Sud Tyrol and beyond… part eight

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Bumming around Bolzano…

Back in 2009, I spent about a week taking bus tours with Alpine Adventures, which provided services to guests at the Edelweiss Lodge and Resort in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. For those who don’t know, Edelweiss is a special hotel that is only for people affiliated with the U.S. government or military. It’s a very nice and large facility located on the small military installation in Garmisch. We haven’t been back to Edelweiss since 2009, but I understand it’s serving even fewer people nowadays, thanks to German tax laws.

When Bill and I were in Germany with the Army, he was working for EUCOM and they frequently had conferences at the Edelweiss resort. I would tag along with him and go on tours with Alpine Adventures. Most of our trips were in the winter, which to be honest, was a much better time to go to Edelweiss because they were a lot fewer people there. But in June 2009, after our very first cruise (Royal Caribbean Vision of the Seas– Oslo to Stockholm), Bill and I had to rush back to Germany so he could attend a weeklong conference at Edelweiss. I spent that week taking tours that took me to Innsbruck, Munich, Berchtesgaden, and Italy– namely Vipitano and Bolzano (otherwise known as Bozen). We went to Bolzano to see Ötzi, the Iceman, and to mill around the city for the day. We didn’t have a lot of time to spend in Bolzano. I remember eating lunch there and then getting back on the bus to go back to Germany, with a stop at a famous church to look at a ceiling painting.

I remember that week as interesting, yet frustrating. We had a very annoying tour guide who looked like an ancient version of Pippi Longstocking and, thanks to a chain smoking habit, had a voice like steel wool. She was obsessed with Stadls… (hay barns). Since she led most of the tours I took that week, I had to listen to her drone about the Stadls and Mad King Ludwig all week as I was forced to sit next to strangers on the packed buses.

Anyway, I had liked Bolzano, and wanted to visit again with Bill. But every time I tried to plan a trip there, something came up that made it impossible. That was why I had focused on Bolzano this time. By the way, it looks like Alpine Adventures has quit doing the Italy tours. I’m sure a lot of the tours they offered in 2009 and now defunct, thanks to COVID-19 and the need to socially distance.

On Thursday of last week, we decided to visit Bolzano, a city that is as Austrian/German as it is Italian, although I noticed more people speaking Italian when we were there. As we were driving into the city, the amber check engine light came on in the Volvo. Bill, who is not the handiest guy when it comes to cars, started to freak out a little. The Volvo is a 2020 model and should not be having engine problems of any kind. But after about twenty minutes of fretting, he figured out that whatever the problem was/is (the light comes on and goes off at random) is something that needs to be checked, but isn’t urgent. We spent the day walking around the city, which was even more charming than I remembered it.

My Italian friend, Vittorio, was born and raised in Italy. He later became a U.S. citizen, but left the United States because he was disgusted by it. He now lives in Germany with his second wife, a German. Vittorio has told me more than once that Bolzano is the one city in Italy that “works” and that he would live there, but nowhere else in Italy. But he’s still very much a proud Italian and though he is also a naturalized American, he does not identify as Italian-American. I don’t get to “talk” to Vittorio much these days. He got disgusted with Facebook, too, and dropped off of social media (and frankly, I admire him for that). But maybe he’ll drop by my blog and leave a comment about Bolzano. I was glad Bill finally got to see it for himself.

At about 11:30am, I started thinking we should look for lunch. I wasn’t actually that hungry, but I knew the restaurants would quickly fill up, and I hate it when I’m hangry. So does Bill, although he didn’t really want to eat so early. I talked him into sitting down, and that was a good plan… We had lunch at Trattoria Filo d’Olio, a tiny place in an alley. I liked that their outdoor tables were in a shady place.

We kept walking down the street and I suddenly saw the museum where Ötzi, the Iceman was displayed. There was a line to see him that stretched all the way around the corner. I saw the Iceman in 2009 and though it was fascinating to see his bones, that’s really all there is left of him– bones. I only need to see it once in a lifetime. Bill wasn’t interested in standing in line, either, so we kept walking and soon came upon an art exhibit. Bill loves looking at art, so we went inside. Donning our masks felt a bit stifling, as we spoke to the young artist who told us he’d rented the building for a week to show off his paintings.

As the day wore on, it got hotter, so we decided to head back to the hotel. On the way there, we stopped into 1000 e un Vino, an enoteca near the parking garage. We wanted to get some local wines to bring back to Germany with us. A lady helped us select some local varieties and even told us to take off the masks so we could understand each other better. As we were paying for the wine, she told us that since we’re in Germany, we can order from her store’s Web site and she’ll ship wine to us.

