A couple of weeks ago, when we were still in Czechia, a friend of mine who lives near Ramstein Air Force Base posted about a really good Mexican restaurant near where he and his family live. Among the comments on that post was also a suggestion for Mexico Lindo, a Mexican restaurant in Mainz, which is a college town about 20 minutes from where we live (which is not near Ramstein).. I made a note of the restaurant and when Bill invited me out to lunch today, I suggested we try out the Mexican place in Mainz. I heard it had a San Antonio flair, as if maybe the owners were of Mexican descent and came from San Antonio, Texas.
We had reservations for 1:30 PM, but we really didn’t need them. The restaurant was relatively quiet, save for the Mexican music and the sound of quiet chatter from the mostly German clientele. I do know this restaurant is known among the American community, but I didn’t see evidence that we were among a lot of our countrymen today.
I started our visit off with a visit to the ladies room, which was reasonably clean, albeit in a downstairs location. After we took care of essential business, Bill and I decided on what we’d be having. I was really tempted by the fajitas, which are available in all beef (with peppers and onions), all marinated chicken, or a mix of chicken and beef, and come with rice, beans, cheese, guacamole, and the usual vegetables, but it seemed like too much food and attention.
I ended up going for the Super Taco, which was a large flour tortilla with beef chunks, gravy, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, fresh cheese, and guacamole. It was 16 euros; I finished half and brought the rest home. Bill went for the barbacoa, which was very tender beef in tortillas with spicy pico de gallo, rice, and refried beans for 16,50. I think I liked Bill’s dish better than mine, although both were good. The issue with my Super Taco was that the cheese wasn’t melted, which weirded me out. Also, the cold toppings cooled off the beef rather quickly.
Bill had a Dos Equis beer, while I had a Kristalweizen. His beer came with a lime wedge; mine came with lemon. Next time, I’ll have to try one of their Margaritas, which I hear are very good. They’d have to be pretty good to beat Bill’s! A full range of cocktails, beer, wine, and soft drinks are available.
Service was friendly and relaxed, and we had a bit of a wait before we had the chance to ask for dessert. We split an order of Fried Ice Cream, because Bill had never had it before. I hadn’t had it since the late 1980s. It was pretty good, but quite sweet and gooey. I’m glad we split it.
Overall, we enjoyed lunch very much. It was very good, especially for Mexican food in Germany. Although the Mexican scene has improved a lot in Germany since we first moved here, restaurants can be hit or miss. This one is a good one, especially for Germany. It was nice to get out of the house, even though it’s pretty gloomy outside today. The restaurant is located near a shopping mall, so parking in a garage is convenient. You may also be lucky enough to score a street spot.
Below are some pictures from today’s outing!
I think the total was about 40 euros or so for the food… We had the option of paying by card or with cash. Bill paid in cash. It was well worth the trip. I think next time, I’ll go for the Fajitas or maybe a Chimichanga. I don’t think I’ve ever had one of those. And there will definitely be a Margarita next time, too!
Sunday morning, Bill went to the bakery to get us some breakfast. He had already gone to the store the night before to get snacks, wine, and orange juice, so his bakery stop was just for croissants and coffee. We could have had the breakfast at the hotel on Sunday, but we decided not to bother with it. Hotel breakfasts are often pretty overpriced, and we had already paid for the room.
While we were eating, I discovered that we happened to be in the area at a fortuitous time… if you like visiting caves, that is. On the first Sunday of the warm months, a local caving club opens the Olgahöhle. Since it was the first Sunday of October, they opened the cave to the public (it can also be booked by special request). We decided to head to Lichtenstein-Honau, the little village where the cave is located. We happened to catch the last tour date until spring.
I have already written about our visit to this very special cave, but in the interest of continuity, I will recap a bit with this post and add some more photos. There was a group of German teenagers at the cave, notable because it’s a primary cave made of tufa, a type of stone. Unlike most other caves, this particular cave isn’t formed from limestone. It’s also described as a “very young” cave, as it formed post Ice Age.
As caves go, this one was pretty easy to visit. There was just one flight of stairs to go up and down. The tour was done in German, but we managed to understand a little of what was said. Plus, the club had information in English for us, which was handy. A few of these photos are in the earlier post about this cave, but I figure I might as well share them again. Check out the cauliflower rock!
