All roads lead to Wiesbaden! Our intra-Germany move, part one…

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After months of preparation and anticipation, on November 26, 2018, we finally got underway with our move from the Stuttgart area to Wiesbaden.  The packers arrived at about 9:00am that cloudy Monday morning.  Weichert, the moving company hired by Bill’s company, sent us three strong guys from the eastern part of Europe.  I think they were from Croatia, but I’m not absolutely sure.  What I am sure of is that they were first class movers.  Having been an “Army wife” the first twelve years of my sixteen year marriage, I have experienced my share of moves.  This one was one of the easiest, not just because we were moving within Germany, but because we had truly excellent movers.

I wrote a couple more blog posts, anticipating time without precious WiFi access.  Bill had contacted Deutsche Telekom to set up our new Internet connection, hoping it would be done on November 28th, which was our move in day.  He still hadn’t canceled Internet in our old house because he was hoping we could just use Unitymedia in our new home.  For whatever reason, he wasn’t able to move our Internet service to the new house.  At this writing, we still have an active Unitymedia account at our old house.

Packing up…

I booked us a hotel room at Hotel Adler in Nagold, which is an adorable little town I’ve written about many times in this blog.  We lived very close to Nagold and had eaten at Hotel Adler a few times.  I was curious about their rooms, so I took our last night as an opportunity to experience a night there.  We booked the dogs at Dog Holiday for the whole week, so they’d be out of the way while we packed and cleaned.  I will miss having such close proximity to Max and his wife; they have taken great care of Zane and Arran for the past few years.  In fact, we’ll probably still use them when we visit Stuttgart to see our awesome dentist and/or as we pass through on the way to southern countries.

I wasn’t feeling particularly well on our packing day.  I felt like I was coming down with a virus.  With every packed box, our former house grew less and less comfortable.  I felt compelled to clean as the movers worked, knowing that our former landlady would be a stickler when it came time for the move out inspection.

So empty now!

Despite my moniker, “The Overeducated Housewife”, I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a pretty crappy housewife.  I don’t enjoy cleaning, and am not particularly good at it.  However, when I do get in the mood to clean, I will clean thoroughly… almost obsessively.  This is especially true when it comes time to move out of a house.  My Dyson got a great workout on packing day, especially in the bedroom, where four years of dust had accumulated under the bed.  Maybe Santa will bring me a super slim robot vacuum this year, strictly for vacuuming under the bed.

Freshly mopped.

The house in Unterjettingen has the distinction of being the home Bill and I have lived in for the longest as a married couple.  When you stay in one house for four years and don’t vacuum under the bed, things get pretty gross.  Fortunately, I didn’t think to take pictures.  I filled the Dyson’s canister at least twice cleaning up the dust bunnies.  It was weirdly satisfying.  I knew it was really dusty under there, but unless I have an extra set of muscles to help with the mattress and box springs, vacuuming under the bed isn’t a job I can easily do.

I also cleaned the dust out of the radiators, as much as I could, anyway.  As I ran the microfiber duster through the narrow slats of the old fashioned radiators, I promised myself our next house would have easier to clean heating elements.  Despite the duster and vacuum cleaner’s efforts, I wasn’t able to make the radiators pristine.  Oh well.

At one point, I went outside to put some stuff in my car and ran into the neighbor across the street.  He was curious about what we were up to.  When I told him we were moving to Wiesbaden, he smiled really big.  He doesn’t speak much English and I know he covets the parking space in front of the house, so maybe he was happy to see us go.  Actually, although he seemed to worry about our dogs when we first moved in, he later became somewhat friendly.  He even brought us some fruit from one of his trees.  But I do know he likes to park in front of our former house, so maybe that was why he was smiling.

The packers were finished by 4:00pm.  I suppose I can thank Bill’s first company for that, since we were only allotted enough money to bring 5000 pounds of stuff with us when we moved back to Germany in 2014.  I have to admit, less stuff makes for a shorter packing day.  Truth be told, I don’t even miss a lot of the stuff we left in storage.  Moving right before Christmas has also put a damper on my Christmas shopping this year.  I have no desire to wrap or unwrap more stuff… or find places to put it.

As we emptied the top floor of our former house, I cleaned the rooms, vanquishing dust bunnies and cobwebs and steam mopping vinyl floors until they shone.  In the back of my head, I knew my efforts would probably be in vain, but I wanted to try anyway.  Originally, we were going to hire professional cleaners, but Bill was never able to arrange it.  So, just like for every other move, it was the two of us trying to make really old carpet, laminate flooring, and linoleum look presentable.  As I removed the portable cabinet from under the bathroom sink, I discovered the pipe had sprung a leak at some point.  I have no idea how long that went on, since it was covered by the cabinet, which was there when we moved in (we bought it from the previous tenants).  It wasn’t a serious leak, but it was definitely noticeable.

After we were finished on Monday, I was ready to go to straight to bed.  My visions of one last meal in one of our favorite Stuttgart area food towns were dashed.  We didn’t even eat at the hotel, which offers good traditional German food.  I wanted something less heavy.  Instead, Bill got takeout from La Meo, a nearby Italian eatery.

The room at Hotel Nagold was typically German, but spotlessly clean and comfortable.  We had the misfortune of having booked a room next to where they were setting up the Christmas market.  Workers were erecting an ice skating rink, which came with the sounds of power tools and super loud dance music.  I will admit that the noise made me decidedly crotchety, but at least they were finished by 9:30pm.

If you stay at the Hotel Adler in Nagold, you have to use your new fangled key for electricity.  It’s not even one of those rooms where any card will keep the lights on.  You have to use their key.  They only gave us one key, so I sat in the dark while Bill got takeout.

Typical German room.  Comfortable for one night.

Our room had a balcony with shutters, which appeared to be broken.  Had they been fully functional, the shutters would have been good for shutting out noise and light.

The bathroom was sparkling clean, but check out the placement of the makeup mirror.  It was too high for little 5’2″ me.

 

We spent 120 euros for our night at the Hotel Adler.  Breakfast and parking were included.  The breakfast was typical German continental, but it was served in a very quaint little breakfast room by a pleasant lady.  She got our long Tuesday off to a good start.