Before we went back to the hotel for our last night in Parcines, we stopped at a wood carver’s studio. I bought us a few treasures, since I’ve been missing doing that lately. I had a few wood carvings from prior trips to the Tyrol region, including my “drunk monk”, which I’ll share a picture of in a later post…

Since Thursday night’s dinner was particularly rantworthy, I will write about that in the next post.

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!

Fancy in Annecy… Our first visit to the “big city”… part four

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Friday morning, we woke up to a few clouds and a nice buffet breakfast.  Breakfast at Hotel Les Grillons runs from 8:00am until 10:00am.  Make a note of that time if you decide to book there.  Bill didn’t.  More on that later.  Friday morning, we were perfectly contented to sleep in a little.

Friday night’s dinner menu.

 

Friday morning’s buffet breakfast.  It was the same each day.

The buffet breakfast offers ham, cheese, a variety of breads for toast or just jam and butter.  There’s fresh fruit, fresh pancakes, and yogurt…  and there’s also an egg boiler.  I mention this, because I’ve only ever seen these things in France.  In the fall of 2014, right around the time Bill and I moved back to Germany, we visited Colmar, France.  We stayed in a nice, family run hotel in a suburb called Bischwihr.  That hotel also boasted a wonderful restaurant and an included breakfast.

Somehow during that October 2014 visit, I didn’t realize that the eggs sitting in front of the boiling water were for people to boil to their hearts’ content.  I took an egg and found it raw.

Hotel Les Grillons had a similar set up.  They had thoughtfully provided a timetable for cooking the eggs as well as actual egg timers.  Bill decided to cook a couple of eggs.  However, he failed to realize the water wasn’t boiling.  I think he thought the longer times suggested by the sign in front of the machine meant that the eggs were intended to cook at a lower temperature.  Leave it to my husband to think of sous vide cooking when he’s boiling eggs.  He brought the eggs to the table and, sure enough, they were almost raw.  Another guest, similarly burned by the non boiling water, thought to turn up the heat.  The next day, Bill managed to cook a perfect egg for me… and a less perfect one for him, since he doesn’t like them soft.

We headed into Annecy and parked by the port, where a bunch of boats were waiting for eager tourists to take on a lake tour.  I was really tempted to go on a tour.  I was especially tempted by the big Bateaux ship that does lunch and dinner cruises…  We did one in London and had a decent time.  On the other hand, I remembered that those ships kind of force you to be a captive audience and the food quality can be really good or very poor.  Also, there is a lot of nickel and diming, which I hate.  So I told Bill I’d rather walk around the city.

I managed to get some nice shots of Annecy in action…

I was excited to see a number of signs in English.

The water in Lake Annecy is said to be extremely clean, even if I did see some signs of obvious pollution.

If you want to tour the lake by boat, you have plenty of options… and not just in Annecy.

We visited Annecy on Friday and Sunday; both days they had a big market.

They also had paddle boats.  The guys running the boats were very enthusiastic, although the clouds made me less enthusiastic.  There’s also a beach area not far from the boats where one can swim, lie in the sun, or wade.

I loved the canopy of trees.

This is the big lunch/dinner cruise ship.  We thought about doing it for lunch yesterday, but they were fully booked.

This is the area where most tourists were congregating.

The Bastille…  which I learned means jail.  There’s a restaurant named La Bastille located nearby that gets horrible reviews.

If you like good food…

Stroll through here…  if you can.

It was very obnoxious yesterday.  I’m glad I got pictures on Friday, when it was less congested.

I wished I could buy some stuff.  

Huge meringues!

After we passed through the throng of people shopping for food, we wandered the city some more.  A couple of women approached us and tried to speak to us, but seemed scared off when we told them we don’t speak French.  We happened to notice the Jehovah’s Witnesses had set up a rather prominent display near the boats.  I wondered if they were with them.  The two women didn’t seem to be friends.  We often get stopped by people, though.  I guess we look friendly.

Canals in Annecy.

And flowers…

A pig, that people obviously tried to sit on at one time.

A sax player.

And a CBD oil/telecom store.  Guess they were branching out.

Obligatory church pictures.

At around this point, it was definitely time for lunch.

I was tempted by this ice cream stand…

Instead, we stopped at Milton Pub, which was like an oasis of peace.  They were playing really good music and offered some excellent beers.  I see they only get three stars on Trip Advisor.  What a shame.  We enjoyed our visit.

I had a very large Kwak.

Bill had charcuterie.

I had fish and chips.

And another beer…  at one point, they played music from Bizet’s Carmen and the waitresses laughed because I was dancing to it in my seat.  What can I say?  I am a frustrated musician at heart.

