dental, trip planning

Our next trip is shaping up…

So, in my last travel post, I mentioned that I was planning our next dental side trip. If you are a regular follower and actually care about my posts (I don’t like to assume), you might already know we’ve done a few of these trips. Basically, they entail going down to Stuttgart, seeing our fabulous dentist down there, then taking a few days off to explore.

Bill and I love planning these breaks. These dental side trips give us a much appreciated break from Wiesbaden, and provide content for my travel blog… which is not as popular as it used to be. Of course, thanks to the pandemic, and the fact that we both had to get some work done last time we went to Stuttgart, we haven’t broken much new ground on the last few excursions.

We moved to Wiesbaden in late 2018, so prior to that, we had no need to do “excursions”, since we still lived in the Stuttgart area. In May 2019, we went down to Stuttgart to get cleanings and see Elton John perform, supposedly for the last time, but I believe he came back to Stuttgart again after that show. We never got around to coming down for cleanings in the fall of that year, because Bill was very busy at work. Then came the pandemic…

Our next journey to see the dentist occurred in August 2021. I got the bright idea to book a few days in Baiersbronn, which is a small town near where we used to live, famous for its many excellent Michelin starred restaurants. We stayed in a nice resort, but that only made me curious about an upgraded experience at the Bareiss Hotel, which is where we went last fall. We spent lots of money and ate wonderful food, but what really sticks out to me, besides the friendly goats and ponies, is the Bareiss Hotel’s incredible pool complex. I’d go back there just for that!

In the spring of 2022, we visited Sessenheim, an area of Alsace, France we had not seen on our many prior visits to the area. We stayed in an awesome little hotel that had its own Michelin starred restaurant, and we bought lots of new French pottery. We mostly decided to go to France because its COVID rules were much less obnoxious than Germany’s, but that was a great trip, anyway. I love Alsace!

Now that the pandemic panic has somewhat passed, it’s time to branch out a bit, and go further afield. As I revealed in the previous post, the Czech Republic won the coin toss. Folks, I think it’s going to be a really great trip. I think we’ve got a good itinerary shaping up.

Although Esslingen won the coin toss for local lodging in the Stuttgart area, I couldn’t find a hotel that was particularly exciting. I ended up booking us at Hotel La Casa, which is a boutique hotel in Tübingen. If you search this blog, you will see that we’ve spent a lot of time in Tübingen. We lived near there during our first Germany tour (2007-09), and visited often when we last lived in the Stuttgart area (2014-18). We have also dined at Hotel La Casa on three occasions.

Even when we lived down that way, I was keen to stay at the hotel one weekend. I actually thought about putting our dogs up and just doing a weekend at Hotel La Casa, even though we lived about 20-30 minutes away from the town. I liked the staff, the restaurant, and the hotel’s interior design. Now that we live in Wiesbaden, we have the excuse to book a stay. Plus, Tübingen is just a really cool town.

One of many iconic shots that can be taken in Tübingen… It’s a very beautiful city!

Once I booked that hotel, though, I realized we might have a slight problem. In retrospect, I should have listened to my friend, Susanne, who had suggested a visit to Schwabisch Hall, a very beautiful town about an hour north of Stuttgart. I decided against it, because traffic around Stuttgart is a nightmare, and I didn’t want to be stressed about getting to our appointment. But Schwabisch Hall is actually more conducive to getting to the Czech Republic, as it’s just off Autobahn 6, which is the route we’d be taking under normal circumstances. Staying in Schwabisch Hall would have been more convenient (and I do plan to stop there sometime– maybe in the spring!).

Tübingen is south of Stuttgart, so to access A6, we’d have to drive about an hour north, and that might involve dealing with more traffic. It would definitely require backtracking, which I wanted to avoid if I could.

But then I got to thinking… We really have no agenda. The one place I do want to visit in the Czech Republic is Brno, which is pretty far east. There’s nothing to say we have to access it via A6. We can always get there using a different route.

Then I remembered that in 2008, we went to Passau, Germany for my 36th birthday. I had been there before, in 1997, when I was coming home from my Peace Corps stint and spent a month hopping trains all over Europe. I knew nothing at all about Passau in 1997, and just got off there because I was tired of being on the train. I ended up loving the city. It’s very pretty… and it happens to be exactly halfway between Tübingen and Brno. Below are a few shots from our 2008 trip to Passau. I love the cathedral there, and it’s mighty pipe organ! And I love the confluence of three rivers: the Inn, the Ilz, and the Danube.

