Rhein, Sundays

Sky sailing over vineyards on the Seilbahn…

We had great weather over the weekend, so I told Bill that, in no uncertain terms, I wanted to venture out and do something fun and unusual. Originally, I had given thought to visiting the Kubacher Kristallhöhle (Crystal Cave), here in Hessen. It’s about an hour’s drive from our home in Breckenheim. I love visiting caves, even though they can be hard work to explore. Touring the Kubacher Kristallhöhle is potentially a strenuous activity, as it requires going up and down a lot of stairs.

I don’t know if it’s as hard as the Laichinger Tiefenhöhle, a cave near Stuttgart that we visited in 2017, but I do know I’m six years older now, and not as fit. ;). The Laichinger Tiefenhöhle legitimately kicked my ass. I got sick with a cold after our visit and spent the week in bed. Since Bill has to go away this week, I thought it might be better to do something potentially less taxing. Plus, again, we had beautiful weather. That’s when I decided we needed to visit the beautiful vintner town of Rüdesheim am Rhein.

We last visited Rüdesheim in early April 2019. I remember it was a chilly day, and there weren’t a lot of tourists there, although it was clearly a very touristy place. I wish I had read my earlier blog post about this town before we went there yesterday. I see that we, once again, missed seeing the torture museum. 😉 But Google tells me it’s closed now, anyway. Oh well. Interestingly enough, I see there’s a very primitive looking Web site for the museum that still lists prices in Deutsch Marks!

We arrived in Rüdesheim at about 1:00 PM or so, just in time for lunch. When Bill headed for the Seilbahn, the reason we visited, I said I thought it might be a good idea to eat first. Although I felt pretty sure there would be food on the hillside where the “skyride” ends, I figured there would be less choice. And I know from too many prior experiences that I need to eat before I try to do anything ambitious. 😀 I saw an inviting looking menu at the Wirtshaus Drosselmüller, a no frills place on the main drag.

We walked into the restaurant and had a seat on the rear balcony. A waitress in a Dirndl took our order– Hefeweizen and fried chicken with pommes for me, and a Helles and Bierbrat with beer sauce, potato dumplings, and cole slaw for Bill. After a leisurely lunch and potty break, we were ready to fly.

Off we went to the Seilbahn. By the time we got there, it was about 2:40. The attraction closes at 7:00 PM, which meant that we probably didn’t have enough time to do the most expensive “tour”, which at 22 euros a person includes a round trip ticket on the skyrides, a visit to the castle, and a short Rhein River cruise. You can buy your tickets at the office, or at an automated machine. The cars only take two people at a time, but you can also bring your dog. I’m not sure Noyzi would fit too well in the Seilbahn, as big as he is! Bikes cannot be transported on the Seilbahn.

Next time, we’ll have to arrive earlier to do the “Romantic” tour that features the works, because after yesterday’s ride on the Seilbahn, I am sure to want to do it again. Yes, there was a line, but it moved fast and was such a fun and relaxing ride, soaring over the grape laden vineyards. I got lots of pictures. I also got a short video, which shows the magic of the Seilbahn and the beautiful views of the Rhein Valley.

When we got to the other side of the field– the Niederwald– sure enough, there was a snack bar and restaurant. There was also an overpriced toilet… one euro! What a rip off! 😉 Nevertheless, there’s a beautiful view of the Rhein River and Rüdesheim, as well as the majestic Niederwald Monument, which was built between 1871 and 1883 to commemorate the Unification of Germany. It’s a very impressive statue that overlooks Rüdesheim and makes for a great photo opportunity.

As we were strolling around the Niederwald, we passed a little souvenir stall where they were selling signs with names on them. Bill quipped that he doubted he’d see one for one of his three grandchildren. Just then, I opened up my phone, and noticed a “Happy Labor Day” greeting from Bill’s daughter. In the email there was a photo of her, smiling and pregnant. She’d been keeping the secret all summer that her fourth child is well on the way and will arrive in February! I told Bill, who immediately got emotional. Somehow, getting that news in such a lovely place made it all the more special. The funny thing is, we’d both had a hunch that she might be expecting again.

On the way back to the Seilbahn, we stopped for a celebratory glass of Riesling…

After about an hour of walking around the Niederwald, we decided to head back. We definitely could have spent more time there, though, had we planned better and arrived earlier. The forest offers plenty of opportunities to wander, and like any good German tourist activity, it’s very well appointed with clean (but overpriced) toilets and refreshments. I’m so glad we decided to visit yesterday and finally try the Seilbahn. Below is a video I made of our day… It includes the Seilbahn and a pass through the famous Drosselgasse, where there is a Glockenspiel.

