chocolate

Our time in Die Schweiz was definitely not Scheißig… part seven

Sunday’s plan included a trip to a brand new, beautiful chocolate museum. I’m referring to the Lindt Home of Chocolate, a gorgeous facility that opened to the public in September 2020. This is the place where chocolate lovers go to pay homage to the sweet delight of a well-known brand. Bill tells me it was my idea to visit. I’m not sure how I heard of it– someone probably alerted me to its presence. We would have discovered it regardless.

Let me just state upfront that I LOVE chocolate, and I like Lindt chocolate very much. It’s not my favorite chocolate, but I certainly won’t turn it down. And if you take the chocolate tour, you can satisfy your sweet tooth. This is a very tasting heavy place that is kid friendly. There are many excellent interactive exhibits, as well as headsets for those who want to learn everything. I did take a headset, but never used it. I prefer to read… and all of the exhibits at the museum have explanations in English and German.

Unlike the Haus C.G. Jung museum, it’s perfectly fine to take photos at the Lindt museum, although you’re supposed to stow your bags in lockers. I took a lot of pictures, and we left there with a huge bag of chocolate that we’ll be enjoying for awhile. I did notice a sign that forbade strollers, so keep that in mind if you have a small child you’re considering bringing along for a tour.

Cool way to end the tour!

The museum also has special tours and classes available. You can also buy vouchers as gifts for others. Bill said the experience reminded him a little of Swarovski’s Crystal Tour in Wattens, Austria, which I’ve done twice. I agree with him. The Lindt Home of Chocolate is a really cool museum, even with the face masks… and a great representation of the Lindt brand. There’s a huge parking garage at the museum, so you don’t need to worry about parking if you choose to drive.

After we finished at the chocolate museum, we decided to take a drive along the lake, where we promptly ran into a rain storm. I was looking for cute places to have lunch, but it was Sunday, and if you live in certain European countries, you know that means a lot of places are closed. We weren’t that hungry anyway, after all the chocolate we ate in the museum. We were a little afraid of being caught in flooding, as the recent German floods were fresh in our minds. When the rain really started coming down hard, we turned around and drove back into the city, parked in a much less expensive garage, and went looking for lunch.

More on that in the next (and probably last) installment.

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Our time in Die Schweiz was definitely not Scheißig… part six

The boat arrived at Küsnacht-Heslibach at precisely 1:35pm. Bill and I got off and started the short walk to the Haus C.G. Jung. As we were disembarking, I noticed a little beach right next to the pier. It looked inviting and, indeed, people were swimming and sunning. I noticed a few ladies had brought their playful dogs, which made me miss ours. We could have gotten off at the previous stop, but it would have been a longer walk to the house. The Küsnacht-Heslibach stop is just around the corner from the Jung house.

Before I knew it, we were at the end of the driveway, walking down to the house itself, a stately and unique mansion with well-manicured gardens and a lawn. I noticed there was a swing set there, no doubt for Jung’s descendants, who still call the place home. How nice of them to allow Jung enthusiasts to visit! The house was built in 1908, much of it paid for by the inherited wealth Jung’s wife, Emma Jung-Rauschenbach, brought into the family. They had five children. It seemed like they had it made, especially since Jung was a well-regarded psychiatrist who had studied with Freud, was an artist, and knew several languages.

Well… nobody’s perfect, and that also applies to people like Carl G. Jung. He had an open affair with his assistant and former patient, Toni Wolff. Emma tolerated the affair, and the three seemed to work harmoniously so that Jung could create his science of analytical psychology. I don’t pretend to know a whole lot about Jung– he’s really more Bill’s interest than mine. But as someone who has seen a psychologist and studied social work, I did find the museum very interesting for a lot of reasons. Artists will also enjoy it, since many of Jung’s works are displayed on the first floor, which is the self-guided part of the tour.