While we were waiting for our turn to tour the cave, I looked up and noticed the dramatic sight of Lichtenstein Castle, which is a gorgeous Schloss on a mountain top. Bill and I tried to visit the castle after our visit to the cave, but there was no parking anywhere. It was okay, though, since we’d been there before and I already had many beautiful pictures of the grounds. I was glad to be able to take photos from another vantage point, down in a village overlooked by the castle.
It also turned out to be lucky that we missed the castle, because if we’d gone there, we would have missed watching sheep cross the road to another pasture, as well as meeting a couple from Augsburg. We ate lunch at Nebelhöhle Cave, which we chose not to tour, since we’ve been there before. Instead, we just hung out and people watched, enjoying the fantastic weather.
I got some very pretty photos of the trees that were just about to turn into a spectacular color show… It was just a great day to be in that part of Germany!
When we got back to the hotel, we decided to change into cooler clothes. We were dressed for a chilly cave, which it actually wasn’t on October 1. Since it was Sunday and we’d had a rather active day, we decided to stay in and watch goofy German game shows while we ate pizza from the local joint. I suspect that some Germans have learned some English from watching South Park. This one show we watched involved the host holding up a fake piece of shit. One of the contestants called it a “hankey”, as in Mr. Hankey, the Christmas poo. But a “hankey” or a “hanky” is actually a handkerchief, not a piece of shit. On the other hand, maybe it was an actual Mr. Hankey doll. Who knows? If that’s the case, then the contestant wasn’t wrong to call it that.
Eh well… yet another one of the thoughts that kept me out of the really good schools…
Hello travel blog fans! Bill and I arrived in beautiful Tübingen yesterday. I wrote a little bit about yesterday’s adventures in my main blog. There isn’t much to the post, though, other than a photo that will get shared here when I write up the whole story of this trip. I wanted to write about today right now, so I don’t forget anything. We’ve had an extraordinary day, and I don’t want to forget any details, so I’m going to write a fairly detailed post today.
We were trying to figure out how we wanted to spend our Sunday, since we had no plans for today. We thought about going to the Mineraltherme, which is one of our favorite places around here. But Bill was kind of lukewarm on the idea. Then I remembered last week, I looked up caves near this area for my post about the Kubach Crystal Cave in Hessen. I recalled that there was one cave we hadn’t been to called the Olgahöhle. Even though last week’s excursion was physically challenging for me, I was easily convinced that this was a cave we should see.
The Olgahöhle is kind of a special cave, because it is the longest tufastein cave in Germany, and the first German show cave to get electric lighting. Prior to the Olga Cave’s receiving electric lighting, there was only one other cave in the entire world that had electric lighting, the Kraushöhle in Austria. This cave was named after Queen Olga von Württemberg, and was found by Johann Ziegler during quarrying of tufa in 1874. Ten years later, it was turned into a show cave, which it remains today, albeit with limited showings.
I’ve mentioned a lot that I have a special bond with Armenia. Well, in Armenia, many buildings are made of tufa, which is the very same type of stone that makes up the Olga Cave. Unlike many caves near it, the Olga Cave is not made of limestone. It’s also a primary cave, making it rare.
The Olga Cave is staffed by clubs, and it’s only possible to visit with a guide. Consequently, it has very limited opening hours. Usually, it can be visited on the first Sunday of every month from March until November, or by special appointment. It costs 3 euros per adult to visit, and group rates are available. Since today happens to be the first Sunday of the month, we decided we had to visit it. So we took off for Lichtenstein-Honau, which happens to be where the gorgeous Lichtenstein Castle is. We visited the castle in September 2016, but when we were at the cave today, I looked up and saw it from a new perspective. I wasn’t expecting that!
Our tour was with a large group of German teenagers. Compared to last week, it was a very easy cave to explore, with only one big flight of stairs. The tour was only about a half hour or so, and the guide didn’t know we were Americans until the very end. But it was okay, because the lady who sold Bill the tickets gave him a binder with information in English. I got a lot of photos!
After our tour, we headed up to the castle, thinking we could score some lunch there. We weren’t the only ones with that idea, though… and there was absolutely no parking to be found, whatsoever. So we decided to go to the nearby Nebelhöhle Cave… another place we’ve visited in the past. On our way there, we ran into a shepherd moving a huge flock of sheep and lambs across the road. I got a few photos and video clips, which I will share later, once I’ve had a chance to edit the video.