Yesterday’s excursion…

It was definitely a lot more crowded yesterday, during our visit, than it was when we last came to Rüdesheim in 2019. There were plenty of souvenir shops, restaurants, and tourist activities open. I also saw lots of hotels. I mused to Bill that it didn’t seem like the town should be able to support so many hotels, but I guess with so many cute hamlets, Vinoteks, and the Rhein River, people find plenty of stuff to do. I know cruise ships often pass through Rüdesheim. I think I saw a tour yesterday, which is kind of weird to me. It’s strange to live in an area where cruise ships frequent. Anyway, a lot of people were out and about and having a good time!

I don’t know when we’ll get to this town again, but it’s definitely worth a visit… even if the public toilets weren’t working, and even if the birds used our car as a toilet. Pro-tip, don’t park under the trees in the parking lot!

Bill has to leave for Bavaria today, so I will be hanging out alone this week. Hopefully, next weekend, we’ll have good weather and good health. I look forward to another exciting excursion in the Rheingau and its environs. It’s time we did some more exploring, before it’s too late.


Noyzi’s very first trip to a Biergarten…

Bill and I have been gradually breaking Noyzi in to going to our local wine stands, every other Friday night during the “nicer” months. Yesterday, since we got kind of a late start and were waylaid by chores, I suggested that maybe we should find a nice Biergarten to take him to. We’ve had such beautiful weather this weekend– no clouds to speak of, and temperatures around 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Bill found a Biergarten near Mainz-Kastel, which is kind of an industrial area. The Biergarten is called Biergarten am Bootshaus, and it is affiliated with a restaurant/boating club on the Rhein River. The restaurant is closed on weekends, but the Biergarten– a no frills affair by a campground– is open from noon until 10 PM. We loaded Noyzi into the Volvo and headed over there. Noyzi was delighted, because he loves going places, especially when going somewhere involves car rides.

We were surprised to find the Biergarten not very populated. Just a few people were there having Weizens and Helles beers with Bratwursts and Pommes. It wasn’t even that hard to park the car. The restaurant has a big parking lot and a clean restroom, which I really appreciated. I had started to wear shorts yesterday, but changed into pants because it seemed chilly outside. When we got to the Biergarten, I was kind of sorry I changed into pants. The weather was definitely shorts weather. Unfortunately, it’s also allergy season, and Bill and I were both suffering!

Noyzi was a bit spooked at the Biergarten, because we were sitting under a big umbrella and the wind was causing it to flap a bit. He doesn’t like loud or strange noises, and he doesn’t like sudden movements. Wind is not his friend. But after about an hour or so, he finally relaxed and laid down for a moment or two.

Meanwhile, we watched ships pass. Cargo ships were the norm, but we also caught a glimpse of the Viking Sigrun, a riverboat that gets pretty good reviews. I think Rhein cruises are probably really nice, but we already live very close to a number of the ports. And we’ve already visited Amsterdam, where a lot of those of those cruises start or end. We haven’t been to Basel, Switzerland, yet. I think it would be weird to stop in Mainz, though, because we live twenty minutes from there. We could get off the boat and take a cab home to pick up the mail, then come back to the boat later. Maybe we’ll do one someday when we’re no longer living in Wiesbaden.

After a couple of hours, we had enough beer and sun. A few more people had come to the Biergarten, including a young family who had arrived on bikes. I could tell the two boys with their parents wanted to pet Noyzi. He would have been alright with it, but they were smart and polite enough not to pet him without asking.

Bill went to return the beer glasses, but we didn’t finish the water we bought for Noyzi, so they kept the two euro Pfand (deposit) for that. As we were about to leave, one of the young guys behind the counter said that Noyzi was beautiful. Bill told him that he’s a street dog who comes from Kosovo. The guy said “Wow!” I think a lot of Germans are intrigued by Noyzi. He’s kind of unique, especially with his little nubby tail that wags all the time. I just wish people didn’t think he had it docked. He really was born with a bob tail. I have DNA proof.

I’m not sure what we’re going to do today… The weather is still beautiful, but our allergies are pretty bad. We’re both sneezing and sniffling. But maybe we’ll get out. Sigh… I really had meant for this to be more of a staycation weekend, but it’s been kind of a bust. At least Noyzi’s getting out some, though.