Carl Jung was a very unusual person with great vision. His house has a tower that he wanted built. He’d actually hoped the tower would be a library, but that didn’t work out. The tower has stairs instead of books. On the brief guided tour, we did visit Jung’s library and inner sanctum. When we walked inside, I noticed it reeked of tobacco. Our guide said that Jung was a heavy smoker. I thought I smelled whisky, too. It wouldn’t surprise me, although the guide didn’t mention a love of alcohol. I asked her how many languages Jung spoke, since I noticed books in several languages, including English. She said he spoke German, French, English, and had studied Greek and Latin. I was amused to see a book about yoga in the library… our guide said he’d read pretty much every book in the carefully arranged library.

Our group probably consisted of about ten people, all of whom were younger than Bill and I are, and none of whom appeared to be American. One couple was very young– the female half was pretty and had a very beautiful figure, which she showed off with an obscenely short skirt. Or maybe they were actually shorts. I don’t know what they were, although she did distract me when she bent over to look at something and gave me a full on view of her privates. I was really glad she’d worn underwear. The funny thing is, when I saw them approaching, I had a feeling I was going to end up seeing something I shouldn’t. I have some empathy, though. When I was younger, I made some unwise clothing choices, too. And I’ve never had a figure as pretty as hers.

We were supposed to leave our bags and cameras in lockers provided by the museum. A couple of people brought their phones with them, and one lady took forbidden photos inside the museum. A chaperone was quick to admonish her. I thought the way he did it was kind. He said she could keep the image she’d taken, but not to take others. Then, much to my amazement, she asked if she could climb the ladder to the top shelf of books! That request was denied! It is allowed to take photos outside, on the grounds.

The grounds at the museum are very beautiful and peaceful. It was a pleasure to walk around them and take in views of the lake. There’s also a public restroom outside of the house, which came in handy. Below are some photos from our visit. Tickets for adults are 22 Swiss Francs; kids from 0-11 years old can visit free of charge. I think they’re worth the price if you’re into Jung. The tour guide wasn’t the most energetic or entertaining, but she did seem very respectful and knowledgeable about Jung’s life and work. No one tried to stump her, though.

We walked back to the dock, where we had about half an hour to kill before the boat came back for us. I watched the lake and got lots of video. I was trying to capture lightning on video, but it didn’t work out for me. I did get lots of thunder and plenty of people enjoying the lake, even as the storm approached. I kept hearing the voice in my head from all the lifeguards who demanded that everyone get out of the pool! I was surprised no one was doing that in safety-conscious Switzerland. Below, you can see how I amused myself with my big, fancy, digital camera… I need to play with it some more and learn to take better pictures.

A little of what I was seeing on Saturday.

It started raining as we waited for the boat. At first, it was pleasant and refreshing… but then it started to get heavier. By the time we got on the boat, it was coming down. I was suddenly glad Bill had given me an umbrella, even though I had complained about having something else to carry in my purse. We ended up sitting outside, barely managing to score chairs under an overhang. After a couple of stops, we were able to move into the restaurant, where I had another beer. 😉

After we got off the boat, we decided to go eat. I was kind of hoping for something interesting, but we ended up at what appeared to be a Swiss beer hall based on the legend of William Tell. Yes, it was very tourist friendly, but I did get to have some surprisingly tasty Swiss style “mac n’ cheese”. Bill had a veal schnitzel… and yes, we drank more beer. The restaurant was called Das Zeughauskeller, and if you walk down the main drag past the Hermes store, it’s doubtful you’ll miss it. Our table was reserved from 6:00pm, which gave us plenty of time to enjoy a sumptuous Swiss meal.

We made our way back to the hotel– first paying the huge parking fee– where we relaxed and watched Father of the Bride on TV. The TVs at the hotel got all sorts of channels– there was something for everyone! Bill and I enjoyed watching BBC. I also enjoyed the bathtub again. All in all, it was a good day.