We managed to find a spot at the cave, then walked down to the outdoor restaurant, which seems to specialize in Maultaschen. I was going to have that today, but they gave Bill some with mushrooms and hunter (mushroom) sauce all over it! So I had tuna salad, and Bill ate the Maultaschen.
The place was quite crowded, which is natural, given how very beautiful the weather is today. Twice, we were joined by German couples. The first couple was obviously very curious about us, but didn’t seem to speak much English. Bill told them we were “on holiday”. But the second couple, who brought with them their adorable border collie, turned out to speak English very well… and we had a great visit with them! They were also from Wiesbaden, although they live in Augsburg now.
I ended up sharing the name of the blog with them, and they laughed. After I explained my history, they totally understood why I would call myself The Overeducated Housewife. I ended up writing the blog name on a dental floss sample package! Then they were surprised by the spelling of “traveling”. They didn’t realize we have different spellings from British English for certain words in the US.
We had such a beautiful day today… even though I decided I didn’t want to explore the other cave. It was just as much fun to sit and people watch, joke about tuna salad, and talk to the very friendly folks who live in Augsburg and visit Sonnenbuehl, which is where the husband works. His wife said that he works there and has a flat, so they came to enjoy the German Reunification Holiday weekend.
It’s days like today that really make me appreciate my good fortune all the more. It is a real treat to get to live in this country. And having a reason to come down here every six months makes me all the gladder that we kept our Stuttgart area dentist. It’s also a treat to be in this beautiful city again. We have really missed our old stomping grounds!
Below are a few photos from today. I will add more next week, when I write the series for this trip.
Yesterday, Bill was supposed to Skype with his mom. He didn’t do it, because I complained to him that I wanted to go out and do something on Saturday. And yet, we didn’t end up going anywhere yesterday… it was hot and muggy, and nothing was appealing.
Today was different. It was hot and muggy today, but we decided we wanted to go out, anyway. The Birkenhof Hofladen has a 24 hour fridge that people can buy produce from. They also have a Biergarten called the Bembelschänke, which is a really nice venue for drinking beer, eating pretzels, and pondering life. It’s a dog friendly place, so Noyzi came with us. Boy did he have fun! A Bembel, by the way, is a pottery wine pitcher found in these parts. This is German wine country, after all.
When we arrived at the cornfield, we walked Noyzi toward the entrance, where we were promptly greeted by a gorgeous dog who obviously lived at the farm. I think he might have been a “Swissy”. He was very much “Johnny on the spot” when we arrived, meeting us at the gate, and checking out Noyzi with his hackles raised. Noyzi, of course, just wanted to play.
The lady of the farm came out and claimed her dog, whom she said was two years old. She yelled at him to sit and he ignored her the first couple of times before he complied. He and Noyzi traded a couple more sniffs, then parted company as she took him inside.
Bill and I chose a shady spot in the Biergarten, which wasn’t very crowded at all. We ordered a couple of beers– an amber for him, and a weizen for me. Noyzi was nervous, but he eventually calmed down a bit as we enjoyed a “cheese bread” plate for Bill, and Spundekäs with a pretzel for me. I was impressed by how beautifully the food was presented.
The Bembelschänke offers a variety of beverages– wines, beers, soft drinks, and non alcoholic juices. I was actually really tempted by the lemonade, which looked very refreshing. The food choices are somewhat limited to snacks, but that’s okay. After you enjoy a round or two, you can visit the 24 hour fridge and load up on farm fresh goodies. I took a video for Bill’s daughter. She’s never had a chance to live abroad.
As we were finishing up our second round, the lady of the farm came over with a big bowl of water for Noyzi. I could tell she was a bit smitten by him. I think the feeling was mutual, as he went right over to her and gave her a snuggle. I was glad to see him so comfortable with someone he doesn’t live with 24/7. Noyzi really likes women, and he’s come such a long way from the scared pooch he was in 2020, when we first brought him home from Kosovo. He was very well behaved at the Biergarten, aside from taking a little while to settle down. I think if we go back, we’ll be welcomed warmly… especially by Noyzi’s new friend.
One of the young waitresses said, when she saw Noyzi, “Mein Herz.” Or something to that effect. The lady of the farm said he was very “Hübsch”. It was clear that he made a very good impression. I do love my beagles, but I’ve got to admit that Noyzi the street dog sure is better behaved and easier on most levels. He works very hard not to offend, and he mostly succeeds.