Below are some photos and videos from yesterday’s short outing. I made another short video for Bill’s daughter, to show her the Rhein and different types of Bratwurst. I had one made of beef, while Bill’s was made of wild boar. The pommes (fries) were very ordinary, but good. I’d go back. Lots of people were biking, walking their dogs, or just enjoying the sun.

We should try to get out today, if only because the weather is so nice. We’ll see what happens. We ended up eating the cakes we bought on Thursday for dinner– Red Wine cake and “Bee Sting” cake. Delicious!

I wouldn’t mind finding a nice short day cruise or something… The river is so inviting, especially on a day like today or yesterday.

2022 Sekt Fest on the Rhein in Eltville!

We had absolutely gorgeous weather yesterday, so Bill and I decided to take a short trip to Eltville, a charming town on the Rhein River. We decided to go there because there’s a “Sekt Fest” going on all weekend. We love Sekt, which is Germany’s version of “fizz”, and Eltville is an absolutely charming hamlet.

Yesterday’s visit was only our second time in Eltville. The first one occurred in the blissful days of June 2019, before COVID-19 shut down the world. Eltville is a SUPER cute town, and we only live twelve miles from there, but there’s another issue that kept us away from there, besides COVID-19. There was a bridge that runs through A66 (Autobahn) that, in 2021, was declared unsafe. The bridge was closed and demolished last fall, which means that going to certain towns on the Rhein requires taking detours. The bridge is now being rebuilt, and will hopefully reopen in 2023.

Because my Mini Cooper convertible is 13 years old and has less than 39,000 miles on it, we decided to drive it yesterday. We also took a short detour through the lovely, but congested, town of Biebrich, where some guy tried to parallel park in a street parking spot while we were in heavy traffic. He was trying to back up, but we weren’t able to move for him, because there were people behind us… and naturally, they all started honking. Before I knew it, I was yelling at the guy, and actually called him a dickhead! Technically, that would be “Beleidigung”, which is a personal insult and is illegal in Germany. But at least I didn’t flip him the bird, which is also illegal.

Soon enough, we had forgotten about the dickhead who almost caused a collision. Bill was parking at the local Rewe, which is also the site of a large “Parkhaus”. We walked into the old town, stopping for lunch at a place called the Eltviller Rosenstübchen. We decided to eat there, because they were offering continuous service, with no “pause” after 2pm. In retrospect, we could have just gone to the Sekt Fest and gotten food there, but we didn’t know how big the festival was going to be.

I’m glad we stopped at the Eltviller Rosenstübchen for lunch. The restaurant has kind of a cozy, old fashioned look to it. Service is very friendly; prices are reasonable; and we had a delicious lunch of smoked trout that probably came from the Rhein. I shared a laugh with one of the chefs, who was drinking a draft beer as he made lunch! I could see him from my high pub bench, which offered a view into the kitchen.

After lunch, we went down to the riverfront, where the fest was going on. Some people were selling their creations in booths, while there were also plenty of food vendors and wine stands. We stopped at a couple of wine stands and enjoy some Sekt while we watched ships pass. At one point, we even saw a Viking river cruise ship pass, although I didn’t get a chance to see which one it was. I’ve never sailed with Viking, but I’ve heard good things about their cruises. It’s interesting to live near a place where luxury cruise ships pass on a daily basis. I would probably never want to take a Rhein River cruise, since I can drive to most of the places where they stop! Maybe I would take one years from now, for old time’s sake… but then again, I probably wouldn’t. There are other places I want to see more.

At another point during our visit, we saw a couple on the river. It looked like they were just married, and we did see a fancy old car at the church that had flowers on the hood. That’s usually a dead giveaway that someone got married. But then my German friend shared a link about Eltville’s Sekt festival, and I’m wondering if maybe the couple wasn’t part of the fest. They waved at the crowd as they passed, and there was another canoe full of photographers. So were they a newly married couple, or were they part of the act? I don’t know… but I did get some interesting photos. The weather was just awesome. Wish more days were this gorgeous.

Bill got nervous about the dogs, so we headed back to Breckenheim. I wish we could have stayed longer. They were setting up for live music as we were leaving. We will definitely have to spend more time in Eltville. It really is a lovely town. And who doesn’t love drinking wine on the Rhein? Okay… maybe teetotalers wouldn’t. But we all know I’m not one of those. 😉

Weeee! We need to drive the Mini more often!