One thing I learned during this move is that Dawn dish detergent and hydrogen peroxide are excellent cleaning tools.  Mix the Dawn with hydrogen peroxide and you get a great carpet cleaner and soap scum remover.  Dawn is also great mixed with white vinegar.  How I lived 46 years and didn’t know this, I don’t know… but remember, I admit to being a sucky housewife… in all the wrong ways.

The packers packed the American hydrogen peroxide before I had the chance to use it for one last batch of homemade oxycleaner.  Bill had to go to an Apoteke to get 3% German hydrogen peroxide, which was surprisingly expensive and came in a glass bottle.  I think he paid about six euros for this.  On post, you can get it for less than a dollar.  When you pour hydrogen peroxide out of the dark bottle, you have to use it right away.  It loses its potency when exposed to light.

Seriously, though… Dawn and hydrogen peroxide is great for getting old stains out of carpet.  While the carpets were still old, worn, and basically dirty looking from many years of use, they looked much better after I cleaned them with this concoction.  I’m usually skeptical about homemade detergents, but I will admit to being a believer in the magic of Dawn dish detergent.

City Imbiss Döner Kebab and shopping at Nagold’s Mix-Markt…

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It’s a cloudy Saturday here in Unterjettingen, so we decided to take a brief trip to Nagold for lunch, then drop by Nagold’s Mix-Markt.  If you are a regular reader of this blog, you might remember that Bill and I discovered this specialty European grocery store chain several weeks ago, when we visited the one in Böblingen.  Mix-Markt carries products from the former Soviet Union and many eastern European countries.  Today, we decided to check out Nagold’s Mix-Markt outlet.  But first, we decided to have lunch.

City Imbiss in Nagold… mmmmm!

Several of the places we usually love to visit are currently closed until next month, so we stopped by City Imbiss, a place that always smells wonderful and offers pizzas and döner kebabs.  I don’t often eat döner– that very Turkish sandwich in a pita that has taken Germany by storm.  Every once in awhile, though, I enjoy this beefy sandwich with vegetables and yogurt sauce.  Today was the first time we visited City Imbiss, though I have passed it several times and smelled the delicious aromas that come from its kitchen.  Although I was kind of in the mood for something more formal, we decided a pita sandwich was just what we needed.

At City Imbiss, if you’re not taking food to go, you can sit down at a table and a server will wait on you.  We were told this as we were staring at the big sign over the service counter.  I was a bit overwhelmed by all the choices and briefly considered having pizza, but German pizzas don’t really do it for me.  Finally, Bill ordered döners for two, with little sauce and no tomatoes for me, and no onions for him…

Lunch was ready in a flash.  It was so fast I didn’t have a chance to get a better picture of Bill.  I made a joke about City Wok, where everybody on South Park hangs out for Chinese food.

This was a great sandwich.  It had thin shavings of beef and lots of kraut, as well as a little yogurt sauce and another sauce that was a bit spicy.  We washed them down with beer.  City Imbiss only has beers in bottles and they’re all .33 cl.  They do have wine, too, as well as lots of non-alcoholic beverages, including Turkish Ayran (a yogurt drink).

I also got a portion of pommes that was huge– definitely enough to share.  We finished half of the pommes and, much to my surprise, I was able to eat that whole sandwich.  It’s not as big as it looks.  I might not have to eat for the rest of the night, though.  Total bill for this was about seventeen euros.

We probably should have gone to the Mix-Markt first.  There’s a guy there who has a Shashlik stand.  Shashlik is delicious Russian/Central Asian barbecue– namely shish kebabs.

And the weather wasn’t so bad… we might have even been able to park there today.  

 

Maybe we’ll get there before we have to move to Wiesbaden.  At this writing, we plan to move on November 28th, and Bill starts his new job on December 3rd.  I think this is going to be a very busy month.  Next week, my dogs will get their dentals and we’ll be filling up the oil tanks in the house we’re about to leave.  Then, the week after that is Veteran’s Day and our wedding anniversary.  I booked us four nights at Brenners Park Hotel in Baden-Baden.  Then, we’ll be cleaning up, packing up, and driving to our new house in Wiesbaden-Breckenheim, where hopefully, I won’t piss off anyone.

The Nagold version of Mix-Markt is much smaller than the one in Böblingen.  It’s also not quite as hectic or crowded, although the parking situation is potentially worse.

Need pickles?  Here’s a whole wall of them.

As well as a whole lot of sunflower seeds, a very popular snack in eastern European countries and the former Soviet Union.

This is an Armenian version of frozen baklava.

And napoleans, too!

They have Russian beer, which personally isn’t very impressive to my tastebuds.  I go to the Russians for vodka.

Pick your mix.

Ditto regarding Russian chocolates, but obviously someone loves it.

This is where we spent our time…  although this Mix-Markt doesn’t have a great selection of wines.  The ones in this picture are from Moldova.

They have Dracula wine, Armenian brandy, and lots of vodka from Russian and Belarus.  We did find a few Georgian wines, too.

Overall, I was a little disappointed in the Nagold Mix-Markt, although it’s good to know that it’s there.  We also found a Mix-Markt in Wiesbaden, so we’ll be able to stay stocked up with our favorite libations from the east.

I’m really going to miss Nagold.  It’s such a nice city.

Cool jack o’lanterns set outside a bar in Nagold.

 

We stopped by Nagold’s awesome Edeka to pick up some green beans for the homemade dog food Bill makes for Zane and Arran.  While we were there, I indulged my sweet tooth and bought a small bottle of Pepsi, a can of 7 Up and ice cream.  I shouldn’t have watched all those ads from the 70s and 80s on YouTube this morning.  Too much junk food!

This cool mural is near the Edeka in Nagold.  Next time we go there, I will have to get a better picture.  I hope we can find another version of Nagold in the Wiesbaden area.  I am going to miss this little town the most.  Last time we lived here, Tübingen was my favorite town.  

 

Maybe tomorrow, we’ll do something a little more exciting than shopping for wine and ice cream.

Nagold’s Fall Fest and another lunch at Osteria da Gino’s!