Anyway, we were very proud of him. It was a hot, but lovely, afternoon. The mood at the Biergarten was perfect– not too busy and very warm and welcoming. I hope we can do it again soon. And the bonus is, we scored some nice goodies for home!
We had such beautiful weather, yesterday, that we just couldn’t abide staying home. But, once again, it was later in the day when we decided to go out for awhile. I started throwing out suggestions of places that were an hour or so away from our house, but then we wondered about Noyzi, who has become very fond of coming with us when we go out somewhere. Bill then remembered a Biergarten located near us that we’d never been to previously. His good friend from work had been there and recommended it, and Google said it was just 13 minutes away by car.
I was sold on that suggestion, so we headed out to Hockenberger Mühle, a restaurant and Biergarten about seven kilometers north of us. Noyzi was all too thrilled to jump up into the back of the Volvo. It’s funny how we used to have to pick him up and put him in. Now, he just leaps in with no problem.
When we got to the Biergarten, we found it very well populated with people who were wise enough to make reservations. Nevertheless, we were able to score a parking spot in a small field across the two lane road approaching the restaurant. The Hockenberger Mühle was tucked away in a corner, with the Biergarten mostly covered by a permanent roof and/or large umbrellas.
An obviously hardworking man seated us with another couple, who turned out to be good company. They had arrived at the Biergarten, courtesy of their bikes. The male half of the couple had taken a nasty spill before their arrival, and had a pretty banged up looking leg. Nevertheless, they were very friendly and talkative, and quite tolerant of Noyzi, who was nervously looking around and occasionally barking. We explained to the couple that Noyzi is a street dog from Kosovo and he’s still learning how to act in public. They were understanding and told us about friends of theirs who had adopted a dog from Romania. That seems to be the “in” thing to do in Germany, these days. I would be happy to adopt a more local dog myself, but the shelters don’t seem to want to let Americans affiliated with the military adopt, thanks to some of the irresponsible actions of our countrymen.
The Biergarten was very busy, and there were many bikers, as there is a bike trail nearby. I also noticed several large, well dressed families who looked like they might have just come from church. The German couple who were sharing the table with us said it looked like maybe some of the kids with them had just had their first communions.
Bill decided to have a tuna salad. I had a Schnitzel and fries. Ordinarily, I might have opted for something less fried, but I was preoccupied with Noyzi and didn’t have the chance to study the menu more carefully. I do like Schnitzels on occasion, but they’re kind of entry level. Oftentimes, I can’t finish them, although I managed to do it yesterday. Bill had a Dunkelweizen beer, and I had my usual Hefeweizen.
After the biker couple departed, we had some time alone at the table. A couple more people showed up with big dogs, both of which were better behaved than Noyzi was (although he really wasn’t bad at all). We did get a few side eyes from some folks. One guy was at the table next to us and kept giving me looks, but I noticed he could barely keep his food in his mouth and he smoked several cigarettes. So, I guess we’re about even, in terms of table manners. 😀
I went looking for the ladies room and stumbled across the restaurant’s playground for kids, plus more tables, which were all occupied. Bill called for the check, but it took awhile for them to bring it to us. Meanwhile, we were joined by more bikers– this time, it was a gay male couple. They were nice enough, but I did think it was funny that they asked if we were there on vacation. I mean, there we were with our big ass street dog… Did they think we flew him over to Germany for a week’s break? They knew where we lived when we explained we live in Breckenheim.
Then, when Bill went to pay the check, he got the numbers mixed up and tried to give the server way more money than she needed. She protested, and after Bill finally got the check paid, one of the men said, “In Germany, a ten percent tip is enough.”
I kind of stifled a laugh and said, “Oh, we know not to tip like Americans here… ”
I don’t think the guy realized what had happened. Bill thought the bill said 53 euros, when it was 35. Anyway, after that little cultural exchange, we were feeling ready to go home to the peace and quiet of our backyard. Noyzi did reasonably well, although he’s still pretty nervous in public. Every time we take him out, though, he gets a little bit better. Plus, he’s a great ice breaker.
We would love to go back to that Biergarten some other time, or maybe eat in the restaurant, which looked pretty charming. Next time, we’ll make a reservation, though, if the weather is fine.
Here are some photos from our brief excursion… A couple were taken in the pretty countryside near our house. We don’t have nearly as much pretty country where we are now, but there’s a little bit to satisfy the part of me that really misses horses. There are also some really cute little villages to drive through, but they are so congested!