Then I remembered that October 3, which is the day we’d be traveling, is a German holiday. And I wanted to get out of Germany for the holiday, because things tend to be closed on German holidays, although restaurants, tourist attractions, and hotels aren’t. I’m as excited about German Reunification Day as anyone is, but I’ve been here for nine years (this time), and I already know how Germans celebrate that day. Besides, what better way to celebrate that day than going to a former Eastern Bloc country? Why not cross back over the eastern border for a chance of pace?

In the late 1980s, Bill actually used to help guard the border between Germany and the Czech Republic. When we visited there in 2008, he got visibly nervous as we approached the border, which, of course, was wide open! I remember stopping to change money and get a vignette, and two sexy Czech girls started cleaning the windshield of our Toyota RAV 4. I said to Bill, “I think you are expected to tip them”. He did, and we were on our way to a very memorable exploration of southern Bohemia.

The Czech border circa 2008. Bill was so nervous, even as two pretty teenaged girls cleaned the windshield for us.

I briefly considered maybe staying in Austria. I stayed in Linz back in 1997 and found it kind of boring, but we went back in 2008 and discovered a great Biergarten there. But other than the Biergarten, on our last visit, I still found Linz kind of boring. Other travelers’ reports confirmed that it wasn’t just me; there are more exciting places to be. So then I remembered Cesky Krumlov, which is a VERY charming town east of Passau.

Bill at said Linzer Biergarten… I’d love to go back to that place, but October is kind of when a lot of Biergartens tend to close, anyway. And I’m sure there are things to see in Linz, but there are more exciting cities nearby.

Funny story about Cesky Krumlov. We visited there in 2008, too. The owner of the hotel where we stayed in Passau had recommended it. The day we were there was my birthday, and it happened to be when they were having their annual Five Petalled Rose Festival. We ran into many locals dressed in medieval garb, and there were games going on. I took an awesome photo there that remains one of my favorite pictures of all time. I thought we’d stumbled into a theme park! I had no idea the festival was happening. I remember thinking the town was very charming, and I would have liked it even if the festival hadn’t been happening. The fact that it was going on only added to its charm.

From Cesky Krumlov, we went to nearby Cesky Budejovice, which is where the Czech Budweiser is made. 😉 I remember having lunch there and thinking I’d like to stay in that town. Below are a few shots from our 2008 trip. I wasn’t as much of a shutterbug in those days. I also used Microsoft computers, which aren’t compatible with my Mac.

For our upcoming visit, I found us a cute hotel in Cesky Krumlov that gets excellent reviews. We’ll stay there for two nights, then move on to Brno, which is maybe three hours away. I found another hotel in Brno that isn’t quite as cute as the one in Cesky Krumlov is, but has a lot of amenities. It’s located on the outskirts of town, but from what I’ve read, a lot of Brno’s charm is found outside of the city itself. Since we’ve never been to Brno, we’ll stay three days there, then move toward home.

At this point, I’m tentatively planning our last stop to be two nights in Prague. We last visited Prague in November 2008, as part of a trip we did to celebrate our 6th wedding anniversary. In those days, we had a lot less money, but thanks to Hilton Honors Points, we were able to score two free nights at the Hilton Old Town Hotel. I remember they brought us sparkling wine and strawberries because we were there on our actual anniversary. I also remember they had an awesome old school pool that was DEEP. But I think this time, we’ll stay somewhere different.

I still came home with tons of cool souvenirs from Dresden, Poland (Bolesławiec), and Prague. I’m hoping we can find some art for the house. Last time we went to Prague, I bought a painting at an art gallery with an Armenian proprietor! I got to speak some crappy Armenian with him. I had (and have) forgotten a lot. Below are a few shots from Prague. It was COLD during our visit!

I can’t book the Prague hotel yet, though, because we have to make sure Noyzi can stay an extra night at the Hundepension. I don’t expect it to be a problem, but you never know. I gave some thought to stopping at the Chodovar Beer Wellness Land in Chodova Plana (very close to the German border), but recent reviews of the place make it sound less than enticing. I’d like to go there, though, if only to pick up some beer and their awesome flavored mineral water. Last time we were in the Czech Republic, we found some at a grocery store, but there wasn’t much of it to be had.