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Today was one of those days when I am really very thankful to live in Europe, and Germany in particular.  Most days are like that for me, but some days I’m even more grateful than others.  Today was one of those days.  It was just glorious.  I’m writing this post, not just for myself and for those who already live here, but also for those who are planning to move to the Stuttgart area or even somewhere in Europe.  I hope it will excite a few readers, especially those who have never lived in Europe.

It started with an enchanting sunrise…  One thing I will miss about where we live.  I hope our next house has such a view.

A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about the Mix-Markt chain, which is a European grocery store that specializes in goods from countries in the former Eastern Bloc and Soviet Union.  We visited the one in Böblingen, mainly because I figured that location was most convenient for a lot of my local readers.  Today, we tried to visit the one in Nagold, but unfortunately, the parking lot behind the store was absolutely jammed, as was our usual parking lot that is close to the store.  We ended up parking on the other side of town, which would have made hauling a large booty of groceries an exercise in difficulty.  So, instead of visiting the Mix-Markt and picking up some more eastern European wines, we decided to check out Nagold’s Fall Fest which is happening today and tomorrow.  Tomorrow is a shopping day in Nagold, so not only will this fest be going on with lots of food and music, there will also be shopping.

Lots of pretty fashions were on sale.

Damn.  I knew I forgot something.  Should have gotten some quarkinis for tomorrow!  They smelled heavenly!

Alsatian pizza anyone?

Fun for kids.  I would have liked this when I was a youngster.  Looks like it’s akin to bungie jumping.

Before we went shopping, we stopped by another one of our favorite local restaurants, Osteria da Gino, and had a sumptuous lunch.  Gino was there today, just as jovial and hilarious as always.  He shook Bill’s hand and delivered his trademark warm and friendly service.

We started with a lovely Primitivo, chosen by Gino’s second banana… who also happens to speak English.  That’s handy, because Gino isn’t an English speaker, but he still manages to be very entertaining.

 

We split this absolutely heavenly Vitello Tonnato– veal with tuna-caper sauce.  I usually try to stay away from veal, but I made a rare exception today.  This is truly delicious.  It sounds like it wouldn’t be, but it is…  

A pause before the pasta arrived.

We both had homemade pasta and tomato sauce with meatballs and Parmesan cheese.  I saved half of mine for later, because I wanted dessert…

Yet another piece of Gino’s wonderful tiramisu, which we shared.

 

I know I gush a lot about the restaurants in Nagold, but they truly are delightful.  I’m going to miss this town for all it offers.  I hope we find a similarly lovely town near Wiesbaden.  Total for lunch, which lasted about two hours, was just under 90 euros.

After we ate, we visited the bustling market.  I took some photos.  As you can see, the produce was well loved by other shoppers.

Chestnuts are a big hit.  There are several trees near where I live and I often see people picking up the ones that are on the ground.

I was attracted to this beautiful display of heirloom tomatoes.  I love all the colors.

Bill laughs as I swoon to the musical stylings of an accordion player…

He was really helping the mood.

At this point, I noticed a woman selling chocolate.  She spoke Spanish, German, and English.  It turned out she’s from Ecuador and lives in Calw and she operates her own chocolatier that uses less sugar.  We ended up talking to her for a few minutes and bought some of her truffles and chocolate shavings.  I found myself getting a little sad, realizing that we’re going to be leaving this town and the area around it.  It’s really been a pleasure to live out here in BFE.

After we bought the chocolate, I spotted a “Nette Toilette” sign.  I have written about this program before.  It basically allows people to use the restrooms in public facilities, free of charge.  Gino’s is a designated Nette Toilette, as is the municipal building I found on the way back to the car.  If you spot a red sign that says “Nette Toilette”, it means the business is getting money from the city to allow people to use its restrooms.  That’s pretty handy to know.  It definitely came in handy today.

Next, we stopped at a stand where a man was very animatedly telling a couple about his olive oil.  He was also selling wine, so we stopped in…  I ended up tasting two wines.  He gave me a piece of very strong cheese to try with the wine, which I passed to Bill, who is much more of a cheese person than I am.  I told the guy that Bill eats cheese and I drink.  All of the English speakers cracked up.  Then the guy gave me ham and sausage to try with the wine.  I don’t think I’ll need dinner tonight.

German gin.  We didn’t buy any… but I was tempted.

 

A moose passed while the guy was telling us about his 1000 year old olive tree in Italy.  It just occurs to me that the women who are passing look a little pissed…  Wonder if they were giving me the stink eye.

Bill makes a decision about the oil while I look on…

The overall mood of this fest was very “festive” and convivial.  Everyone was enjoying themselves… lots of people were eating, drinking, being friendly, and loving their community.  I will really miss Nagold.  I have come to love it.

  
If you’re looking for something to do tomorrow, I recommend visiting Nagold and checking out this festival.  Gino’s will not be open tomorrow because Sunday is his Ruhetag, but there will still be food, shopping, live music, and kids’ activities.  As for Bill and me, I think we we finally visit the Cannstatter Fest so I can get some use out of my dirndl and he can try out his new kilt.  Hopefully, no one will throw up.  Just kidding.  I intend to do more observing than drinking.

Another Nagold restaurant I’m really going to miss…

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I am truly going to miss this place.

Last night, Bill and I decided to go back to Nagold for dinner.  We had visited Nagold last weekend, hoping to eat at one of our favorite restaurants, Luz Bistro at the Alte Post, but they were hosting an event.  Last night, they were open.  In fact, when we approached the menu posted on the front door, Marina Hentsch, the proprietor came out and enthusiastically greeted us!  There was a couple sitting on the terrace having drinks, so she invited us to sit inside or out.  We opted for outside, knowing that soon it will be way too cold to eat al fresco.  This is also kind of the sweet time of year when you can enjoy the last of the good weather without battling the bugs!

Obligatory shot of Bill looking at the menu.

We really enjoyed this lovely primitivo from Italy…

Bill got a kick out of the “math problem” on the back of the bottle.

 

We may have to have this again!

 

Before we move to Wiesbaden, I wish we could dine once again at the Alte Post’s more formal restaurant, which is on the second floor.  We had the privilege of eating there twice and we dropped a whole lot of euros, but of all of the places I’ve had fine meals in Germany, I think I might have enjoyed the Alte post best.  Unfortunately, last I heard, Alte Post was suffering from the same problem a lot of local restaurants are… lack of qualified help.  I know of at least one other decent eatery that had to close because there wasn’t enough wait staff.  The upshot is that the Alte Post is now open for events only and isn’t offering the more formal multi-course menus on the weekends.