Howdy folks. Bill and I just got home from today’s outing. We planned it a few days ago, knowing that Saturday would be busy. I wanted Bill to fix the boundary wire for the robotic mower, because it’s definitely grass cutting season. We needed to get the outdoor furniture moved outside. And I bought a new Apple TV, so I could update the TV in our entertainment room with the old HomePod as a speaker. It actually took some time to get the new technology squared away. I had to reset the Apple TVs, run updates, and then configure everything. By the time all that stuff was done, it was mid afternoon and too late for an outing.
But we knew Sunday would be a good day for a day out on the town. Yes, it’s Easter, but restaurants and museums are open. Lately, I’ve been seeing lots of ads on Facebook for the Van Gogh Alive exhibit in Frankfurt. It started in January and will now run until early June. The ads were enticing. Then I read the reviews, which were pretty lukewarm.
Bill likes art, and the ads made the show seem exciting. So we bought two tickets for noon today– at about 25 euros a pop. I think the tickets were overpriced, BUT– we did have a good time and learned new things. And Bill got very emotional as he saw Vincent Van Gogh’s works in the show, projected on the walls with information about the artist’s tragic life and death, coupled with lovely classical music from Van Gogh’s era. There was also a (somewhat lame) sunflower room, which consisted of fake sunflowers, lights, and mirrors, which took about five minutes to see. And there was a “drawing room”, where they had easels and a YouTube video showing how to sketch Van Gogh’s bedroom in under two minutes. I didn’t try it myself, but I did observe others.
Our visit lasted 45 minutes. Maybe it would have lasted longer if we’d brought our own chairs, as some people wisely did! I would also recommend showing up a little after your appointment time. You can enter the exhibit anytime after your appointment time, and stay as long as you like. If you’re on time, you’ll be in a crowd. But if you show up later, you’ll have the first part of the exhibit to yourself! If I did it again, I’d come a few minutes late.
Below are some photos… As you can see, everything is in German and English!
There is a public restroom in the exhibit, as well as baby changing and handicapped facilities. I was grateful for the restroom. I would also recommend using the train to get to the venue. Parking is at a premium, but there’s a train stop just outside the exhibit’s location.
Below are a few short videos to offer a look at how the show is… It’s pretty cool, but nothing earth shattering.
We had 1:45 lunchtime reservations at an upscale Frankfurt Greek restaurant called Omonia Taverna. Bill found it on OpenTable.de. He ended up amending our reservation to 1:30, and found a parking spot on the street.
Omonia Taverna turned out to be a great place to spend the afternoon. The food was excellent; the staff was welcoming and didn’t rush us; and we had a very lovely Greek wine. Bill had lamb, and I had a Grill Teller. The waiter spoke English and offered English menus. We didn’t require either, but it was good to know they had them. There is a parking garage nearby, but it was closed yesterday. We found street parking, but it would have also been convenient to use the train.
Below are some more photos… I got some good ones of the Europaturm (Frankfurt’s TV tower, which no longer allows visitors. Every decent German city has a TV tower.). The Europaturm used to have a discoteque, but it’s been closed to the public since 1999, mainly for fire safety reasons. Recently, there was talk of reopening it, but so far, nothing has happened. Still, it makes for a striking sight in Frankfurt. Koln’s TV tower is also closed to the public– and has been since 1992. But, you can still see Stuttgart’s and Berlin’s TV towers, which I have…
We noticed that the staff was extremely hospitable at Omonia. Especially the proprietor, who was personally welcoming everyone in Greek. I didn’t know the word “Kalispera” before we ate at Omonia, but now I know it’s Greek for “Good day”. We similarly learned the Greek word “Yamas” from our friend, the “Mad Scientist” at Agais in Entringen, down in BW. We spent a good 90 minutes on a very leisurely Easter lunch, but we skipped dessert. The main courses were enough to fill us up… Maybe next time we’ll try a sweet ending.
The bill was about 104 euros. Bill tucked some euros in for a Trinkgeld (tip), and paid with his credit card. The waiter was so nice. He said come back anytime, with or without a reservation. I truly think we will. We had a great time, and the food was really nice. They also have an inviting outdoor area for when the weather is slightly better. I noticed a lot of locals there, and a lot of Greeks! It’s obviously a local gem!