Chodova Plana isn’t far from Karlovy Vary, which is a great spa town overrun with Russians (last time we were there, anyway). We bought two paintings from a talented Russian artist, last time we were there. The town of Chodova Plana itself, though, is pretty desolate, other than the brewery, beer spa, and hotel. Prague offers a hell of a lot more to do, plus they’ve now got beer (and wine) spas, too. That wasn’t the case in 2008.

From Prague, we can reach Wiesbaden in about six hours, barring terrible traffic. I think it’s doable… If it turns out Noyzi can’t stay another night, maybe we’ll stay somewhere a little bit closer to home. Brno isn’t super far from Prague. I think it’s only a couple of hours’ drive.

Hopefully, we can finalize these plans over the weekend. Bill is coming home from his latest trip today. I look forward to seeing him, as it’s been a very quiet, boring week here in Wiesbaden. On the other hand, my liver has gotten a break, as I have mostly been teetotaling. I had two beers last night, but they were my first since Saturday.

Anyway… I love trip planning. I hope to do more of it… at least until the next war or pandemic sidetracks everything. Maybe we’ll even get a chance to stop by the border of Slovakia, so I can get a new mug to replace the cracked one we bought in 2015. 😉

Sundays, trip planning

The next big trip was decided by a quarter…

October is approaching, which means it’ll soon be time for us to visit Stuttgart again for dental cleanings. We had originally booked the dentist for October 3, but that’s a holiday in Germany. Our dentist’s receptionist later called and rescheduled us for October 2. That got me to thinking about potential travel opportunities after the appointment. It occurred to me that maybe we should get out of the country for German Reunification Day.

As is my habit, when we go to Stuttgart, I’m making some tentative plans to go somewhere. Taking a side trip after seeing the dentist kind of lessens the trauma of the experience, even if it does kind of add to the cost.

For the past couple of years, when we’ve seen the dentist in the fall, we’ve gone to Baiersbronn, in the Schwarzwald. It’s a picturesque area, with many good restaurants and things to do. This year, as much as I like the Black Forest, I think it’s time to do something different. So, after our Hundepension confirmed that they have space for Noyzi, Bill and I started talking about where we might go for our dental side trip. Stuttgart is kind of an advantageous area, as it’s not too far from France, Switzerland, Austria, or even the Czech Republic.

We had originally wanted to book Noyzi starting on Sunday, October 1, but the dog hotel doesn’t do check-ins on Sundays. So that means we have to bring him on either Saturday or Monday, giving us a couple of days in the Stuttgart area.

When we stay in Stuttgart, we often book the Wald Hotel, which is a favorite lodging of ours. But while we like the hotel, we also enjoy other towns near Stuttgart. So, for our upcoming visit, I proposed staying in either Esslingen or Tübingen– two very pretty towns we both love that are near Stuttgart. We already know Tübingen very well, since we used to live very close to it during our first German stint. We’ve only been to Esslingen a couple of times. We decided either would be fine bases other than Stuttgart. To choose where we should go, we flipped a coin. Esslingen won, so now I’m looking for good lodging options in and around that area.

Then, we decided to plan where to go after the cleanings were done, since we’ll have a few days to burn, and the following weekend is a US holiday. We did another coin flip. First, it was between Austria and Switzerland. Switzerland won, so we flipped again between Switzerland and Germany. Switzerland won again! Then, we did one for Switzerland and the Czech Republic. That time, the Czech Republic won.

I’m happy about the results, because we haven’t gone to the Czech Republic since 2018. We used to visit the Czech Republic pretty often when we lived in Germany the first time, but we’ve been neglecting it lately. I’ve been very interested in visiting Brno, among other places… I am hoping to find some more art for our walls.

So… that’s the plan for our next big trip for now. I’m going to look for a place in Esslingen and/or its environs. Then, we’re going on a road trip to the Czech Republic, to show off our nice, clean teeth. Should be fun… Maybe this will keep me busy while Bill is in Bavaria this week, doing his TDY duty!

I really hate it when Bill travels for work without me, but at least we no longer have a dog with cancer to take care of. And our sweet Noyzi has really bonded to us. I suspect the week will be pretty peaceful. I do enjoy trip planning!