Fortunately, the more casual Luz Bistro is still very nice.  There’s a server who speaks English and has been working there for as long as we’ve been patrons.  She recognized us last night and delivered great service with an excellent attitude, even though everyone else decided to eat inside.  It was a pleasant evening, at least until the sun dropped and it started to get chilly.

I went with braised beef and spatzle.  The beef was topped with sauteed onions and the spatzle was very fresh and delicious.  I don’t usually like spatzle a lot, but I really liked the Luz Bistro’s version, with its creamy, cheesy sauce.  It really complemented the tender beef, served with a very savory gravy.

Bill had the “cordon bleu”, with was a breaded pork filet stuffed with feta cheese and ham and served with t’zatzki and loads of pommes.  This was also a nice choice, although I try to avoid schnitzel if I can.  It’s not that I don’t like it– it’s more that it’s easy to get it when I don’t want to be adventurous.

We decided to have dessert.  I had to Google “Affogato”, which is the Italian word for drowned.  It consists of a scoop of vanilla ice cream “drowned” in hot espresso.

We got to watch a bunch of local kids playing in the square while we enjoyed the fall evening.  

I love Nagold so much.  It’s such a nice little town.

Our waitress lit candles for us.

Bill had the Affogato, which was just the right size.

I went with the parfait.  It was light and creamy, with bits of rich chocolate ganache and meringues.  It was a nice way to end the evening.  I hope we can squeeze in one more visit before we move.

 

Total bill for last night’s dinner was about 98 euros.  We really enjoyed ourselves, as usual, and I will probably pine for Luz Bistro when we can no longer access it so easily.  Ah well… I’m sure we’ll find good places near the Rhein, too.

Friday night at Waldhorn in Nagold…

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The Waldhorn… seems to be quite the legendary restaurant in Nagold!

 

Although Bill and I have been living near Nagold for just over four years now, last night was our first time visiting Waldhorn, an Italian restaurant in Nagold.  It wasn’t originally our plan to go to Waldhorn.  We went there because the restaurant we were hoping to go to was closed for an event.  We ultimately decided to eat at Waldhorn because it’s one of a few well known restaurants in Nagold we haven’t tried yet and, pretty soon, we will be leaving the area.  I had wanted to try Waldhorn a couple of months ago, but they happened to be closed for vacation.  After last night’s experience, I’m kind of sorry we didn’t visit there sooner.

When we got to the restaurant at about 7:00pm, things were in full swing.  The place was bustling with people.  Most of the tables were filled with couples and families, all talking loudly.  It’s definitely not the kind of place you’d go to for a quiet evening.  However, I could easily see that Waldhorn is a popular place with the local crowd.  Our waiter was very friendly and spoke English as he led us to the lone available two-top in the middle of the dining room.

Obligatory shot of Bill reading the menu.  Maybe when we move, I’ll come up with a new running joke as my signature.

 

We ordered a half liter of Barbera wine, which came in a carafe.  We also had our usual San Pellegrino.  This restaurant doesn’t offer wines by the bottle.  Indeed, it appears to be kind of a casual place that offers good food at reasonable prices.

The Barbera was very nice, especially after it opened up a bit.

 

Waldhorn offers the usual pizzas and pastas, as well as fish and meat dishes.  I saw that they had quite a few veal selections, as well as some of the better known Italian favorites like tuna carpaccio and Saltimbocca alla Romana.  They also had a couple of pasta dishes with mussels.  I had a hard time choosing, but finally just went with an entrecote, since I wasn’t in the mood to be adventurous.  Bill decided to have Spiedino al pepe, which was basically pork and beef served on a stick with pepper sauce.

They brought out a lovely bruschetta for us.  I usually don’t get too excited about bruschetta, but the tomato topping on this was a little spicy in an appealing way.  Also, the bread was very fresh and tasted like homemade pizza dough.  It was a nice change.

My steak came with an enormous and beautifully presented salad, of which I could only eat half.  It had a light balsamic vinaigrette on it.

Since I was having a salad, Bill had one, too.  His dish didn’t come with salad, so this was extra.  Instead of the balsamic vinaigrette, he had a creamy yogurt based dressing.  He said he preferred my dressing to his, although he did enjoy the whole thing.

Bill’s dish, complete with decorative rose garnish.  It came with a side of cooked vegetables, including broccoli, carrots, and potatoes.  I neglected to take a picture.

And my steak… this was 250 grams and cooked medium rare.  I had asked for it to be cooked to medium, but I don’t mind medium rare.  It came with krauterbutter.  To be honest, I’ve had better steaks, although this one was alright.  If we manage to go back to Waldhorn before we move, I’ll have to be brave and try something less pedestrian.  I noticed a lot of people were enjoying the pizzas.

I was kind of wanting chocolate last night, but ended up finishing with prosecco.  Bill had an espresso.  Our waiter was very charming and offered us a house shot of grappa.

Cheers!

 

Overall, we had a nice time at Waldhorn.  It’s obviously a local favorite and I can see why people like it.  It’s a good hangout for family and friends.  Our bill came to about 75 euros, which I think was pretty reasonable for what we had.  I’d go back.

Nagold is a town I’m really going to miss.  Not only is it super cute and charming, it also has a lot of fun events and several really good restaurants.  I hope we are just as lucky and find such a local gem of a town up near Wiesbaden.  If anyone reading this review is looking forward to moving to Stuttgart, I highly recommend looking for housing in the Nagold area, even though it’s kind of far from the military installations. It’s been a real treat to live so close to Nagold for the past four years.

Nagold triple threat! Grill Off, Dog Swimming, and a Street Food Fiesta!

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It’s no secret that Nagold is probably my favorite of all the cute towns in the Stuttgart area.  There are a lot of reasons why I love it.  For one thing, it’s super close to where I live.  For another, there are many awesome restaurants.  It’s a very pretty little town with a river, a great Badepark, and lots of shopping.  There’s even a nice hike to some well preserved ruins that give you a great view of the whole area, right on the edge of the Black Forest.