Overall, Omonia Taverna, and Frankfurt in general, were excellent places to spend our Easter Sunday afternoon. I understand there’s also a Monet Alive exhibit. It was going on in Stuttgart when we were down there. It got worse reviews than the Van Gogh Alive exhibit did. What a pity. I like Claude Monet. I probably would still go see it if it shows up in Frankfurt, even though I think it’s overpriced. But I would bring a chair and spend a little more time watching the movie.
We need to spend more time in Frankfurt, anyway. There’s a lot to see there that we’ve missed, thanks to COVID-19. I’ll be looking for more ways to kill our weekends in Frankfurt and Mainz, which we’ve also sorely neglected since we moved to Wiesbaden.
Bill is now working on our US taxes… but I think I’ll go downstairs and bug him. That’s what I was born to do.
Yesterday, Bill asked me if I might like to go out for lunch today, since, because of the weather, we didn’t go anywhere special on Saturday. I suggested Landhaus Diedert, an upscale eatery in Wiesbaden that we discovered almost exactly a year ago. On April 3, 2022, we visited this hotel/restaurant for the very first time and had an impressive Sunday lunch. It wasn’t planned in advance that we’d visit again on April 2, 2023. I simply remembered really enjoying our first visit, and thinking it would offer a pleasant midday repast. Also, Apple keeps showing me pictures from last year’s visit, and that reminded me we were overdue for another trip.
Bill booked our table through his trusty OpenTable.de app, and we showed up promptly for our 1:00 reservation. I think Bill was especially excited about the menu, which he studied before we arrived. Landhaus Diedert, which is located in an old Kloster, changes its menus regularly, and Bill noticed they had some rather exotic (for us) offerings. Today, they had rabbit, ox, halibut, and turbot, as well as Iberico pork steak with truffles. Bill is a more adventurous eater than I am, so he had a lot of choices.
The waitress brought out white and wheat breads, with butter and hummus. We also had aperitifs– Champagne for me, and a sparkling non-alcoholic sour cherry juice for Bill. I loved the cherry juice and would probably opt for that next time, should I have the opportunity. It was not too sweet, but light and refreshing.
As we were deciding on lunch, Bill ordered a bottle of local dry red wine, as well as a bottle of sparkling water. After a perfectly done wine service, our wine was “held hostage” on a nearby table full of liqueurs and digestives. I actually dislike this practice of wait staff insisting on pouring wine for clients, because sometimes they get super “weeded” (busy) and forget this part of service. You sit there waiting for them to notice you need a refill. And if you try to rectify it yourself, they get upset. Fortunately, this wasn’t too much of a problem at Landhaus Diedert today, as our servers were very attentive. I guess I should amend my comment. I don’t mind my wine being held hostage, as long as the wait staff doesn’t leave me wanting for long. 😉
For my starter, I ended up choosing an essence of tomato soup with basil oil, while Bill had the wonderful wild garlic soup with goat cheese. I was tempted by the wild garlic soup myself, but scared off by the goat cheese, which I worried would be too strong for me. I did taste the wild garlic soup and found it to be excellent, and not too strong. However, I’m glad I got the tomato soup, because it was lighter, and because it was different from the other soups we’ve been eating lately.
For our main courses, I had the fried halibut with flamed leeks and celery, chickpea foam, rhubarb, and tarragon. Bill went with the braised ox cheeks with Vichy carrots, pearl barley risotto, parsley root cream, and port wine shallots. Both dishes were beautifully presented and delicious, as well as filling. There are vegan and vegetarian options for those who would prefer to skip the meat. They also have a “healthy menu”, which offers lighter fare.
I noticed the restaurant was well attended today, with several couples and a couple of family groups. I always enjoy watching German families dining out. It makes me miss home a bit.
After we finished our main courses, we had dessert. I had Cocos Rocher with mango passion fruit seeds lychee espuma, and guava sorbet. Bill had an apple and walnut tart, with pistachio ice cream and mascarpone espuma. We were offered coffee and espresso, but we had to finish the wine!
All told, we spent about 185 euros for today’s marvelous lunch. It was worth every euro cent. And, as I looked at the Biergarten under the trees out front, it occurred to me that we really need to visit when the weather is good. Or, really, just more often altogether. I have some favorite local restaurants, but I think there’s easily room for Landhaus Diedert. Parking, by the way, is free– but the hotel kind of runs into a neighborhood, so it can be tricky to access.
Below are some photos from today’s excursion!
I’m really glad we decided to go out today. I think our Sunday lunch habit is about to resume!