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Strasbourg’s annual wine extravaganza! Part two

Now that I’ve described the hotel, on with the rest of the trip. I was actually kind of dreading trying to find dinner on Friday night. I used to wait tables, so I know what dining out on Valentine’s Day can be like, both for wait staff and patrons. We were unable to make dinner reservations anywhere special, so I had a feeling dinner would be spectacularly un-special. And that’s what ultimately came to pass…

But before dinner, we were keen to visit the The Historic Wine Cellar at Strasbourg Hospices. My German friend, Susanne, told me about this historic wine cave, which was created in the year 1395. The cellar was used for storing wine, but it was also used for storing other perishables like grain. Today, visitors can visit the caves free of charge and pick up a bottle or two of wine. Very old wines are stored there now, including three historic barrels dating from 1472, 1519, and 1525. The barrel from 1472 even still has 350 liters of wine from 1472 in it– the oldest in the world aged in a barrel. It’s only been served three times in five centuries:

  • In 1576 to Zurich, when the Swiss proved that they could come quickly to help their friends in Strasbourg.
  • in 1718 for the reconstruction of the main building ravaged by a fire two years prior.
  • in November 1944 to General Philippe Leclerc de Hautecloque, liberator of the city of Strasbourg.

In 1994, the wine was tested by local oenologists who determined that even though the wine is over 500 years old, it’s still wine, and in fact, has “a very beautiful bright, very amber color, a powerful nose, very fine, of a very great complexity, aromas reminiscent of “Vanilla, honey, wax, camphor, fine spices, hazelnut and fruit liquor …” I wonder how much longer they’re going to age it and what made them decide to keep that particular wine for so long!

Bill and I took a taxi to visit the museum, because Bill thought maybe we’d be tasting some wine there. Alas, wine tastings are only done for special events. However, we did enjoy some beer after our visit to the cave. Here are some photos of the museum.

We really enjoyed our visit to see the historic wines. If we had driven to the museum, we probably would have picked up a few bottles of their current wines, too. Maybe if we go back to Strasbourg, we’ll stop in again. Incidentally, the cave is closed on Sundays and public holidays. If you visit, you can either read the signs, as we did, or get a headset, which will provide more information and stories about the history of the wine cave and its relation to the historic hospital complex. It doesn’t take long to see this attraction. We were there maybe a half hour, and that was because we were reading everything, taking pictures, and going slowly. It’s still pretty cool to visit there, though.

After our visit to the museum/cave, we decided to find ourselves some beer in town. We didn’t have to walk far before we reached our first destination, a bar called La Taverne des Serruriers/ La Schloss Brasserie. More on that in the next post.

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Volvo, Mark Knopfler, and East German adventures… part five

Tuesday was to be our shortest day driving.  We planned to drive to Gedser, Denmark, where we would pick up our second ferry.  Unlike the first ferry ride, which only lasted about twenty minutes, this one would be almost two hours.  It would also cost about three times as much.  We left the city bright and early, at about 8:30am.  I got some pictures of Copenhagen’s rush hour, which seemed to include as many bikes as cars.  I thought the Dutch were bike happy.  They’ve got nothing on the Danes!

I wish we’d had a day to explore Copenhagen.  Maybe we’ll have another chance to do a proper visit.  Last time we were in Copenhagen, it was during a cruise.  I got some good photos, but no real feel for the culture.

The drive from Copenhagen to Gedser was very pretty.  I was thinking I’d like to explore Denmark’s countryside more.  I even noticed what appeared to be a “treewalk” in the distance as we drove on the highway.  These “tree walks” are opening up all over the place and they’re really fun and cool.  I see the one in Denmark doesn’t have a slide, like the one near Stuttgart has.  Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to stop for a visit, since we needed to catch the 11:00am ferry.  It was delayed, and the next ferry, at 3:00pm, was cancelled.

Pretty Danish countryside…

Danish “tree walk”.

Pretty impressive Danish engineering.

Once you drive your car onto the ferry, you have to go to the upper decks for safety reasons.  There, you can eat, surf the Internet, or hang out on the sundeck, where the wind will try to blow you off the boat.  I got a few photos from the trip.

Driving up to the toll plaza.

 

Into the ass of the boat…

When you buy your tickets, they give you vouchers to buy duty free tobacco.  Apparently, you’re supposed to smoke it all on the ferry…  Good thing I don’t smoke.

We saw one guy breaking the rules, hanging out with the vehicles.

A Lamborghini was next to us.

It was hard to stay topside, due to the high winds.

But you could have a buffet lunch, schnitzel, fish & chips, or sandwiches.

 

I had a schnitzel, which was surprisingly good, even if it was served with cocktail sauce instead of ketchup.

