his lymph nodes is still swollen, but his energy and appetite are still fine. The vet called to check on him, since he had a rough week last week. Bill was happy to give her a positive report. After extensive “beagle proofing”, as Bill puts it, we were ready to go.

Fasching is about to commence, starting February 16th. I noticed a lot of people in Mainz dressed up in costumes. Next weekend, it will probably be pretty wild as there will be parades and parties aplenty. In 2019, we ate lunch at a restaurant in Wiesbaden and got MOONED by a reveler. Actually, he mooned the entire dining room. Yes, I got pictures. The post I wrote about it said it was our “first taste”, but I probably should write that it was our first taste of fasching in Wiesbaden. Of course we encountered the celebrations down near Stuttgart, too.

We were a little bit early to last night’s festivities. Bill wasn’t sure about how bad traffic would be. It turned out it wasn’t so bad at all… and once again, I had forgotten just how close to Mainz we are. We really should spend more time there. It has a very different vibe compared to Wiesbaden, which is more of an elegant, grand town. Mainz is more of a dynamic college town.

Originally, we sat at one of the large tables in the middle of the dining room. It was mainly so we could get out of the way of the busy wait staff. But then I realized that I don’t like sitting in the middle of the room. I spotted a small round table on the side, which was a little more secluded and offered a better view of everything… especially the bar area. ūüėČ

Bill’s co-workers trickled in, and soon there was a large crowd in a very cavernous restaurant. I knew they planned to have a trivia contest, which would make it hard for people to hear. As the evening wore on, and the libations flowed, that is what came to pass. We decided not to stay until the end, because we were both kind of tired (especially Bill) and concerned about Arran. Arran did fine, save for a minor lapse in house training.

The food was pretty good, although it wasn’t very hot. We all had charcuterie, pumpkin soup that was a little spicy, and a walnut brownie cake with vanilla ice cream. For the main course, we had a choice of salmon, lamb, or the vegetarian dish, which I believe was eggplant. I didn’t get a good look at it, although Bill’s colleague, who was sitting with us, had that. I had the salmon, which came with a very interesting black rice and broccolini. Bill went for the lamb, which had cauliflower and some kind of Parmesan dumplings. Bill liked the cauliflowers and dumplings more than the lamb.

Here are some photos… We have plans for another outing tonight, this time with one of Bill’s old Army buddies, who is now his boss/co-worker. Going out twice in a weekend! It’s like the good old days! Before long, we will be coming up with some actual travel.

After we left, we walked back to the entrance to the parking garage, which was locked. So we had to take a stroll around the massive building to get to our car. And because we entered from a different way, it took some time to find it. But we were eventually successful after our discovery mission. In all, it was a good time.

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It’s time for Rheingauer Weinwoche in Wiesbaden!

Last night, we missed the wine stand in our village, because Bill’s bosses reserved a couple of tables at the annual wine festival in Wiesbaden. I should mention that this festival is usually held every year, but because of COVID-19, it was not held in 2020 or 2021. We did attend in 2019, but we went by ourselves at the end of the fest, when things were much calmer than they were last night! Back when Bill was still on active duty in the Army, we might have called this event “mandatory fun”, although it wasn’t actually mandatory. But it was supposed to be for Bill’s work pals… and they graciously let spouses and significant others come, too.

Bill and I got to the reserved tables at Weingut Hamm’s tent early, mainly because his boss said that he was going to get there at about 5:00 to make sure our tables were open. We were there for over an hour with Bill’s boss, drinking wine and hanging out until the rest of the group started showing up. It was very loud, and quite chummy, with many smokers and people with body odor. But it IS Germany, after all, and that’s to be expected. I enjoyed visiting with Bill’s friends, and I managed to be on my best behavior, except at the end, when I made a crude joke to Bill’s boss. Fortunately, he has a raunchy sense of humor. ūüėČ

I don’t have much to say about what we did last night, except that it involved a lot of drinking, loud talking, eating pretzels, and peeing. I noticed that the price of the toilets went up to 80 cents, too! But, they were clean and well stocked, and there were plenty available. Bill and I will probably go again on our own, since this fest runs through next weekend. I sense that a lot of folks were eager to party, given how so many popular events have been canceled. I also have a feeling that I’ll probably get another COVID exposure alert on my Corona Warn app.