Spring is coming, and I’m starting to feel like I should be end my self imposed winter hibernation. I do still worry about Arran, whose lymph nodes are getting big again, but I also know I can’t stay homebound forever. Saturday night, Bill decided to check OpenTable to see if there were any inviting and interesting restaurants to try yesterday. He noticed one we hadn’t yet tried, Restaurant Retter’s at the Romantik Hotel Schloss Rettershof. They had plenty of tables open for a 7:00pm reservation, so Bill booked us. As you can see from the featured photo, it’s a lovely, historic venue!
I didn’t know anything about the Schloss Rettershof before last night’s repast. My German friend, Susanne, decided to look up the castle’s history while we were enjoying dinner. It seems that before the Rettershof became a hotel and restaurant, it had a colorful history that included stints as the European headquarters for the Hare Krishnas, and, for a few years after World War II, a U.S. Army post. Prior to the 20th century, it was a farm. And before that– from the 12th century until 1559, it was a monastery, and home for nuns. On July 3 and 4, 2018, parts of the roof of the nearby riding stable burned down due to a major fire. I saw evidence last night that people still go riding in the area.
The property has had a very colorful past that is well worth reading about, even if it is beyond the scope of today’s blog post. I only wish we could have visited when the sun was out, as even in the darkness, I could see that the Rettershof offers beautiful views. It’s located in the Fischbachtal district of Kelkheim, and very close to Eppstein, which is one of my favorite areas up here near Wiesbaden. I wouldn’t have been at all distressed if we’d found a house in Eppstein, instead of in Breckenheim.
Anyway… on to our actual experiences. 😉
Bill overestimated the amount of time he’d need to get from our house to the Rettershof. Nevertheless, I was delighted that the GPS took us in a direction that, in four years of living up here, we’d never before ventured. I guess COVID lockdowns have a way of putting a damper on exploration. We ended up going through our village, up a hillside, and into a pretty, mountainous area. Or, it was mountainous for this area. Really, it was probably more hilly than mountainous, but it was still a nice change of landscape for us. We live in a valley.
I was pretty hungry when we got to the Rettershof, which was a good thing. We got plenty to eat last night. However, as we pulled up, about 25 minutes before our 7pm reservation, I almost wondered if the place was open. The generously sized parking lot was practically empty. No one was near the entrance of the hotel, although it was lit up. When we walked inside, there was a friendly young woman at the reception desk who greeted us and took our coats. I was immediately enchanted by the sitting area near the reception. I didn’t get a chance to linger, though, because we were immediately ushered to the dining room and invited to take a table. There was one other party there– a family of four, who had the one table near a charming bay window. We took a table for four on the other side of the small dining room, so it was rather private.
I did manage to get a couple of photos of the lobby area before we sat down… I loved the fireplace, and the cozy lighting of the area around it. Too bad this isn’t a dining room, because it was very charming and inviting.
At the top of the stairs are some bedrooms for rent. There is also an extension where newer rooms have been built. I have no idea if anyone was staying at the hotel last night. It didn’t appear to have any guests, but then, it’s not exactly the high season.
There were two very enthusiastic men waiting on us. We got the sense that one might have been from France, and the other seemed to be Spanish. Both spoke German and English, of course, and they were very friendly. The one from France, who had his long dark hair in a bun, thanked us profusely for coming. We sipped glasses of champagne while we looked at the menu, which was pretty limited last night. I got the sense that maybe they limit the menu when they are expecting few guests.
There was a set four course menu, which I didn’t go for because of the presence of truffles… A la carte, we had a choice of Ox with cheese, See Teufel (Angler fish), or Wiener Schnitzel. I didn’t see any vegan or vegetarian options on last night’s menu, but I’m sure they have something… perhaps it was in the regular menu, which I never had a chance to look at, as Bill was selecting a wine and the list was in the one permanent menu they gave us. There was also a choice of two starters– beef tartar with quail egg or beef consomme.
I decided to go with the Angler fish, which a dense fish that reminded me a little of catfish in terms of looks and texture, but tasted more like halibut. Bill went for the Schnitzel. I was surprised he didn’t want the ox, since he usually likes that kind of thing… but he did order the tartar as a starter. I had the consomme, which had sliced pancakes and carrots in it. We also had bread and butter from France, and a lovely and unique red wine that the waiter with the man bun said was “new” to them.