We landed in Rostock in the mid afternoon.  It’s a very pleasant East German city with kind of a dark past.

 
 

Part of the reason I wanted to go to Rostock is because there’s a very cool museum there.  Rostock is where many East Germans who were arrested for political crimes awaited trial.  There’s a prison there that was used until 1989.  I read about it in a book last year and somehow learned about the prison museum in Rostock.  There is also one in Berlin.  I was really hoping to visit it during this trip, but they are currently doing renovations and the museum is closed until next year.  Maybe we’ll get back there.  I did get some pictures of the outside of the prison, which I’ll share in the next post.

“Lovely” East German architecture.  It looked like it might have been refurbished.

Aside from East German horrors, Rostock is also a very charming port city with beautiful architecture, decent restaurants, and plenty of talented buskers on the streets, which are crammed with good shopping.  We chose to stay at the Radisson Blu.  Given another opportunity to visit Rostock, I don’t think I’d stay there again.  Right from the beginning, things got off on a perilous foot when Bill missed the turn for the parking garage.  He wound up driving into a “walking area”, earning a lot of dirty looks from locals, as well as the shame of embarrassment.

The hotel was undergoing some renovations during our visit, which I hope will include an updating of the rooms.  Our room was very large and had a nice view, but the decor was truly nightmarish.  It looked like the set designers of The Lion King threw up all over the interior, with loud colors, safari-ish accents, and stuff that was cool in the early 1990s.  Service was decent at this hotel, but our room had at least one dead outlet and the bed was extremely firm and uncomfortable.  Also, I’m not absolutely certain, but it’s possible that we might have picked up bedbugs there.  If we didn’t get them there, there’s a chance we got them in the next hotel, which is where we actually found a bug, as well as bites on one of my legs.  More on that in a future post.

Here are some pictures of the room.

Bill was excited about the trouser press in the closet.

That print on the wall gave me nightmares.

I didn’t think to take a picture of it, but our room had both a shower/tub and a stand up shower.

After we checked in, and Bill mentally recovered from the error he made in driving through the walkplatz, we took a walk around town.  I got more pictures.

Cool fountain near Rostock’s University, 600 years old this year.

A university building.

This busker was playing a song for the little kid, bravely approaching him.  It was super cute!  The weather was cool, so people were bundled up.  I wished I’d brought a jacket.

The Rathaus…

I didn’t get pictures of inside of the Marienkirche, because it appeared that they weren’t allowed.  However, it really is a beautiful church and is well worth a visit.  It even has an astrological clock.

The tower at the Marienkirche.

 

We were looking for dinner, but most places either didn’t have what we wanted or were heavily populated.  So we ate dinner at the hotel’s restaurant, L’Osteria.  It wasn’t bad, mainly because we were the only ones there until we were almost finished eating.

Bill had beef strips and shrimp with tagliatelle and spicy sauce.

 

I had salmon with creamy mashed potatoes and a cucumber salad with dill and a bit of vinegar.  It was surprisingly good, although the salmon was just a little overcooked.

For dessert, I had an apricot tart with salted butterscotch ice cream.

Bill had affogato– espresso with vanilla ice cream.

Probably my favorite part of the meal, though, was the focaccia bread, which was served warm with olive oil and some kind of black currant vinegar.  It was delicious!  They only had wines by the glass.  I think it was because of the renovations.  The bar area was totally dismantled, so it appeared that they had diminished ability to serve drinks.

“La Fontana” is one of the restaurants we encountered before we decided to eat at the hotel.  I didn’t want to go in there because the signs had typos.  Here’s a PSA for all of you readers.  There is no reason to use an apostrophe for simple plural words.  Apostrophes are mainly used to show possession.  I know it makes me sound like a freak, but I had a visceral reaction to this sign.  It also sparked a very interesting Facebook thread.

Sunset… I think it was at about 10:00pm.

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Rothenburg ob der Tauber: Part five– Sadistic punishments and one last dinner!

We were finished with lunch at the Louvre Japanese Restaurant just around the time the Criminal Museum opened for the afternoon.  During the low season, it’s only open for a few hours in the afternoon.  However, if you have any interest in crime and punishment, especially during the medieval era, I would highly recommend visiting the Criminal Museum.  It’s very large and extensive.  We spent over an hour in there and we didn’t read everything.  If you take your time and read all there is, you can easily spend a couple of hours looking at exhibits and learning about the ways people of a bygone era dealt with those who committed offenses.