A quick dash to St. Goar…

We had beautiful weather again today, with lots of sunshine and perfect temperatures. October is usually chilly in Germany and last week, we did have cold, rainy weather. But this long Columbus Day weekend has been splendid so far, making me sad that we didn’t take a trip somewhere. Instead of going to a new place, we decided to visit a couple of the holiday spots that are near us. Yesterday, it was Worms. Today, we went to St. Goar, which is a darling little town right on the Rhein River. It’s famous for being the site of Loreley, which is a legendary steep, slate rock on the right bank of the river that lured many a sailor to his death.

I first visited Saint Goar in 1997, when I finished my Peace Corps assignment and flew from Yerevan, Armenia to Frankfurt, Germany, and took a month long train trip on a Eurailpass. My first stop on that trip was to Bacharach, which is a 650 year old cute little town on the Rhein that was recommended by travel guru Rick Steves. Steves mentioned St. Goar, and since it was pretty close to Bacharach, I took a short train ride there and wandered around a bit.

In 2014, Bill and I took a farewell to the Army trip to Germany and France. Our last stop, before we went to Ramstein Air Force Base and flew back to Texas, was in Bacharach. I had told him about the town so many times during the early years of our marriage, so we finally went there so he could see it for himself. I remember that visit turned out to be special for a couple of reasons. First of all, we ran into some Germans who were celebrating Father’s Day with their sons. They were mostly drunk, but very convivial, and one of them told Bill about how the U.S. Army helped his family escape East Germany before it became an Eastern Bloc state. And secondly, I remember telling Bill as I sipped a one liter krug of housemade beer, that I felt sure that we would be moving back to Germany. Sure enough, weeks after we returned to the States, Bill had a job offer in Stuttgart and we were on our way back to Deutschland, where we’ve been ever since.

And then, a few months ago, we went back to Bacharach. I’d been wanting to visit again for awhile, especially since we now live within an hour’s drive from it. Because of the dogs, we never end up spending enough time when we take these little trips. Now that we just have Arran, it’s a little bit easier. Hell, we should probably just take him with us. I had originally given some thought to going to Heidelberg, but the weather was so perfect and, because it’s a Sunday, going to Heidelberg where one can do some shopping, would be kind of a waste. Maybe we’ll go there tomorrow.

Since we’ve been to Bacharach a couple of times, we went to St. Goar. It took a bit longer to get there today because of road work on the Autobahn that held us up. Then, once we got on the two lane road that runs alongside the river, we were behind a BMW convertible out for a Sunday drive. I couldn’t blame the Beamer’s driver, though. We were in my Mini with the top down, soaking up what may be the last rays before perma-gloom sets in for the winter.

Naturally, St. Goar was packed with people. Parking was scarce, so Bill ended up driving up the side of the mountain that flanks the Rhein on the left bank. We pulled into the Rheinfels Romantic Hotel, which doubles as a cheesy tourist trap. We had to, really, because Bill had to pee like a racehorse. It was also getting late in the afternoon and we needed lunch. You can stay at the hotel, tour the castle, and eat lunch on a terrace that overlooks the river. They have a bistro there that doesn’t shut down, but serves very simple food, drinks, and desserts.

I would have liked to have checked out the castle, but we were a bit pressed for time. So here are some photos from our trip today…

As I mentioned in the photos, the people who were at the table next to us left an empty beer glass. There was a sudden, swift gust of wind, and the glass was blown off the table. It landed near my feet and shattered into many pieces. I couldn’t help but be reminded of the awning at our previous house, which was also blown over by a sudden gust of wind. In both incidences, the wind struck too suddenly for anyone to react and prevent breakage. No one was upset about the broken beer glass, but our ex landlady immediately called me “negligent” when her old awning broke due to a sudden wind. That just goes to show that wind is a capricious thing. Too bad I never learned to predict or control the wind.

Lunch was about 38 euros. To be honest, I wasn’t all that happy with the pasta. It was okay, but I can think of other things I’d rather eat. There wasn’t a lot of sauce on it, and what was on it wasn’t all that satisfying. But it kept me from getting hangry, and it was very nice to hang out on the terrace for awhile. St. Goar is a nice little town, and I like being able to visit the Rhein Gorge so easily. It makes me feel like I’m on vacation.

We decided to head back to Wiesbaden after we ate, since we knew Arran was wanting his dinner. The drive back was a bit more pleasant, although we hit another bottleneck in the area where the Autobahn is being repaired. I swear, there’s always a road project going on somewhere near where you live… but the good thing is that the roads are in very good shape here. I’m just happy we had a chance to visit– taking advantage of the marvelous temperatures and beautiful views. Germany is a very lovely place to live and we feel fortunate that we have the ability to visit so many interesting and pretty locations so close to where we live. And this area is different than Stuttgart is, which makes me feel even more fortunate… not everyone gets an opportunity to experience living in other countries, especially in two different parts of a foreign country. Living abroad seems to be my destiny.