I wish we’d made an effort to eat something besides pretzels. I was not feeling well this morning. I did do a COVID test, though… negative so far. Hopefully, it will stay that way. Below are some photos and a video of what we saw and experienced last night. It was quite a celebration, even if I’m kind of paying for it today! I didn’t walk around the whole fest, since we were there with a group. I would like to go back just to see what and who else was there… but maybe I’ll do that after I feel less hungover.

Who doesn’t love a band? (Click the link to see the video)

In spite of my rough condition this morning, I love these kinds of fests in Germany. People are usually in a good mood and interested in having fun. There’s plenty of security, medical assistance, and nobody brings weapons. I enjoy how civilized Germany is… and how we can have fun without being put at risk. I’m, once again, grateful to be here. I hope it continues for a long while.

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A Christmas party in a castle!

Yesterday was a busy day for Bill and me. ¬†We paid a visit to Dog Holiday, a dog boarding facility not too far from the airport. ¬†Zane and Arran had a good time meeting Max, the proprietor, and checking out his little playground with a couple of other friendly dogs. ¬†We will do a test day with them on Tuesday, to see if Zane and Arran can hack staying there. ¬†If it all works out, after we update their shots, I’ll make plans to go to Austria and Italy with Bill next week. ¬†If it doesn’t work out, I’ll stay home and we’ll find some other place to take them.

 

On the way home, we stopped by the pet store where we purchased seatbelts for the dogs. ¬†Max gave us a talking to about German law and how traveling with unrestrained dogs can result in stiff fines. ¬†I actually knew about the dog seatbelt law, but Bill didn’t. ¬†And given how strict he is about human seatbelt use, I was surprised he wasn’t more aware. ¬†But anyway, our dogs will now be in compliance. ¬†I picked up a couple of new toys for them, too. ¬†Arran goes through them quickly.

My German friend, Susanne, with whom I have only interacted online so far, had told me about the Schloss Weitenburg, which is a castle hotel and restaurant about 20 minutes from where we live. ¬†It turned out this year, my husband’s company had the holiday party there. ¬†Though a lot of people booked a room at the hotel, Bill and I decided to just come for the evening. ¬†We ended up having a good time. ¬†In fact, I’d say that was probably the most fun I’ve had at a so-called “mandatory fun” work party in a long time.

I got to meet Bill’s bosses, all of whom sang his praises to me, which they didn’t need to do. ¬†I know he’s awesome and very competent at his job. ¬†The food was fairly good, too, though the main courses were served buffet style. ¬†I didn’t take a bunch of pictures because I figured it would be inappropriate. ¬†But it was nice to meet and talk to a few of the people Bill has told me about. ¬†One couple brought their very sweet and laid back labrador retriever.

It was interesting to observe everyone interacting and compare it to how military parties tend to be. ¬†On the whole, I’d say contractor parties are more laid back, even if most of the people in attendance are veterans.

 

We tried and clearly enjoyed the local red wine… ¬†one of the waiters caught me drinking out of a water glass and brought me a proper wine glass after we had already finished half the bottle. ¬†

 

I saw a couple of people who didn’t seem all that comfortable at the party. ¬†I figured they were introverted types. ¬†I saw a couple of people who called it a night early. ¬†In one case, it looked like maybe the party had started earlier than planned. ¬† ¬†

 

We had a salad and bread, which was served to us at the table.  The buffet offered braised duck, spatzle, goat cheese ravioli with spinach, red cabbage, seasonal vegetables, scalloped potatoes, and hunter gravy.  The dessert was especially good.  It was batter fried apples with sugar and cinnamon and vanilla ice cream.  It reminded me a little of apple fritters.  Dessert was probably my favorite part of the meal.  Go figure.  Bill and I liked the food enough that we might have to go back and try the restaurant.

 

 

The front door… ¬†I’d love to go back during the day and see the area surrounding the castle. ¬†It’s very pretty there and the architecture is impressive. ¬†This place obviously has a long standing history with American military folks. ¬†There was a display case in the lobby full of military coins. ¬†Max at Dog Holiday also had a display case full of coins. ¬†That’s a sure sign that a business is American military friendly!¬†

 

All in all, I had an okay time… although I’m hoping to find a good restaurant today. ¬†

  

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