Below are some pictures I took of some of the more interesting exhibits.  Suffice to say, you had to stay on a straight and narrow path to avoid being publicly humiliated, tortured, or executed.

The outside of the museum.  It’s connected to a church and we heard the organ playing as we passed it before the museum opened.

Pillories, where many people were forced to endure public shaming.
“Paddy wagons” with bars on them.
This is a spiked chair– obviously a torture device for people who needed correction.

Throughout the museum, there were cool little exhibits that reminded me of dollhouses.  They showed how people were punished.  Another showed how kids in school were disciplined.

The two above pictures were taken in the very extensive exhibit about the original Martin Luther and the many witch hunts that took place in medieval times.

An executioner’s cloak.

A drunk tank.  Men who drank too much were forced to wear this barrel, sometimes weighted down for extra punishment.

One of many masks worn by people who needed to be shamed.  This one was an especially nasty one.

The above photos depict an exhibit showing how children in school were punished.

 

An iron maiden.

As a musician, I got a kick out of this device, meant to shame bad musicians.

Admission to the museum is 7,50 euros per adult.  I thought it was well worth the price because it’s so extensive and everything is translated into several languages.  It looked like a number of young kids were also enjoying the exhibits.  We ran into one couple who were telling their sons about the double “violins” people wore that basically yoked two people together who couldn’t get along.  They were forced to wear the device until they stopped fighting.

Another exhibit explained how couples who fought could be shamed.  If a man let his wife beat him, the roof of his house could be torn off.  He and his wife would be publicly punished and they were forced to give their neighbors a tankard of wine.  Premarital sex was also a no no and violators were publicly shamed.  They weren’t allowed to marry in a church.  Instead, they had to marry in an inn.  Later, the husband would go to jail while the wife spent some time in a pillory.

After the Criminal Museum, we went back to Anno 1499 and enjoyed a little CNN and a brief rest.  Bill got some love from our dogs, who were enjoying getting to vacation with us.

Zane isn’t much of a kisser, but when he does kiss you, he does it on the nose.

We decided to have dinner in town, even though I was kind of full from lunch.  Originally, we were going to try an Italian place we saw on Saturday.  I kind of wish we’d done that, since it was rated #1 on Trip Advisor.  Instead, we went to a German restaurant at Hotel Reichskuechenmeister, a place about a block from the Marktplatz.  On the way there, I took more pictures…

More Schneeballen and other baked goodies.

This time of year is nice, if only because it’s dead on a Sunday night and I can get some good night pictures.

Stop right here!  Your dream job (at a bank) awaits!

We decided to eat at the Hotel Reichskuechenmeister because it smelled good.  When we walked inside, I could see the place was pretty full, which is always a good sign.  A waiter opened a small dining room on the side for us.  Although I was tempted by a pasta dish with scallops and shrimps, I decided to have fried carp.  Bill went with goulash made with venison.

Substantial salad I shared with Bill.  It came with my fish.

Bill listens intently as I flap my gums at him.  He’s a good sport.  I had to use the ladies room, which involved taking the elevator to where the guest rooms are.  I guess their public restrooms are being renovated or something because they had what looked like a tiny single hotel room set up as a WC.  They placed a Schrank so that you couldn’t access the room, but I could see it was very small and had a traditional Bavarian twin sized bed in it.

I enjoyed the presentation of my fried carp.  It was position to look like it was jumping out of water.  It tasted good, too… very fresh.  However, there were a lot of bones.

Bill liked his hearty goulash, which included cranberry sauce and spatzle, as well as the dreaded mushrooms I hate.  He had a dark beer with his dinner while I had a glass of locally produced Sylvaner, a crisp white Riesling.

Outside by the front door…  I think we spent about fifty euros on dinner.  It was a pleasant experience.  Next time, we will have to visit the Italian place where we were originally headed.

And a few more window displays…

My last post in this series will be my traditional “what I learned” post…  Stay tuned!

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