Wine on the Rhein in Eltville…

When Bill and I were searching for housing, one town’s name that came up was Eltville.  Eltville is a beautiful place, right on the Rhein River.  I really wanted to find something there, or in someplace similar.  Sadly, it just didn’t pan out for us.  We only live about 19 kilometers away, as the crow flies; so today, we decided to pay a visit.  I will admit, today’s trip was a bit rushed and unplanned… we got there kind of late in the afternoon– so late, that we ran into the pause issue at lunchtime.  Still, I got a little taste of Eltville and decided we have to go back soon.

Initially, Bill was reluctant to go to Eltville, since he thought that was where Eltz Castle is.  Eltz Castle is probably a two hour drive from our town.  I do want to go there and plan to visit, but Eltville is nowhere near Eltz Castle.

To be honest, all I knew… and still know… about Eltville is that it’s on the Rhine and there’s a beautiful burg there known as the Electoral Castle.  We got some nice views of it, but didn’t tour it today.  Today was all about getting away from the house for a few hours and having a change of scenery.

Here are a few photos from today’s trip.

The first clue of how cute Eltville is…

And a nice looking cafe, although my mind was on lunch, not cakes.


Locks of love… but not nearly as many as in Cologne or Regensburg.

The Electoral Castle.

The lovely Rhine/Rhein, where many people were enjoying the nice weather today.

Another shot of the castle.  Someday, we will explore it further… perhaps on a day when we don’t sleep in, as we did today.


They have day cruises, too, although I didn’t see any running today.

Pretty rose garden.  It costs nothing to visit.

It was around this time that I was distracted by the need to pee.  Unfortunately, it was just after 2:00pm, which is when a lot of restaurants take a “pause” before dinner.  We did find a place for me to use the ladies room, but they were only offering beverages.  So we had some wine by the Rhein.

We stopped by this eatery, which offers food, but not when we were there.  I noticed they, and another local restaurant, had signs stating that their toilets aren’t public.  At this restaurant, you could pay a euro to pee if you weren’t a guest.  At the other, it read that there was a public toilet 40 meters away.  

It offered a nice chance to take pictures of the Rhein.

Sebastian’s Tower…  (in German, but Google Chrome works wonders)


I guess this is a real problem in such a pretty town.


Another sign… this one seemed to be for the city.  

After a drink on the Rhein, we ended up at the Weinpump, which we noticed on the way into town.  This restaurant takes pauses on every day except Sundays and holidays.  We were grateful they were able to take care of us today.

The back entrance to the restaurant.  We first saw the front entrance, which didn’t give away how nice the Bier/Wein garten is.


Don’t be fooled by how unassuming the front door is.  They have a great garden!

Cute mural outside.  Note the landmarks!

Bar area outside.

And the hours… very convenient for Sunday.

I liked how the reserved signs were all in English.  In fact, our waiter spoke perfect English, even if his colleagues didn’t.

I had the trout with potatoes and a salad, as well as a glass of Riesling.  I loved how they cleaned the fish.  I found just two bones in the fish– they had removed everything.  The fish was very fresh and tasty, served with perfectly cooked boiled potatoes and a green salad.

Bill had cold roast beef with green sauce and fried potatoes.  I think I might have liked his dish better than mine, although mine was certainly great.  He washed his lunch down with sparkling water.

An older couple sat near us and, it was clear, they came from money.  They were very well dressed and groomed and I noticed them staring at us/giving us a bit of the stink eye.  It might have been because we were Americans, although not obviously so.  The waiter switched to English when he heard me ask for “Forelle” (trout).  He apologized for not spotting us as Americans sooner, but Ikind of take that as a compliment.

The older couple did wish us Auf Wiedersehen when they left.  We were probably weirder than most Americans, because we aren’t as loud.  Years of living in Europe have taught us not to be so conspicuous.

One thing that did happen during out visit was that one of the toilets in the ladies room was backed up.  I didn’t have a chance to tell the waiter when I first noticed it, but I noticed several other ladies visiting and not saying anything.  So when our waiter came to collect our money– different guy, whose English wasn’t as good– I mentioned the toilet in the ladies room as Bill gave him a generous tip.  The guy thanked me and immediately went back to check on it.  Something tells me they’ve had problems with that toilet before.

Total damage for lunch was about 40 euros.  I had a second glass of wine– a nice dry red.  We will definitely have to visit Eltville again on a day when we haven’t slept in.  It’s really a delightful town, and not far at all from where we live.