I wish I could write about something fun today, but Bill is busy preparing for his trip. I thought maybe we’d go to the Hofheim Wine Fest this weekend, but I just didn’t feel like it yesterday. My stomach was bothering me, and I didn’t want to upset it further with too much wine. We stayed home and hung out instead, which is always a pleasure. And… of course, I drank beer and wine, too. So much for babying my stomach, but at least I didn’t have to put on a bra.

The featured photo is the actual quarter we flipped to come to this preliminary decision… We’ll see what we actually end up planning, as even coin toss trip plans are subject to change… Heh heh… I said “change”! See what I did there?

Edited to add: After searching for a place in Esslingen, I ended up deciding to a book a hotel in Tübingen, after all. It’s one we’ve been curious about for awhile, as we’ve eaten in their restaurant a few times– Hotel La Casa. I got an apartment for three nights at a pretty reasonable rate.

Baden-Württemberg, Sundays

Stuttgart, Germany… it’s as lovely as ever in the springtime… part four

Sunday morning, we woke up to more wind and rain. Naturally, that made me decide it was perfect weather for visiting Hohenzollern Castle. Actually, we took some time to decide where to go. I checked the Ausflugstipps für Baden-Württemberg Facebook page again, and saw a couple of possibilities. But I don’t think we felt like driving too far afield, and Hohenzollern is not that far from Stuttgart. It’s near a town called Hechingen, which is just south of Tübingen, a really cool college town Bill and I know very well.

We had been to Hohenzollern before, back in the spring of 2008. Bill’s coworkers at the time had recommended it, so we went there and were mightily impressed by the castle’s beauty and imposing presence on top of a mountain. I remember on that trip, we stopped at the cheesy tourist restaurant near the castle. It was obviously intended for busses, as there was a large parking lot that could accommodate them. On that 2008 trip, we ate some pretty terrible German style Mexican food, served in virtual “troughs”. Well, it probably wasn’t as bad as I remember it, but it was definitely missing something in the translation.

This time, we skipped the tourist trap and drove up to the large parking lot near the castle. Bill used the free WC, and bought our tickets. As of April 1, summer tickets will be available, which means the museum will be open. But, when we visited on March 26th, it was still considered “winter”, which meant we could only visit the grounds. Our tickets were seven euros each. Summer tickets are 22 euros, but include entry to the museum. I seem to remember that when we visited the first time– also in early spring– we had a choice of getting a ticket for just the grounds or one that included the museum/tour. Since we were financially poorer, and didn’t speak German and/or understood a lot less back then, we got the cheap tickets and stuck to the grounds. Now, we would opt for the museum/tour tickets.

One other thing we did differently this time was choosing NOT to walk up the steep path to the castle. This time, we took the shuttle bus, which was seven euros round trip. I gotta say, after having had the mountain goat like experience of climbing the hill, the shuttle bus is so worth it. Especially when the weather is as crazy as it was on March 26th. Bill and I are probably still capable of walking up the mountain, but I remembered it to be pretty exhausting when I was 35 years old. I’m 50 now, and only have so many spoons. 😉

The weather on top of Hohenzollern can be pretty wild. I remember writing about our visit in 2008 and advising visitors to make sure to bring a jacket, unless it’s just the dead of summer… and even then, it’s not a bad idea to have one. I don’t think I brought a jacket during our first visit, and I got pretty cold. This time, I was better dressed, but we experienced quite an array of weather conditions during our visit– everything from rain to wind to sun… and it was noticeably chillier up there, too.

I’m pretty sure our visit in 2008 must have happened in April, because I distinctly remember having a beer in the Biergarten, which wasn’t open during our most recent visit. We did visit the restaurant in the castle and had a nice lunch. I had very hearty Maultaschen, while Bill had the veggie bowl, which was attractive, but kind of bland. I liked my dish a lot, but I didn’t really need food again for the rest of the day! 😉

The current incarnation of Hohenzollern is the third. The castle as it is now was built in the 19th century, so it’s pretty modern as castles go. However, there’s been a castle on Mount Hohenzollern since the 11th century. It’s currently privately owned by the House of Hohenzollern, “with two-thirds belonging to the Brandenburg-Prussian branch, and the balance to the Swabian branch.” Family members still occasionally stay in the castle, with each branch flying their respective flags whenever either is there.