It’s not lost on me that when Bill and I move in the next couple of months, I’m going to really miss Nagold.  It’s an awesome town.  If we ever have the good fortune to move back to this area, I will be looking for another house near Nagold.  I love that town!

Today was a great day to be in Nagold, since there were three events going on.  There was a grill off, involving several eateries vying for the best barbecue, a Street Food Fiesta, and the pool complex was allowing dogs to swim on the last day of the season.  Bill and I visited all three events.  Below are some photos from the day, with some light commentary.  To my knowledge, these are annual events.  I know they do the dog swim every year at the end of the pool season.

This was a good bet today!

 

Not too busy yet!

This man is serious about his meat!

Setting up for judging.

 

After a quick weizen, we went into an awesome warehouse turned after work bar.  It’s called Teufelwerk and they host dancing, after work parties, movie nights, and concerts.  I had seen it before, but today was the first time we ever ventured inside.  Let me just say, I’m a little sad we have to leave now…

The inside of Teufelwerk.  We went in for a cupcake and potty break…

They have a little outdoor area overlooking the river, complete with repurposed toilets.

You could sit here and watch the world go by…

Or watch whatever is on the stage.

Or have beer and cupcakes.

They were getting close to starting the judging for the grill off…

The scene was set for good beef… so we decided to watch some dogs swimming.

 

Nagold has a really nice pool complex.  Today is the last day of the summer season, so people were allowed to bring their dogs for a swim.  We didn’t bring Zane and Arran because neither of them particularly enjoy swimming.  But we did pay a euro each to go in and watch the dogs who did attend.

This dog didn’t want to get in the water, but did want that ball.  S/he was trying to get the ball to float closer… and getting checked out by another pooch.

Plenty of dogs were having a blast!  It was a great place for action shots!

 

I was kind of tempted to jump in myself!

We passed by the grill off on our way to the Street Food Fiesta, which, to be honest, was kind of disappointing.  We should have just stayed at the grill off and eaten beef.

This was kind of a small affair.  The music was pretty horrible, too.

Bill had a “pulled beef” burger from this stand…

I was a little tempted by these fried dough treats, but then I realized they were a recipe for heartburn.

As I was sitting here eating meat on a stick, some really awful racist music came on.  They were playing dance and rap music and they played one song that was full of really filthy racist language.  I usually have a pretty high tolerance for that stuff, but my ears were burning.  

So I ate this and drank a beer.  Then we got the hell out of there.  I had to cleanse my brain by listening to Ronnie Milsap.

Still, they had some interesting food selections. I’ve seen better street food fiestas, though. Maybe we’ll have better luck at the next one in Tübingen in a couple of weeks.

 

My favorite part of the day was the dog swim.  I wish I had brought my dogs and my bathing suit.  Maybe they wouldn’t have gotten in the water, but I would have.  It was a great day for it.  And it was fun watching all the dogs playing.  If we were going to be here longer, I think we’d definitely check out Teufelwerk, although maybe we’re too old for it.

I’m sure Nagold isn’t the only town basking in the last days of summer.  If you’re new to the area, I encourage you to seek out events in your town.  There’s always something going on in Germany.  Dive in and enjoy the culture!  Create some memories!  As for me, I’m making a few more before we move to a new German town and make new memories on the Rhein.

Big news on a little move… old favorite restaurants for old time’s sake…

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Our very first lunch at Osteria da Gino in Nagold…  and another visit to see “The Mad Scientist”.

It’s been a big week here in Unterjettingen.  The biggest thing that has happened is that my husband was unofficially offered a new position in Wiesbaden.  That means that unless something really crazy happens, we will be packing up and moving about 100 miles north in a couple of months.

I have mixed feelings about the move.  First off, I HATE moving with a fiery passion.  We’ve done it many times over our sixteen years of marriage and, now that Bill is retired, it’s been nice to stay in one place for awhile.  As of this month, we’ve lived in our current house for four years, and the Stuttgart area for a total of six years.  That is the longest we have ever lived in one place.  I like the area where we live.  It’s far from the drama of the city and being close to the military posts, yet close to a lot of great places in the Black Forest.  We’re also near several really cute towns.  Nagold happens to be my favorite of all of them and it’s the closest to Unterjettingen.

On the other hand, I look forward to new experiences, new scenery, and a newer toilet that doesn’t take multiple flushes to empty.  I look forward to a much larger kitchen with a real refrigerator instead of a dorm sized one.  I can’t wait for my husband not to have to take marathon flights to Africa for business trips.  There’s even the attractive prospect of my getting to join him on some of his journeys.

Most of all, I am grateful that Bill is going to remain employed in a country I’ve come to love.  I have a feeling we will enjoy the Wiesbaden area as much as we’ve loved having lived in Stuttgart for two stints.  I also think there’s a good possibility that we’ll come back to Stuttgart, mainly because of what Bill does.  It could be as soon as two years from now.  On the other hand, there’s no telling what might happen in two years.

Anyway… since we know we’re probably going to be out of here by December, we decided to visit a couple of our favorite restaurants.  Hopefully, we haven’t visited them for the last time, but I did want to make sure we got at least one more visit in with each.  Both Agais in Entringen and Osteria da Gino in Nagold are special haunts for us, mainly because we’ve always managed to have a great time there.  The proprietors of both restaurants are excellent hosts and have given us a lot of great memories.  I thought today, I’d write up our latest experiences at both places, even though I’ve written about them several times already.  Here goes…

Agais on a Friday night

Agais in Entringen has the distinction of being the one restaurant still in business where Bill and I used to dine frequently during our first tour.  From 2007-09, we lived in a little town called Pfäffingen, which is in Ammerbuch.  Two kilometers from our old town is a little hamlet called Entringen.  We used to pass through Entringen to get to and from A81.  On the main drag is a Greek restaurant called Agais.

When we lived in Germany the first time, we used to eat at Agais all the time.  The owner is a very friendly Greek man who worked in Canada for many years as an engineer.  When we were here the first time, he spoke perfect English.  I think while we were gone, he must have had a stroke, because his ability to speak English diminished significantly.  Nevertheless, when we visited him again in 2014 after having been gone for five years, he still remembered us.  His English has come back somewhat over the past few years.