A day in Bacharach…

After last week’s trip to Eppstein to see the castle, I thought maybe we might want to go to another castle this week.  But Bill had other plans.  Elton John is going to be playing a concert tonight in Wiesbaden and since we saw him in Stuttgart and have no desire to sit in Staus from Hell again, we decided to avoid the city.  Remembering a lovely day we spent in the Rhein-side hamlet of Bacharach, back in 2014, Bill decided we should visit there again.  I was game.  Bacharach has the distinction of being the very first German town I ever laid eyes on, back in 1997.  It’s an adorable place, even if there’s not a lot to it.

On the edge of town.

We didn’t really do a lot in Bacharach other than wander around, take pictures, eat lunch, and have beer at a Biergarten.  We were blessed with wonderful weather– much better than what we had when we visited in 2014.  I don’t have much to write… but I do have lots of pictures.  Feast your eyes on this cute little historic town, located about an hour away from Wiesbaden.  It’s nice to be so close!

If castles are your thing, you could do worse than visiting Bacharach or any of the other cute little towns near it, like St. Goar.  There are many castles around the area.  I caught these photos on the ways in and out of town.

Lots of pretty vineyards, too.  Bacharach’s Schloss is now a youth hostel that sits majestically on a hillside overlooking the town.

You can see the hostel in the background.  I stayed in a lot of hostels during my 1997 epic train trip through Europe, but I didn’t stay at Bacharach’s.  I think I was intimidated by the climb up the hill.  Bacharach’s hostel is in the historic Burg Stahleck Castle, which dates back to the 12th century.

When I stayed in Bacharach, I stayed at the Hans Dettmar B&B.  I was excited because the room came with a shower and a WC.  My standards have changed a lot since 1997, but so has my budget.

Our first order of business was to find something to eat.  Bacharach was busy with tourists today, most of whom were sitting outside.  We didn’t necessarily want to eat outside, although on a warmer day, it’s nice to be in the open air.  I have to balance wanting to be cool and wanting to stay out of the sun.  We ended up having lunch at a garlicky smelling place called Pizzeria Pippo (or Pippo Bistro, depending on what sign you’re reading).  Based on the decorations on the walls, I would guess it’s owned by Sicilians.
They had lasagne on the menu that looked tempting, but they weren’t offering it today.  I had spaghetti with “Lachs”– salmon and onions.  It was okay, though I have had better.
Bill went with the daily special, housemade tagliatelle with tomatoes, herbs, and cream sauce.  He seemed to enjoy his dish more than I liked mine.  

While we were sitting there, an English speaking group of 7 showed up.  They were making special requests.  Kudos to the waitress for handling it so well.  I think if we go there again, I’ll try a pizza.  They have a stone oven and the sizes looked manageable.  As it was, I managed about half of my dish, while Bill finished his.  We spent 37 euros.
After lunch, we wandered around… toured a church, strolled by the river, and wished we had more time to take a cruise.  The breeze coming off of the Rhein was lovely.
Check out those pipes!
This is different.  I probably would have kept going to church if we’d had one of these where I used to attend.
Literature lovers will enjoy this…
Another shot of the hostel/castle.
Boat schedule.  We’ll have to make a point of coming up and spending more than a couple of hours.  
The town itself is super cute.  And if you want to buy some wine, you can easily accomplish that.
I would actually love to find a little vacation apartment and come up for a long weekend with the dogs.  Bacharach is not that far from Wiesbaden, but it feels like a world away…  this is the kind of place we love to visit on weekends.  The Black Forest area is chock full of them, but we’re still trying to make discoveries up here in Rheinland.
We stopped at a Biergarten– the Kleines Brauhaus at the Rhein Theater— where we had a memorable afternoon in 2014.  We happened to visit on German Father’s Day, and there were many fathers and sons at this Biergarten, getting loaded and singing songs…  It was such a special memory for us that we decided to go back.
They had a full house.  We had to wait for someone to vacate a table under the carousel canopy.  One young lady– looked about seventeen or so– was bravely handling all of the orders.  She was remarkably chilled out. 
I had a Bacchusweizen Krug.  When it arrived, the Germans at the next table looked at me with bemusement.  Maybe it’s not very ladylike to order a liter of beer.  Maybe it’s not smart, either, since it will get warm if you don’t drink it fast enough.  Believe me, I’m up to the task.  This beer was a little bitter.  I liked Bill’s 1489 Dunkelweizen better.
In the foyer of the theater.  I took this same photo in 2014, which you can see on the post I linked at the beginning of this post.  I see they’ve added a safety vest.  
Someone started up this calliope.  Pretty cool!
I do like the Rhein Terrasse.  We didn’t make any new friends here this time, like we did in 2014, but it was still a pleasant place to kill an hour or so, before we decided to go home and feed the dogs.