I would like to go back to Hohenzollern again sometime and visit the museum. I actually like this castle more than the much touted and unfinished Neuschwanstein, built by Mad King Ludwig. Hohenzollern is beautiful, and offers impressive views of the surrounding terrain. I’m not sure, but I think Bill and I could even spot the elevator test tower near Rottweil, which we visited in 2018.

I was surprised to see a number of people bringing their dogs to the castle. It’s totally allowed, as long as the dogs stay on their leashes. I’m guessing they walked up the mountain, too. I know I’m no paragon of fitness, but that walk up the mountain is not for slouches. I seem to remember there was a sign after the first stretch near a bus stop, for those who changed their minds and wanted the bus. But maybe they just walked along the road, which takes longer, but isn’t as steep. I remember we walked down the road when we came back down from the castle in 2008. In 2023, we were happy to take the bus.

Here are some photos…

The below photos were taken in 2008. Check out the difference! I kind of wish I’d brought my digital camera. It looks to me like cameras rather than phones produce pictures that look less computer generated.

We went to the gift shop on the way out of the castle, because I saw some souvenirs I thought Bill’s grandchildren might like. We bought a wooden sword and shield for the eldest, a fairy tale princess dress for the middle, and a stuffed hedgehog for the baby. I had to laugh when I noticed the princess dress was made in Canada. It’s now going to be shipped to Utah. I also bought a new jigsaw puzzle for myself.

After our visit to the castle, we decided to drive to Tübingen, as it’s always a good time. However, when we got to our usual parking garage, it was closed! It looked like they were renovating it. So we decided to go to Panzer for. a pee break and to see if the rug guy was there. I wanted to buy a new rug to replace the one Arran repeatedly used as a toilet.

We were in luck! The rug guy was there– but he didn’t have the rug I wanted to replace. We chose a different one. As the guy was folding it up for us, I said “I think we might need the bigger version of that rug.” Bill said he thought I was mistaken… Well, it turned out I was right, so the new rug went in the dining room instead of the living room. But, the rug guy said he was coming to Wiesbaden in three weeks, so maybe we’ll try again then.

We also ran into one of Bill’s old work colleagues from Stuttgart. And… while we were rug shopping, Mother Nature treated us to a nice hail storm! March weather in Germany is absolutely batshit nuts!

After we bought our new rug, which is currently clashing in the dining room, we went back to the hotel and enjoyed another evening of libations. I ended up having a chicken Caesar salad for dinner. Bill had a cheese course. We tried several local wines, too… Below are some miscellaneous iPad photos I took, starting with breakfast. Our poor waitress forgot to put in our orders for egg dishes! Luckily, they were worth the wait. All in all, I’d say Sunday was a great day.


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

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

City Imbiss in Nagold… mmmmm!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

This is an Armenian version of frozen baklava.

And napoleans, too!

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

Pick your mix.

Ditto regarding Russian chocolates, but obviously someone loves it.

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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


Street food fest in Tübingen

We had absolutely beautiful weather today, as well as a range of things we could do to spend our time.  The Cannstatter Volksfest has just started, as well as the historic fest in the Schlossplatz in downtown Stuttgart.  I wasn’t in the mood to put on a dirndl and face the crowds, though, so we decided to go to the Street Food Fest in Tübingen.

Before we left the house, Bill went to the store to pick up some essentials.  He came back about an hour later and I noticed he was standing outside.  I opened the door to ask him what he was doing.  He looked very amused as he told me our elderly German neighbor had just driven up in her car while blaring 70s era Van Halen.  She sat in her car and listened to the whole song before finally exiting her vehicle.  I must admit, even though I didn’t want to share walls with anyone, it’s been a pleasure living next to this lady and her husband.  I’m going to miss them.

This Street Food fest, which started at noon today and runs until 10:00pm tonight, will have the same hours tomorrow.  It’s being held at the fairgrounds in Tübingen.  Last time we went there was for Afrika Fest 2016.  Having now attended a few Street Food fests and Afrika Fests, I think I like those grounds the best.  There’s plenty of free parking and it’s nice and open, so there’s room for tables and crowds are less of a problem.  Below are some pictures from our visit today.  We managed to enjoy some really great food in a nice environment.