Nice terrace area, but not when the market is going.

One of Bill’s buddies asked for wine.  We went shopping.

No touchy!

I’m not sure what this was about. 

We stopped in for more bottles of wine to bring home.

Then we ran across this harpist, who was entertaining these kids.  

She was very kindly letting them look at her instrument.  I got Bill to buy one of her CDs.  It turns out her name is Jessica Browning and she’s from… Memphis.  😀  Bill’s dad lives near Memphis.  And she has a Web site, too.  I love to buy music from buskers.

I enjoyed a gelato and watched the water while Bill chatted with her.

And this guy, too.

Dramatic skies on the way back to the hotel.

This was the last of the clouds during our visit!

Lunch at Towers Irish Pub in Ludwigsburg…

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This morning, Bill and I braved the rain to go to Ludwigsburg to pick up some wine we ordered from Le Clos du Breil.  We became familiar with this small, family owned vintner when we lived in Germany the first time.  We happened to run into them at the Tuebingen Saturday market.  At that time, no one in the family seemed to speak much English.  When Bill tried to speak German with them, one of them held up a French/German dictionary!

Anyway, we became fans of their wines and used to order them in bulk all the time when we lived here from 2007-09.  When we were back in the States, I used to get emails from them and wish I could pick up another case.  A few weeks ago, I got an email from them out of the blue, passed it on to Bill, and he ordered twelve bottles.  We had to search a bit to find them today, but once Bill did, the guy recognized him immediately, even though it had been seven years since our last order.

Gray skies in Ludwigsburg… as usual.

Bill pays for our vino.  I thought it was pretty cool that the wine guy remembered us.  Bill didn’t even have to pull out his order form or tell them who we were.  He addressed Bill by name.

The vintner told us that there’s a French doctor who lives in the area and brings cheese whenever Le Clos du Breil comes to town.  He brings an entourage with him and they have a tasting.  That was going on when Bill showed up to pick up our wine.

We picked up our wine with an extra two gratis, bought a couple of Italian reds from another vendor, and decided it was time for lunch.  Today, we tried a place we’ve never been to before, Towers Irish Pub.  Tucked into a corner in Ludwigsburg’s big market square, the pub has a pleasant outdoor area where people can sit if they want to.  Bill and I decided to go inside because it looked like it was going to start raining any second.  I’m glad we went inside because the pub is actually really nice.  It turns out all of the beautiful oak woodwork in the pub came from churches in England.

An accordion player was performing some impressive classical pieces nearby.

 

A pleasant woman was behind the bar.  She must have spoken English fluently, because I noticed a Help Wanted sign asking for fluent English speakers.  But she only spoke German to us until it was time to pay the bill.

Funny sign.

I took an opportunity to steal a few photos while no one was in the bar.  A few folks were sitting outside despite the clouds and stiff breeze.  

The pub is full of impressive woodwork and carving, as well as some cool art.

I catch Bill looking like he’s plotting trouble.

We had a round of Guinness.

 

The menu at Towers is pretty much straightforward bar food.  They have nachos, mozzarella sticks, spare ribs, burgers, wraps, chili, and fish and chips.  There are a number of Irish and German beers, cocktails, and some interesting shooters on the menu.  They also have plenty of non-alcoholic drinks.  Irish music is piped in to the dining room, but we could barely hear it.  Too bad.

I decided to try the fish and chips, which came with a big tub of tartar sauce.  The fish and chips were excellent.  The batter was not too heavy or greasy.

Bill had a cheeseburger.  It wasn’t bad, though I have definitely had better.  It came with a “hamburger sauce”, which was probably akin to Thousand Island dressing.  Bill liked his burger, but I’m glad I had the fish and chips.

A photo of the front.  Funny how such an unassuming looking facade can hide such a delightfully ornate inside.  I think this pub is worth a visit if only for the beautiful English carved wood.

 

With the tip, I think we paid about thirty euros for lunch.  A children’s menu is available. We will definitely go back again.   It’s always a pleasure to visit Ludwigsburg.

Our haul from France!

Visiting the Naturparkmarkt in Nagold…

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A couple of weeks ago, someone in the local Facebook group posted about the Naturparkmarkt, a market that has been going to different towns in the Black Forest region.  A couple of weeks ago, it was in a town about 20 kilometers from Jettingen.  I was tempted to go, but it was raining that day.  Then I noticed that on June 19th, the market would be coming to Nagold, a cute little town about four kilometers from Jettingen.  Bill and I made plans to go and just got home from the small but mighty market.  Despite some clouds, we spent some euros and brought home quite a haul of fresh food and cosmetics made from honey.

The lovely thing about Nagold on Sundays is that parking is free.