We’re supposed to have similarly beautiful weather tomorrow.  Maybe we’ll visit that castle I was thinking about.  Or maybe we’ll do something else entirely.  I’m just glad we aren’t sitting in traffic.
On the way out…

Music is the international language in Rüdesheim am Rhein…

Bill and I finally had the whole weekend to do something fun.  Since we moved to Wiesbaden, I’ve been stacking up places I want to visit, and the list grows ever longer.  But Bill has had to work at least part of every weekend since the first weekend in March.  When we finally saw the sun today, we decided to go to Rüdesheim am Rhein, a town in the Rhein Valley known for its winemaking.

I had read up a little on Rüdesheim, so I knew it would be touristy.  We live about 45 minutes away, so I figured if we liked it, we could come back and do some of the touristy things.  Today, we just wanted to get a feel for the place and maybe have lunch and pick up a couple of bottles of wine.

We parked at P2, a large lot at the top of a hill (3 euros for three hours).  We walked down the hill toward the Rhein River, but then noticed that people were bearing right to an area that looked like it might be the main square.  It turned out it wasn’t really the main drag, but it did take us past a pretty church and some interesting looking shops and restaurants.

You can always count on finding a church in any German town.



And a torture museum.  We didn’t visit this place, but I will be sure to check it out the next time we come to Rüdesheim.  I am sure there will be a next time, even if it is teeming with tourists.


The wine museum is near, as well as the “skyride” that will take you up the gentle mountaintop and around the area.  We’d need at least three hours to do that right and we got a late start today…  We will have to come back in the fall or maybe later in April and try it.  I think in a few weeks, this town will be full to the gills with tourists.


Come on in!  And if you want, you can stop by the Irish pub.


I bet this is really obnoxious in the summer.


We walked around a bit, searching for an interesting restaurant.  Alas, a lot of the places were very touristy, with menus translated into half a dozen languages.  Don’t get me wrong.  The translations do make it a lot easier for tourists, but it also makes a place a little less charming, if you know what I mean.  I was a little unimpressed by Rüdesheim, at first.  We stopped at a hotel restaurant for lunch.  I chose it because they had something other than schnitzel and sausages, or pizza and pasta.

We had lunch at the Drosselhof… on the Drosselgasse.  Ordinarily, I would avoid such a place, since it’s right on the tourist row, but none of the other eateries were inviting and this place had duck on the menu.  I ended up having salmon, anyway.


A kindly waiter invited us to sit down.  Although it was almost 1:00pm, the place was empty.  Our waiter spoke English, but seemed a bit shy about it.


Look at all the languages!


We ordered glasses of Riesling and sparkling water.  Bill went with the trout and I had a salmon filet.

Bill’s trout was fried, served with parsleyed potatoes, and a really nice horseradish sauce.  I think I liked his dish better than mine.


My salmon filet, cooked medium rare with a mustard dill sauce, croquettes, and a salad…


This had a great creamy dressing and was just enough to share.

As we were eating, the Drosselhof filled up somewhat.  The inside of the restaurant is very charming, although it doesn’t get the best ratings on TripAdvisor, Facebook, or Yelp.  I could see why.  The food was fine, but not that special, and it seemed to be primed for tourists.  But for us, it fit the bill fine.

We finished up by sharing this delightful dessert– crepes filled with hot blueberry sauce and served with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream.  It was so good!  Total bill was 66 euros, but it was kind of a nice place to be.  The waiter kindly turned on the heater for us, although we didn’t really need it. And I got to watch some guy brazenly feeling his woman’s behind while they perused the menu at the Weingarten across the alley.  For once, I didn’t sneak a photo.

If you need to pee, you can use the Drosselhof’s toilet, but it will cost you 50 cents.  They don’t charge people who are guests.


You can also pick up some smokes if you need to.

This… is the source of a lot of noise!  And big crowds, too. 


Next to the Drosselhof is a wine and art bar, where they serve these delicious pastries, strawberry wine, and play music.  It appeared to be part of the hotel.  Next door to that was one of many wine shops.  Again, everything was translated into five or six languages.  We noticed many Asians there.   Rüdesheim will definitely go on my list of European towns where you’ll find many Asian tourists… not that it’s a bad thing.  I’m just making an observation.