We parked next to this classic Fiat.  I had to get a picture for all the car buffs.


The line to go in.  It costs two euros per person.  The toilets are outside of the gates, so if you need to use them while you’re enjoying the food trucks, get your hand stamped.  A security guy checked my purse to make sure I wasn’t packing heat.


I got a kick out of the art on the portalet truck.


We took a stroll around the grounds to see what was being offered.  I saw a lot of burgers and barbecue sandwiches, but I also saw some more exotic stuff.  There was a food truck offering Ecuadorean food, for instance, as well as one selling ostrich sandwiches.  There were also quite a few trucks offering sweets.  One truck was specializing in cocktails, too.

Cocktails anyone?

This was where I got my “sanduche”– basically a delicious pork sandwich with either spicy or peanut sauce.  Bill and I both agreed it was better than his “smoky bird” ostrich sandwich.


My delicious “sanduche”… This was a real hit!  They were also selling ceviche.


Ostrich is actually pretty tasty…

Laf Laf, the awesome Middle Eastern restaurant we tried a few weeks ago, also had a truck and was offering chicken shwarma, which we split.


This guy was selling “deer burgers”…

And he was roasting the deer carcass there for everyone to see.  I don’t eat deer meat, but I think Bill would have liked it.


Lots of people brought their dogs.  I couldn’t help but notice this adorable little girl who looked like a fox.  I looked her up online and I think she might be a Finnish Spitz.  She was so cute and well-behaved!

I told Bill I wanted to try a chocolate pretzel.  He brought it back and told me to be prepared for a mess.  I looked in the bag and said, “Holy shit…” a little louder than I meant to.  A German guy sitting nearby overheard me and started cracking up as I looked at this messy treat.  I must admit, it tasted delicious!  But they didn’t even give us napkins.  I heard a German woman say, “So lecker!”  I turned to see her and a friend struggling to eat one of these things.  It was worth the mess.


They did have other flavors, too.  We brought the rest of it home for later.


For once, I decided to have a non alcoholic beverage.  This was a cola, lemonade, and orange drink.  It was surprisingly good.


Donut truck!  We picked up six for tomorrow morning.

After a couple of hours, we decided to head home.  Our route took us near where we used to live when we came to Germany the first time.  Below are a few pictures of the Wurmlinger Chapel, which I used to be able to see from my backyard.

You can walk to the top of the hill and look in the chapel.  We never did that when we lived near the chapel, but we did go up there a few years ago.  The view is lovely.  

If you like street food from food trucks, I would definitely recommend visiting the festival in Tübingen today or tomorrow.  It’s worth the trip!


Lunch at Laf Laf in Tübingen

Glorious day!  We couldn’t waste it, because winter is coming, my friends…

I woke up this morning feeling pretty “meh” about life.  But we were blessed with absolutely perfect weather, with sunny skies and refreshing temps in the low 70s.  I couldn’t very well let the day go to waste.  Bill and I had been talking about going to the Stuttgarter Weindorf, but I wasn’t really in a wine drinking mood.  Bill suggested a trip to Tübingen, which is always a spirit lifter for me.  We got to the college town at about 1:45pm.

As we were walking to the main thoroughfare going through the city, I tripped and almost faceplanted in front of a whole bunch of Germans.  Fortunately, I was able to save myself from falling, even though I cussed pretty loudly.  For some reason, we crossed on the left side of the street instead of the right, which led us to pass a restaurant we’d never noticed before called Laf Laf: Taste the Middle East.  I don’t know how long this fast food place has been in town.  This was the first time I’d seen it and I was attracted not by signage, but by the smells of grilled food.

Bill was about to walk past when I said, “Hey Baby, come check out this menu.”  One minute spent perusing the offerings convinced Bill we needed to try out this place.  We proceeded to have an excellent lunch for about 22 euros.

Laf Laf, which also has a delivery service, runs like your every day ordinary fast food eatery.  You walk up to the counter, order what you want, grab a drink from the cooler if you want one (all alcohol free) and enjoy.  I had the Multikulti Bowl, while Bill had the Halloumi Bowl.  We shared an order of Hummus Tapas.  They also have a Hummus Bowl, which I imagine will really stick to your ribs.