Last night, we decided to pay him a visit, mainly because neither of us felt like cooking.  Agais is now probably about a twenty minute drive from where we live, but the weather was nice…

I got a kick out of this sign reminding people to use condoms.  Such a quaint old building for such an important PSA…  I see there are several versions of this, including one for gay men.

 

When we walked into the familiar eatery, the couple who own it were waiting for customers to arrive.  I think we were their first.  The wife, who is German, does the cooking and her husband, whom we’ve nicknamed “The Mad Scientist”, waits tables.  They lit up when we walked in and welcomed us.  Bill ordered our usual Nemea dry Greek red, which has the essence of sour cherries, and we had our usual sparkling water.

 

We also ordered the flatbread, which comes piping hot and drizzled with olive oil and garlic salt.  I love this, even if it’s very simple.

We both had the gyros platter, which comes with either fries or oven baked potatoes.  Bill had the baked potatoes and I had pommes.  I also had a green salad instead of the kraut salad that usually comes with this dish.

I cracked a filthy joke to make Bill smile… and our old friend smiled, too.  

 

While we were eating, a couple came in with their son and the family dog.  They asked the proprietor if it was okay to bring the dog in.  I remember from our first tour that the proprietor isn’t a big dog fan, but I think he needed the business.  So he granted permission and they brought in their very sweet border collie who behaved like a perfect lady.  After a lovely dinner, which cost 51 euros, and a couple of glasses of wine for me, we enjoyed a house shot of ouzo and were on our way.  I hope we can stop in again before we move.  Last time we were here, we didn’t get to say goodbye when the time came.

Lunch at Osteria da Gino for the first (and possibly the last) time…

 

This morning, we were rewarded with wonderful late summer weather.  Although Nagold is having a Street Food Fiesta right now, we decided to have lunch at Osteria da Gino.  We have eaten there several times, but until today, we have always gone for dinner.  Osteria da Gino is kind of a special place for us.  Gino is kind of an Italian version of The Mad Scientist, with more upscale food.  Also, Gino doesn’t speak English and neither does his adorable wife, who waits tables.  The wife helped us today when we showed up at around noon, sans reservations for once.  We had a fantastic meal.

Goofy Bill as we wait for white wine.  We just told them dry white and that’s what they brought us…  good stuff.

Antipasti!  Grilled vegetables, orange and fennel salad, prosciutto with cheese, bread, and octopus…  You’d think this would be enough…

But we also decided on the pasta dish, too.  I had spaghetti with clams.  These were very fresh and lightly seasoned with cilantro, red pepper, and onions.  As the waitress put it down, she said, “Hier, keine Käse!”  (No cheese here!)  I guess it’s not kosher to use Parmesan cheese on your clams!  I saw another couple enjoying mussels.  Gino does have a menu, but we have never once used it.  We just take what they recommend.  

Bill had fettuccini with Steinpilze and a fresh tomato sauce.  I hate mushrooms, so I didn’t try his, but he said the pasta tasted homemade.

When we come for dinner, we often have a main course, which is usually either fish or meat.  Since the pasta and antipasti filled us up, we decided to take a brief pause and then have dessert.

Which today, was delicious tiramisu and cups of espresso…

 

I’d say we spent about two hours enjoying the food and each other’s company, as well as the other diners who love Gino’s brand of hospitality.  This is one place where your four legged friends are also welcome.  A well behaved Golden Retriever was lying under a nearby table with a bowl of water.  I didn’t see Gino today, but I know he loves dogs.  He also likes children, although I wouldn’t necessarily call his restaurant “kid friendly”, per se.  Kids are definitely welcome there, but in the cold months, everybody eats in the tiny dining room and sometimes you have to share a table.  If you have young ones, it might be best to go when the weather is good so you can have more room outside.  Total cost for today’s meal was about 95 euros, which isn’t cheap, but I’ve never once been disappointed at Osteria da Gino.  I will truly miss it when we go.  A bonus is that you can buy a bottle of wine to take home with you if you want to.

After lunch, we took a walk around Nagold, which is a really lovely little town.  It’s been such a pleasure living so close to it for the past four years.  I will miss it.

 

Osteria da Gino is not open on Sundays, so if this review has tempted you, make plans to visit on a different day.  If you’re coming at dinner time, you may want to make reservations.

Tomorrow, Nagold’s  Street Food Fiesta continues, which we will probably attend.  There will also be a Grill Off, where you can enjoy steaks by self proclaimed grillmeisters.  And… if you have a dog who loves to swim, you may wish to bring them to Nagold for the last day the pool will be open.  They are going to let dogs swim tomorrow.  There’s also the river, where dogs are always allowed to swim.

I don’t look forward to the painful process of moving, but I do think my blog will get more love, since I will be exploring a brand new area (to me) right in the middle of wine country!  If I have to move, it’s not a bad thing to move from the Black Forest to the Rhein River!  Last time we moved from Germany, it was to Atlanta, which started off a string of moves to three states before Bill retired.  At least this time, we can drive to where we’re going and we can always come back to visit our old stomping grounds down here…

And again, I think we could be be back at some point.  We’ll see…

Lunch at Restaurant Burg in Nagold…

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Once again, we thought about visiting the Freibad in Nagold.  Once again, we got a look at the crowds and decided against it.  That meant we needed to find a place for lunch.  We were going to try a place we’d never been before, but were told there was no food today.  So we kept walking and wound up at Restaurant Burg, a lovely family restaurant in Nagold’s center where we’d eaten once before a couple of years ago.

On the way into town… sleepy ducks!

 

We were lured into their garten, which was advertised as open for lunch.  It was very inviting, with lots of plants and plenty of umbrellas for shade.  It was also well attended today, with plenty of people enjoying hearty local fare.

One of the reasons I like Nagold… has a lot of what I like about Tuebingen without the crowds.

We took one of the few tables that wasn’t reserved.  Bill ordered us a dry white wine and our usual bottle of Spruedel.

I had delicious dorade filets on greens– beautifully prepared Swiss chard, broccoli, and spinach, along with the usual salted, boiled potatoes.  Bill was very excited about the greens.  I was happy to let him share them, because although they were perfectly cooked, there was too much for me!  The fish was also delicious– very fresh and lightly fried.

