Mandatory fun at Heiliggeist…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


My Belgian Birthday! Part five

Since we were sort of in the area, Bill and I decided to visit Ghent (or Gent) on Monday.  Ghent is a bit further away from Alveringem than Bruges is, but I had heard it’s a beautiful city.  Another frequently recommended Belgian city is Antwerp, but that wasn’t convenient to us on this trip.

Bill went to town again for more croissants.  The lady who sold him the croissants asked, “English?”  Bill said yes.  So she laughed and said, “Ta ta!”  We both had a laugh over that– since it’s kind of an antiquated Britishism.  I guess it would be hard to tell where an English speaker is from if it’s not your native tongue.  Like, I would have trouble telling Schwabish from Bavarian.  It was pretty funny just the same.

We said good morning to our animal companions before we left.  The bunny came back, as did the cows and chickens.

Marianne told us that they were doing some extensive roadwork in Ghent.  That turned out to be true.  Bill was a bit white knuckled as he searched for a parking garage.  Ignoring my gasp and warning of “Look out!”, he managed to drive over a couple of… well, I don’t know what they were, but he wasn’t supposed to drive over them.  He was focused on the construction, while I was focused on the things on the road that he was supposed to drive around as opposed to over.

Once again, we were pleased by the parking garage, which was very clean and offered a relatively pleasant unisex bathroom.  This one was free and came with its own mood music.  In our case, it was a new song by Phil Collins.

The parking garage in Ghent even had its own Breathalyzer!  First time I’ve ever seen one of these.  I think it’s very progressive.

Our first stop was in a cathedral in Ghent, which turned out to be even more beautiful than the one in Bruges.  We walked through the crypt and checked out the artifacts as well as the ornate interior.  Once again, Bill was moved to tears.  Bill frequently gets overcome by beautiful art or places.  With me, it’s music.  Had a choir been singing, I probably would have been bawling like I was in Haarlem two years ago.

Our next stop was a bank.  One snag we hit on this trip was USAA erroneously thinking Bill’s debit card was compromised by fraud.  He managed to make a purchase at Johnny Rocket’s at Ramstein.  Then the card quit working.  He had to call USAA to straighten it out.  While we were Ghent, he needed to replenish his cash.  For some reason, we had a hard time finding a bank.  But while we were searching, I was able to get some nice photos.

Ghent is actually a very beautiful town, though perhaps not as quaint as Bruges is.  It was also pretty crowded, but not as obnoxiously so as Bruges was.

I think this was once the post office, but it now appears to be a mall.

I didn’t take a lot of photos in the Ghent cathedral, but I had to get one of the choir loft.  On the other side, there was identical seating.  That must be quite a choir!

American themed clothing store.  

Bill and I thought it was funny that the Marriott was offering “High Wine”… especially since it’s historically tied to a high profile Mormon family.

We stopped for lunch at a little restaurant called de Grill.  There was a lot of outdoor seating under umbrellas and they were offering an attractive special involving steaks.  Bill and I went for seafood, though.

And beer…  I had a tripel and Bill had an amber by Gentse.  Again, it was good enough that we bought some to bring back to Germany with us.

We watched people in boats passing… many of them had rainbow colored parasols.  Actually, both Bruges and Ghent appeared to be very LBGT friendly.

I had a fish brouchette, which included salmon, shrimp, and whitefish.  It was excellent!  I was especially pleased by the salmon, which was perfectly cooked.  And of course, there was a trough of fries and Bearnaise sauce.

Bill had croquettes made with shrimp and cheese.  He said it was good that I didn’t order the croquettes because the cheese was pretty strong.  He loves his strong cheeses.  

I had a Gentse Gruut Inferno for dessert.  I think it annoyed the waiter, who was clearly in a hurry to shut down. 

He closed the unused tables at 1:45pm and was happy to bring out the check for us.  Bill says lunch was just under fifty euros.

I could have spent a little more time in Ghent.  I’d like to go back sometime without the dogs and walk around for awhile.

Ubiquitous Coca-Cola!

We stopped at the store again on Monday to stock up for our drive back to Germany.  We stocked up on beer, cheese, and hair products.  After another low key evening at our rural hideaway, we were well-rested for the very long drive back to Stuttgart.

anecdotes, Germany, restaurant reviews

This weather makes me want to hibernate…

I was in the mood to go out last night, but we didn’t feel like going far.  It was so dark outside and cold.  We ended up at Taverne beim Griechen, the Greek place in a sportsplatz near where we live.  We have another Greek restaurant we could walk to, but when it’s really cold and dark outside, I can’t be bothered to walk.  Besides, we really like the food at Taverne beim Griechen.  I wanted dorade in the worst way.

We were greeted by the Greek lady who always waits on us.  She speaks no English, but our German is slowly improving.  In fact, just this week, I finished Duolingo’s German tree again.  I can still practice all the lessons, since I am far from fluent, but I’m not acquiring new lessons until they add to them.  I suppose I should just sign up for a class, but that would require me to go out and mingle.  As I said, this cold, foggy, dark weather makes me want to hibernate and be antisocial.

Anyway, we had a nice meal last night.  I had the dorade and Bill went with salmon steaks.  I have had the dorade at Taverne beim Griechen before, but I think this might have been the first time either of us ordered salmon at Taverne beim Griechen.

We had a bottle of Greek wine, along with our usual water.  

This fish was delicious!  One thing I love about living in Europe is getting to eat dorade a lot.  I’m sure it’s available in the States somewhere, but I have never eaten it there.  Here in Germany, I get it fairly often.  Taverne Beim Griechen does a good job with it!  They serve it with a garlic sauce that isn’t too potent.

Bill’s salmon steaks.  He said these were good.  The skin was pleasantly charred and the flesh was not too dry.  


Service and food, as usual, were great!  It was nice to go back after the new year.  I noticed a lot of people were enjoying a Friday night dinner there along with us.  Someone brought what looked like an adorable bichon frise with them.  I wish our dogs were well behaved enough to go into restaurants!

The weather is rather schlecht looking this morning.  Maybe later, we’ll venture out, though.  In a few days, I will be having dental implant surgery and a sinus lift, so I may not be up to any restaurant visits next weekend.