This is your town if you like wine.  It reminded me a little of Riquewihr, France, but perhaps with less charm.


This is where you catch the skyride that will take you all around the area.  We will do this on another day.


Reasonable rates and an extensive network that can even include a ferry cruise if you like.

Chances are, they have your language, too.

Very tourist friendly.  They even say so on the sign.

All in all, I was feeling somewhat unimpressed by Rüdesheim.  We were about to find a wine shop to pick up a few bottles to take home, when we were invited to sit down and try wine by a super charming elderly couple who spoke almost no English.

We did buy some wine… I think we arranged for 18 bottles, which will come to our house in Wiesbaden…  What can I say?  This turned out to be a very magical experience… one of those bonding times one has with a host country.  I really needed it.


We went into this little hole in the wall place and the wife, who spoke no English at all, started bringing out wines for us to try.  I would not be surprised if she’d had a little herself before we dropped in.  She kept pouring wines for us to try.  Bill eventually told her not to give him any, since he was driving.  She claimed she had alcohol free wine, but after she poured it, Bill looked at the bottle and it indicated 13.5% ABV!  Good thing he was paying attention!

I was surprised that I understood a fair amount of what she said, and was even able to answer a little bit.  Bill speaks more German than I do, but sometimes I understand things faster than he does.  After we’d tried four or five wines, he got up to speak to her husband about making a purchase.

The wife apologized for not speaking English, then explained that people her age learned French.  I totally understand that.  I learned some Spanish for the same reason.  Little did I know when I was in high school that I would spend six years living in Germany and only one year in Texas, where Spanish is very handy.  The one language I am conversant in– or was at one time– is Eastern Armenian.  Few people outside of Armenia, Fresno, and Boston speak that.  But anyway, I was able to get the gist of a lot of what was said… although I did miss a few things.  And I was even brave enough to try speaking German.  The wine helped.

Then, the lady asked me what I do with my time.  I told her I write… and I also sort of hesitantly told her that I’m a singer.  And I am also a Hausfrau, although apparently not a very good one, according to our ex landlady.

By that point, a couple of pretty young women came in.  They spoke some English and were happy to translate when the lady asked me to sing a few bars for her.  So, although I was a little tipsy, I sang the first line of a very operatic German art song I learned in college.  No, I don’t speak much German, but I can sing in German… a little, anyway.  A couple of people were startled by the sound and stopped in their tracks, peering into the wine shop.  I probably could have done something more mainstream, but whenever this happens to me, I’m usually at a loss of what to do other than songs like “Summertime”, which is totally burned on the brain… I have sung “Summertime” so many times, I kind of don’t want to do it again.

Bill sealing the deal while I talked to the guy’s wife in my crappy German.

As luck would have it, this morning someone on SingSnap commented on one of my recordings of the old song, “What’ll I Do.”  The first time I heard this song was on an episode of The Golden Girls, when the late actress Bea Arthur sang it at a bar.  I liked it so much that I decided to record it.  This was the result.

I recorded this in June of 2018, but someone happened to comment on it today.  I got an email alert, which made it very convenient for sharing.  This was probably nicer than my slightly drunken operatic line in German.  The German lady’s eyes lit up and she touched her heart… then she brought me a bottle of lovely Spanish wine as a gift.  For all I know, she would have done that anyway, although I kind of doubt it. On the other hand, she was quite free with the wine tasting.

I really needed today.  Lately, I’ve been a bit down on Germany and kind of wanting to go home… if not for good, then maybe for an extended visit.  I know this happens a lot.  People who live in countries that are foreign to them can experience cultural highs, culture shock, and finally, culture fatigue.  I think I may be experiencing a bit of culture fatigue after the stress of the past nine months or so.  But today was a reminder that sometimes, you can connect with the people… and you don’t necessarily have to speak the language to do it.

When I lived in Armenia, singing was often the only way I could get my youngest students to sit down and shut up for our English lessons.  I have found that in Germany, it’s also a way to break the ice and meet people.  Meeting people adds to the pleasure of being here.

Anyway, I feel sure we’ll be back to Rüdesheim.  I’ll bet that woman will remember me, too… if not for the song, then for the fact that we ordered 18 bottles of wine.  She even gave me a big hug as we left!  Sometimes fate or God lead you just where you need to be for a second wind… and maybe a second wine.

The mighty Rhein, which we will soon be exploring a lot more.

Goodbye new friend, Rüdesheim.

Until we meet again, Rüdesheim!


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

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…