Bill had homemade raviolis stuffed with spinach and ricotta and dressed with Parmesan cheese, basil and pinenuts.

 

We really should eat at Restaurant Burg more often.  They lady who runs it is so nice and the food is outstanding.  We also really like the inside, which is very quaint, and the outdoor area with its garden feel.  It was warm today, but there was a nice breeze.  We decided to have dessert.

Bill had a red fruit parfait with vanilla ice cream and berries.

I went with a glass of Italian dessert wine and “cantuccini”, otherwise known as biscotti.  They are twice baked almond cookies that you can dip in the wine (or in coffee, if you’d rather).

 

I was impressed by how beautifully everything was presented and how most people seemed to be having a really nice time enjoying each other’s company.  It was a very pleasant scene.  The bill came to 59 euros and was well worth the cost.

The outside of Restaurant Burg.

We left just after they closed down lunch.

On the way back to the car, we got mooned by a swan who was looking for food.

Hungry bird!

 

Baby duck!

 

The pool was even more crowded when we came back, so we decided to go home and enjoy our new air conditioner, which made last night a lot nicer for sleeping.  I think that was 499 euros well spent.  Wish we’d done that weeks ago.

Keeping our cool on August 4th… and lunch at Fellini’s in Nagold

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Those of you who have been reading this blog for awhile… and there may be a few of you out there in Internetland… may remember that on July 4th, 2015, Bill and I succumbed to the German heat wave of 2015 and bought an air conditioner.  Three years and one month ago, we went down to our trusty Toom in Herrenberg and bought a portable AC.  I will confess that I do use it every summer for the few weeks when it gets oppressively hot here in Germany.

This year, we are in the midst of another heat wave.  I don’t think it’s quite as hot as it was in 2015, but the heat has been very persistent and shows no signs of breaking.  Our yard is positively scorched.  We have a little more money because I recently paid off the last of my student loans and, it’s also not lost on me that someday in the near future, I will probably be having my first hot flashes.  Plus, I’m just sick and tired of being hot and sweating all the time.  It really saps the energy and puts me in a foul mood.  Bill has air conditioning where he works, but I only had it in my one big room.  I’m tired of being hot all night and waking up uncomfortable and not rested because I’ve been roasting in bed.

This morning after breakfast, Bill asked me what I wanted to do today.  Noting that it wasn’t even 9:00am and I was already dripping sweat, I said, “Why don’t we go to the Freibad.”

Quite predictably, Bill grimaced at that idea.  He hates going to the Freibad even more than he hates our nude afternoons at the spa.  So then I said, “Or we could go buy a new air conditioner for the bedroom.”

High tech or low tech?  The Germans have you covered.  Buy a portable AC for over 400 euros or buy a little battery powered fan with a mister for about 3 euros.

Last year or the year prior, I had Bill set up the window in our bedroom with a “hot air stopper”.  It’s basically a velcro kit you put on your windows and attach a piece of fabric with a zipper running through it.  You thread the hose of a portable air conditioner through the zipper and zip it tight so that hot air is filtered out.  However, we never did get around to buying another air conditioner for the bedroom.  It wasn’t as hot for as long in 2016 or 2017, so we just never bothered.

Much to my surprise, Bill agreed.  He also agreed to the Freibad.  I suggested we go to find the AC in Nagold and then hit the pool afterward.  I figured we’d be less likely to worry about early Saturday closing times that way.

So off we went to the Bauhaus/Media Markt in Nagold.  We checked the Bauhaus first, since our first AC came from a hardware/home improvement store.  There were no ACs at the Bauhaus.  So we went downstairs to Media Markt, and there by the front door, there were several air conditioners ripe for the picking.  They had several for 479 euros and one floor model for 499 euros.  They were more powerful than the one we already have in my “big hot room”.  Bill decided to buy the lone floor model.  That took some effort…

You see, buying stuff at Media Markt is not necessarily like buying something in the United States, especially when you’re in Nagold.  Nagold is one of my favorite local towns, but I have noticed that people who speak English are markedly fewer there.  In a way, it’s refreshing, unless you need to buy eyeglasses, set up a cell phone plan, or purchase an air conditioner.  Bill was passed to several different staffers until one who spoke some English was located.  He bought the machine, which was their last of that model, paid for it, and then drove around back to pick it up.

Now… you might think this would be a quick endeavor.  It wasn’t.  The warehouse guy insisted in packing up the air conditioner perfectly in its box.  That took some time.  He had to put the cumbersome machine into the box, make sure all of the stuff that came with it was packed perfectly, and the whole thing was taped to perfection.  I wasn’t too upset about that focus on precision.  I mean, at least we didn’t have to load it into the car ourselves, like we did at the Toom.

After we bought our new air conditioner, we drove to a large parking lot in Nagold and went to lunch at Fellini’s Ristorante, a nice looking Italian place in Nagold that we hadn’t yet tried.

Bill checks out the menu.  It was pretty appealing, with a summer menu, pizzas, pastas, and a lunch menu for the work week.  We ordered off the summer menu.

Nice outdoor area.  Plenty of seating and shade, which my pale skinned, blue-eyed, blonde self likes.

 

We shared a bottle of San Pellegrino.  Bill had a glass of Barbera and I had a glass of Frascati, a white wine that comes from the town of Frascati, which is about 25 kilometers southeast of Rome.  I think it might be the only time I’ve ever had Frascati.  I liked it.  It reminded me a little of Pinot Grigio.

I had the Salmone Fresco, which I chose over several other appealing choices.  Unfortunately, the “bed of vegetables” it came with was loaded with mushrooms, which was a real turn off.  The description in the menu did not mention mushrooms, although mushrooms were mentioned for Bill’s beef carpaccio, pictured below.  Fortunately, he was a good sport and took them off my plate.  And the dish didn’t have the flavor of fungus…

Bill’s beef carpaccio was a hit.  He said it was like a steak salad.  