Both waiters were professional, but the one with the man bun was especially memorable. I got a kick out of him, especially when he pronounced the word “dynomite” like “deenomeete”. I think he might have learned new vocabulary last night.
Overall, we really enjoyed the food and the pleasant, yet quirky, wait staff, who were both clearly delighted that we came in for dinner last night. Yes, it would have been nice to have had more of a choice in entrees, but given that we and the other party of four appeared to be their only patrons last night, I can understand why they didn’t stock too much. This definitely wasn’t an inexpensive meal. The check came to 277 euros, which is a lot… and Bill delighted the wait staff by tipping like an American. They were practically bowing to us as we left. 😀
I would go back to the Retterhof for another meal. Next time, I’d like to do it during the daytime, so I can see how pretty it is. I also suspect that when the weather is warmer and more people patronize the restaurant, the menu expands a bit. But we did enjoy ourselves last night. The castle is a charming venue, and at least last night, the staff was very warm and friendly and were clearly glad to welcome us. We don’t live far away, either, so I could definitely see us venturing out there again.
I will offer a caveat to those who have mobility issues. The restrooms are located down a flight of stairs and I didn’t see an elevator. In the ladies room, there are several steps up to the toilets. I’m not sure if they have alternative accommodations for people who use wheelchairs.
We got home at about 9pm. Arran and Noyzi were delighted to see us again. Arran, in particular, was really wound up and took off running around the house. I was relieved to see it, as two of his lymph nodes are large again. The vet decided to skip chemo last week, and the cancer has responded accordingly. But, in spite of the larger lymph nodes, Arran doesn’t appear to be feeling too badly right now. This is a sign, however, that the cancer is progressing, and we will probably be saying goodbye to him before too much longer.
I really hate this part of having dogs in my life, even though I know it’s necessary. However, I also know from experience that every time I have a dog who is very special and think no one can possibly equal him, I am proven wrong. Every dog we’ve had has been original and special in their own ways, and every one has been unforgettable and uniquely wonderful. So, as much as I hate the thought of saying goodbye to Arran, I also know that when he goes, another opportunity awaits us. And with that opportunity comes new and amazing experiences waiting to happen.
Some time ago, I started following a Facebook group dedicated to sharing pictures of Hessen and day trip ideas. People were sharing photos that reminded me of how much fun Bill and I used to have pre-COVID, visiting different places, eating in restaurants, and enjoying our weekends. Bad Homburg, which is a spa town just north of Frankfurt, is about a half hour drive for us. People in the Hessen Facebook group often share pictures of it, making me think it was a place I wanted to see.
Today was the perfect day for a visit, as we had beautiful, sunny weather, and pleasant temperatures. So, off we went this afternoon, after Bill had confirmed there were restaurants that didn’t take a pause after lunch. As usual, we got a late start that put us at our destination after prime lunch hours. He also found a well-rated parking garage. This was important, as when he arrived at the garage, he found it pretty hard to maneuver our SUV into a spot without parking over the line! He tried several spots before he finally got the car in without encroaching. I shudder to think about the poorly rated garages in Bad Homburg!
Just outside of the garage, I could tell we were in for a treat. Just coming into the city, you pass imposing looking tower gates. I also noticed that the Christmas market stalls were already going up, and they were all over town! I bet this will be a great destination when the markets open for the holiday season! I loved the tower on the Schloss grounds, and the saying at the gate “Walk in like you mean it.” I also loved the awesome cedar tree outside the gate. This castle dates from the 12th century, although all but the keep were demolished by Frederick II, Landgrave of Hesse-Homburg. The castle that exists today was built in the 1680s.
First, we walked up to the Schloss, which offered beautiful views and finally, some fall foliage, which I feel like I’ve missed since summer ended. Not only did I get some pretty photos, I also got a chance to use the bathroom, and it was FREE! That was lucky! Below are some photos from around the Schloss. We could have toured it if we’d wanted to, but we were short on time and needed lunch.
After the Schloss, we visited a couple of churches– Erlöserkirche, a Protestant church that dates from 1908, and the Church of St. Mary, a Catholic church. Both were beautiful in their own rights, but I also loved the gay friendly vibe at the Catholic church. I liked how the inside of the Protestant church glittered as if it was studded with gold. The Catholic church was a little more modern looking, but still very welcoming and comfortable, with the smell of incense in the air. The town itself, especially near the churches, reminded me a lot of France.