It’s a little restaurant, very close to the big parking garage…

Bill stands at the counter, ready to order.

They have a nice outdoor seating area, but I only saw one indoor table.  

More tables…

This is the Hummus Tapas.  The hummus is smooth as silk and spread in a layer on the inside of the bowl, with whole chickpeas, pomegranate seeds, cilantro, mint, and a little balsamic vinegar and oil.  It was heavenly and put me over the edge of fullness, but I just had to try it!

Bill’s Halloumi Bowl, which was vegetarian.  It came with falafel, fried cheese, taboulleh, salad, and either yogurt or sesame dressing.  He totally cleaned the bowl and pronounced it delicious.

Lemon soda for me.  Bill had raspberry iced tea.

My Multikulti Bowl had crispy chicken, chicken shwarma, falafel, fries, kraut salad, pickles, garlic sauce, yogurt sauce, taboulleh, and yogurt dressing.  I could have also had this with steak.  I ate maybe half and Bill packed up the rest for later.  I have a feeling he’s going to pig out on the garlic sauce later.  

Sides of lavash.


After you’re finished, you bus your own table.  As I mentioned before, this was a very cheap, filling, and delicious lunch.  Everything was very fresh and it was such a nice change of pace.  We will definitely have to go back and try some of the other stuff.  I probably would have missed it if I hadn’t tripped and crossed on the other side of the street.

After lunch, we decided to hit our favorite Biergarten at the Neckarmüller.  It was just perfect weather for sipping beer by the river and watching the antics of all the punters…

We ran into this on the way there…  I’m not really sure what was going on, but we had to stop because some guy was taking pictures and I didn’t want to photobomb.

The candy store was selling craft beers and beer glasses full of gummi bears.  We didn’t stop in there, but we did visit Vinum to pick up some Georgian wine.  

The Biergarten was lively today.  

Obligatory Bill shot…

These guys were having a lot of fun.  Right after I took this picture, they started doing flips off of their boat into the water.  I got video of some of their jumps, including one where a guy got “pantsed” right before he did his flip into the Neckar River.  He basically ended up mooning everyone sitting in the Biergarten!

A good time was had by all…

And if you love beer, you can be beer royalty…

One of these days, Bill and I are going to try punting…

Maybe we’ll do it sooner rather than later.

But we’ll be sure not to be unauthorized users of the Parkhaus, since we don’t want to be punished…


Today was a perfect example of why Tübingen remains one of my favorite towns in this area and why we’ll miss it when we eventually leave.  I pined for Tübingen during the five years we were back in the States.  It really is a great town!

Maybe tomorrow, we’ll hit the Weindorf…  we’ll see.


Bill’s birthday in Tübingen

Bill and I had big plans to hit the gastro fest in Tübingen today.  However, circumstances kind of got in the way and we never made it to any of the events.  Oh well. We managed to have a good time anyway.

On weekends, I frequently have a few ideas of things to do.  Sometimes it’s a no brainer which activity to choose, mainly because of the weather.  Sometimes we set out to do something and end up doing something entirely different.  It turned out the gastro fest was being done in different venues around the city… or, at least that’s what I think happened.  If we had gone last weekend, we probably would have run into something of substance.  As it was, today we just had a fabulous lunch at Weinstube Forelle and a nice afternoon at the Neckarmüller, which is probably our favorite Biergarten anywhere.

A bonus is that we found a cool new gift/souvenir/craft beer shop that also accepts bottle donations and we picked up a couple more bottles of Georgian wine.  I’d say it was a successful day.  Below are some photos!

We arrived in town to find someone doing a weird version of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet… complete with a guy in drag.


I had visions of trying to find a restaurant we haven’t tried yet, but the call of nature compelled us to stop short of our goals.  We ended up having lunch at an old favorite, the historic Weinstube Forelle.  We got there at just after one o’clock and our waitress welcomed us, as lunch had already wound down a bit.  She was a dead ringer for actress Jamie Lee Curtis.  We ate at this restaurant once when we lived here the first time and three times since we’ve been back.  Every time, we’ve enjoyed good food and service.


A shot of the dining room.


It’s Bill’s birthday.  He looks alright for 54.

Bill ordered one of the specials of the day, wolfbarsch (European sea bass) with spaghetti, cream sauce, and green onions.  It was delicious!  He paired it with a locally produced gray burgundy.