I love going to markets.  They’re always very festive and the food is so fresh and colorful.  Today’s market was pretty small and there weren’t very many people there, which kind of made it better.  Many of the vendors were allowing people to taste their products before purchasing.  Bill and I ended up with mustards, jams, bread, sausages, wine, strawberries, cherries, and cheeses.  Feast your eyes!

Our first stop was at a little stand where a dirndl clad lady was selling cheeses, sausages, and many interesting mustards.  We ended up buying five exotic flavored mustards featuring everything from dill to whiskey.  Here’s an obligatory shot of Bill helping himself.

It wasn’t very crowded…

Another stand featured some delicious jams, jellies, and marmalades.

A tour is going on at 3:00pm.

 

We ended up going to the river, where a band from a music school was playing.  It sounded like they were playing “Superstar” from Jesus Christ Superstar.  Just as we approached, they broke for lunch.  Too bad.

Nagold is such a cute town.  There are flowers everywhere, as well as many entertaining water fowl.

The band.

Cute little kiosks selling lunch.

 

After we strolled back across the bridge to the market, we stopped at a stand where a very friendly guy was selling products made from honey.  He didn’t realize we were English speakers and was rattling off all sorts of information about the lotions, salves, and creams he was selling.  When Bill explained that we only speak a little German, he called his wife over.  But then she and another guy at the next stand said we didn’t need translation!  They were really interested in knowing what we were doing in Nagold.   I still don’t speak a lot of German, but I am finding that I understand a lot more than I used to.  Bill is fairly conversant.

The honey guy.

I got a kick out of the Queen Elizabeth and Albert Einstein waving dolls.  They reminded of me of my Margaret Thatcher nutcracker.  😉

This stand selling sausages was extremely popular.  I didn’t have to pressure Bill too hard to pick up some deer and wild pork sausages.

 

One very kind lady was selling wines.  We stopped to talk to her and tried three of the several wines she offered.  She told us if we liked her wines, we could just send her an email and she’d bring us orders when she visits her mother in Nagold.  I love that about living here.  You can strike up a conversation with local farmers or vendors and they can hook you up with some great locally made products.

Just last week I got an email from a small vintner in France.  Last time we lived in Germany, we happened to purchase some wine from them at a market in Tuebingen.  We got on their mailing list and used to buy wine from them at the Ludwigsburg market.  For the next five years, while we were back in the States, I’d get emails from them telling us where they were selling their wines.  I’d sigh wistfully and miss being in Germany.  The emails eventually ceased until I got one out of the blue last week.  We’re picking up an order in Ludwigsburg during the first weekend in July.

It’s a pleasure to live near so many cute towns.  If you like farm fresh products, I recommend looking out for the Naturparkmarkt.  The one in Nagold ends at 5:00 today, but there will be other markets in towns around the Black Forest all summer.

Food extravaganza in Nagold!

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As I woke up this morning, I said to Bill, “You know, I think we should go to the market in Nagold this morning.”

“Do you think they’re still going now?” he asked.

“Yeah.  Why not?”  I responded.

Bill was game, so we went this morning and were rewarded with a large haul of delicious fresh food. Have a look!

The tower at 9:00am…

We were immediately attracted to the first fruit and vegetable stand we encountered.  Bill got us some strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries.  He didn’t see the blackberries until he’d already paid.  Bill loves blackberries.  I could take ’em or leave ’em.

Pretty flowers.  I amused myself by watching the fountain.  For once, no kids were playing in it.

Plums!  I love how beautiful everything looks.

Bill checks out the beans.  I think he got some of those, along with peppers.

I had to ask what the green stuff is.  I think it’s a mix of broccoli and cauliflower.

Who could resist?  Not us.

Another shot of the fountain.

We tore ourselves away from the fruits and vegetables and made our way down the street.  I couldn’t help but notice the heavenly scent of salami.  A very well stocked metzgerei was doing a brisk business nearby.  Bill and I determined we needed to pick up some wurst, but only after we checked out the rest of the market.  
I spotted a stand where a young man was selling deer salami and sausages.  Bill loves venison products.  I don’t like deer meat, but I like to encourage Bill to treat himself.  I think the young guy was getting a kick out of us, especially when I said “You know you want to.” to Bill.  The same guy was also apparently a beekeeper, so we bought some honey as well.  The French honey we bought last year is almost done.

Next stop was the fish market… we picked up a couple of whole trouts and a salmon filet.

Bill went to town at a cheese stand, even as a rather impatient older lady kept pushing in front of him.    The lady doing the selling was laughing as Bill shuffled awkwardly to the left and ordered more cheese.  Wish we’d picked up some butter, too, not that I need to be eating it.