 

I couldn’t finish the whole dish.  The salmon portion was substantial and I was a little put off by the ‘shrooms.   Bill was proud of me, though, because I neither ran screaming from the restaurant or refused to eat it.  Truthfully, I thought it was a good dish.  Both came with a basket of fresh pizza bread, which was very nice.  Next time we go, I’ll make sure to specify no mushrooms.  I noticed other patrons getting dishes loaded with them.  I’m sure they’d rather save them for people who would appreciate them.  The waiter did seem concerned that I didn’t clean my plate.  I was genuinely full, though, and left satisfied.  I did have a nice glass of dry Rosado for “dessert”.

The facade at Fellini’s.  This restaurant seems to get mixed reviews on TripAdvisor, but is given high marks on Google and Facebook.  We’d go back.  I will just be sure to emphasize “ohne Pilze” next time.

We walked back to the pool area and I noticed it was really packed.  I decided I’d rather go home, set up the new AC, take a shower, and drink in the privacy of my own home.  We may try the Freibad tomorrow.  Maybe we’ll go early, while some people are at church.  We did go to Lidl, though, to pick up a few things.  I love going in there, because you never know what they’ll be selling…

Our Lidl in Nagold has sewing machines… and next to this was a large cardboard display with CDs ranging by everyone from Barry Manilow to Amy Winehouse.  It was truly a bizarre mixture of artists.  There were a couple of German artists, at least one Italian (Zucchero), a CD by ABBA, and one by Creedence Clearwater Revival.

 

Junk aisle!

 

At that point, Bill asked me if I wanted any sandwich meat for the week ahead.  I said sure.  Then we stumbled across the monstrosity pictured below…

This ain’t no Bisquik.  McEnnedy “American” style junk food is always a hoot.

Meatballs and pulled pork!  Oh my!

And “Funktionsshorts”… whatever the hell those are.  The sparkly garment above was actually a form fitting spandex minidress with a zipper down the back.  If you need a last minute party garment, Lidl has you covered.

No, these aren’t leftover Easter eggs.  These are pre-cooked hardboiled eggs that are supposed to be put in kids’ lunchboxes.  One of Bill’s co-workers bought some thinking they’d be raw and he could cook himself a nice omelette.  He was surprised when the eggs were already cooked through.

 

We came home with some Magnum ice cream bars, which I had to wait for due to a gaggle of excited kids out with Opa.  As we were checking out, I noticed Opa had also gifted them with Kinder Eggs.  I had to smile, since Kinder Eggs are banned in America due to a perceived choking hazard.  We won’t let American kids be threatened by hollow chocolate eggs with toys in them, but we have no problem letting them have access to guns.  The longer I live in Germany, the weirder the United States seems.

Anyway, while I was showering, Bill was good enough to set up our new AC.  It’s now primed for use tonight and much quieter than the one we bought in 2015.  I suspect I won’t be so hot in the morning.  That’s a good thing.  And maybe tomorrow, we’ll hit the pool for the one and only time this summer.

If you’re in Germany now and this is a new thing to you, just hang in there.  A month from now, it’ll be time to start thinking about jackets and heating again.

Bill’s birthday eve at Luz Bistro in Nagold…

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Today is Bill’s 54th birthday.  As far as I know, we don’t have any special plans.  We didn’t have special plans last night, either, but we decided to have dinner at Luz Bistro and Bar in Nagold.  Bill and I have eaten there quite a few times over the past few years.  In fact, I think the staff is starting to think of us as regulars.

The weather was very pleasant when we arrived at the restaurant.  Several people were enjoying the terrace.  We decided to join them.  The restaurant was recommending barbecue style steaks, which I guess is different than the American version.  Bill decided that’s what he wanted to have.  I went with a rib eye and pommes.  We paired it with a bottle of house red, which was apparently commissioned by Marina Hentsch, one of the proprietors.

Both sides of the bottle.  This was a very nice blended German wine, created by Marina Hentsch.  Ms. Hentsch came over to see if we’d ordered and I had a chance to show off my developing German skills when I said, “Sie kommt.”  Our waitress beamed because that’s probably the most German she’s ever heard me speak.

Bill looks goofy as we wait for our steaks and smell cigarette and cigar smoke.

Bill’s barbecue style steak came with a baked potato with sour cream and was topped with bacon, corn, and barbecue sauce.  It was cooked to a perfect medium temperature.  He said the sauce actually had a bit of heat to it, which he loved.

I enjoyed my rib eye, which was just the right size.  It came with a krauterbutter and a chilled garlicky butter that I wasn’t sure if it was intended for the frites or the steak.  I tried it on both.  The beef was tender and perfectly cooked.  It was very good, especially for a German steak.

 

While we were eating, a sudden rainstorm developed.  We tried to stick it out, but the rain came down harder and we were finally driven inside.  The smokers simply moved to a corner table, where they could be sheltered from the rain and still ogle the young women passing.  I do enjoy this time of year in Germany, when the weather is nice enough for people watching, even if I don’t generally enjoy the month of July for other reasons.

We grabbed the first table by the door leading outside, mainly just to finish our wine and have dessert.  The rain came down for a steady clip, although it had stopped by the time we were finished with dinner. 

 

I don’t always go for dessert, but since it was Bill’s birthday eve, we decided to splurge.  I had a Schwarzwalderbecher (Black Forest kiss), pictured below…

This was so good!  It was basically a parfait of chocolate mousse and cream flavored with kirschwasser (cherry water) liqueur.  At the bottom was a small piece of chocolate cake and in the middle was a scoop of cherry ice cream.  Although it was kind of pricey at 10,50 euros, it wasn’t too much.

Bill had panna cotta with strawberries.  It, too, was beautifully presented and tasted good.  We are never disappointed at Luz or its more upscale cousin, Alte Post.  

 

The Alte Post, which is a fantastic feature offered at Luz, is currently closed due to a lack of qualified workers.  Apparently, this is a problem across Germany.  There aren’t enough people to wait tables or do other, similar work.  It’s a shame, since the restaurant got a Michelin star in 2016.  Hopefully, the closure is temporary.  They do still offer the upstairs dining for events.

 

The total bill came to about 111 euros before the tip.  That’s more than we usually spend on dinners we didn’t plan in advance.  Good thing my student loans will finally be paid off next month!  I think today, we might head into Tuebingen for a bit.  There is a gastro fest going on this weekend that we don’t want to miss.