Pretty flowers.

We made our way back to the metzgerei with the heavenly cold cuts.  Bill bought a nice selection of three sliced meats.  Lunch should be good today.

Good stuff!

We finished with a stop at the bakery, where we got some brotchen and a few Berliners– German jelly doughnuts!  Yum!

My first Berliner.  Believe it or not, I never had one here in Germany before this morning.  I usually talk myself out of them.  It was worth the wait!

God, I love living in Germany.  We need to hit the market more often.

Our trip to The Netherlands via Luxembourg… part 3

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All week, we’ve been enjoying breakfast in the hotel.  They have a really nice spread here; 15 euros a person for an all you can eat buffet.  That’s less than a lot of places charge, which is a good thing.  You can have scrambled eggs, bacon, tomatoes, cold cuts, fruit, bread, cereal, yogurt, juices, smoked salmon, and roast beef.  The roast beef is a particular hit as far as I’m concerned.  I have yet to have really good roast beef in Germany, so it’s been a treat to be able to get it here.

After breakfast, Bill went to work and I went back to the room where I started blogging.  I was interrupted by the housekeeper, who wanted to service the room.  I decided to take the opportunity to walk to the Centrum, which is where all the Apeldoorn action is, right?  It’s actually kind of a long walk from the hotel and it’s a bit chilly this week.  Nevertheless, I put on my shoes and started walking, amazed by how pretty and quiet the town is.  I was almost to the Centrum when I heard someone wolf whistle softly.  It was a Dutch guy on a bike.  He actually gave me an appreciative smile as he passed.

I am turning 43 on Saturday, so being noticed was kind of flattering.  On the other hand, it’s possible that he lacked a bell and just wanted to let me know he was behind me.  I have to admit, being whistled at actually made me feel a little paranoid.  I wondered if my pants had split or something.  I did a quick check and found that they hadn’t.

There is a dog park near the hotel and a special area along the street where dogs can be walked.  I dodged a few landmines…  It’s fun to watch the dogs play in the park.

 

Awesome church on the way into town…

 

Walking around the Centrum was interesting.  A lot of stores and restaurants appeared to be closed.  I wandered into a Dutch mall, mainly because I wanted to use the restroom.  I found one and didn’t realize until I had gone that I was supposed to pay 35 cents for the privilege.  There was a plate on a table near the door.  I hope no one thinks poorly of me when I admit that I just said “fuck it” and kept going.  I don’t mind paying to use the bathroom as long as it’s attended.  No one was attending that bathroom, so what was I paying for?  The water?  The toilet paper?  Like I said… “fuck it”.

Open on Sunday!  What’s the world coming to?

 

Market shots… everything smelled good here.

 

I walked around some more, noticing a number of touristy looking bars and a few that appeared to be rather prurient in nature.  I wandered around an outdoor market that smelled of fried fish, spices, and cheese.  I saw a number of Muslim vendors selling garb to wandering women wearing headscarves.  I got bored with the scene and headed back toward the hotel.  Noticing that De Heerlijekheyt, the restaurant next door, was open for lunch, I decided to stop in and try a couple of dishes that had attracted me on Sunday night.  This time, my server was a young lady.

Delicious tomato and chorizo soup…

 

Shrimp stuffed ravioli and scallops with lobster foam.  Two glasses of white wine accompanied this meal.  I paid 30 euros plus tip.

After lunch, I went back to the hotel and changed into my swimsuit… it was a little like stuffing ten pounds into a five pound bag.  The hotel has a really nice pool and fitness area that include a sauna, steam bath, and a “solarium”, which is actually a tanning bed of some sort.  The sauna and pool are free, but you have to get tokens from the front desk for the steam room and tanning bed.  They cost four euros.  I have used the pool, which is unheated and uniformly about 4.5 feet deep.  I am guessing at the depth.  I am about 5’2″ and the water comes up to my shoulders.  I like it…

Awesome pool!

Fitness center…

This is the way to the sauna, steam room, and tanning bed…

You won’t catch me in one of these things.

I spent awhile at the pool, then got dressed and went to the bar area to wait for Bill.  I enjoyed a glass of wine and some beer.  Some of Bill’s fellow conference attendees came over to talk to me, including a general who lives in Italy.  Bill didn’t see me in the bar area as he came in.  I ended up having to send him a Facebook message to tell him where I was.

He got changed and decided he wanted to walk to the Centrum.  I wasn’t all that keen on the idea, having already done it earlier in the day.  But we set off… and went in a different direction, which led us on a very long detour that exhausted me and put me in a mean world.  That experience deserves its own post.