I had dorade filet with broccoli and potatoes.  The broccoli was surprisingly good.  I don’t usually like it that much, but they had drenched it in oil and a seasoning I couldn’t place.  It tasted almost like it was fried, although it wasn’t.  The potatoes were cooked with garlic and green onions; they were also delicious.  And the dorade was also excellent, although I couldn’t finish the whole thing.  


Since it’s Bill’s birthday, we had dessert.  Okay, so it doesn’t have to be a special occasion for me to have dessert… however, it does serve as a great excuse.  He had creme brulee with red cassis and chocolate covered ice cream bites (think Bon Bons).  

I went with a wonderfully summer friendly lemon sorbet paired with mint and cucumber.  Sparkling wine was poured over the sorbet and cucumbers so that it was almost like a float.  This was very light, refreshing, and perfect for summer, even though today isn’t that hot.

Here’s a shot of the outside.  Yes, you can eat out there if you want to.  I guess last night’s sudden rainstorm scared us off.


After lunch, we visited Neckar-Pirat, a very cool shop that sells souvenirs upcycled from random stuff.  I enticed Bill in there because they were selling craft beers.  We stayed because they had some really interesting stuff.

A list of what’s available…

They had clocks made of old vinyl records and hubcaps, as well as bowls made of vinyl records.

They had lamps made from booze bottles… and apparently, they take donations.  Perhaps we should stop in next time we need to dump some of ours.

There were key racks made of old silverware, wallets and eyeglass cases made of cork, and magnets made from beer bottle caps.  Not only is the stuff pretty cool to look at, it makes use of what would otherwise be considered trash.

Bill got himself a t-shirt.

Next time you’re in town, stop in!


Next, we dropped by Vinum for a short visit.  We wanted to pick up some of our favorite Georgian wines, which we’ve only found locally at Vinum.  Then we went to the Neckarmueller for a Biergarten break.

While I was waiting for the restroom, I encountered this microwave oven.  Apparently, it’s open to guests.  Maybe you prefer a warm pretzel?


Below are some scenes from the Biergarten.  I love to come here on a summer Saturday and people watch.  There’s always something going on.  This particular Biergarten has changed a bit since our last tour, when it was arranged differently.

This station, for instance, used to be in a separate building to the right.

This boat was full of a brass band playing “Memory” by Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical, Cats.

I have a feeling these guys might be geschmackered by now.

A group of ice cream eating ladies who lunch.

Pretty soon, the place filled up.  People wanted to watch football.

This was the scene as we were leaving.

We decided to walk back via the river and woods…  Below are photos from our walk back to the parking garage.

This guy and a buddy were playing bocce.

Lovely woods in the city.

And one last shot of the Neckar River.

We walked through the tunnel to get back to the parking area.

This tracks the number of bikers coming through the tunnel every day.  It’s sponsored by the university.

Messages of inclusiveness in the tunnel…  How refreshing!

And a less inclusive message…  or maybe more inclusive, depending on your viewpoint.

But then, back to inclusiveness.

We stopped by Die Kelter for a potty break.  I think Tübingen needs Nette Toilette.  This can turn into a vicious cycle.

I do like their Campari and soda lamps, though.

All in all, Bill had a lovely birthday, even if we never did find our way to the gastro fest.  Oh well.  We had a good time together, which is all that matters, really.  And a week from now, we’ll be in Dublin, celebrating with another concert.


The spring Regionalmarkt in Tübingen

Today’s activity comes courtesy of an ad from Vinum, my favorite wine and spirits store.  Vinum has locations in Tübingen and Reutlingen and I subscribe to their Facebook page.  If I had not been subscribed to their page, I probably would have missed today’s market.  That would have been a shame, because not only was it a great scene today, but Tübingen is always a pleasure in any case.  I love going there on sunny, warm Saturdays, people watching, eating, drinking, and doing the odd bit of shopping.

I was originally afraid we’d have rain today, but after a few sprinkles, the clouds cleared and we made our way to the big Koenig garage by the Klinik as you’re coming into the city from the west.  Every time we visit Tübingen, we also pass our old town (from 07-09) of Pfäffingen.  It never fails to bring back pleasant memories of our first tour in the Stuttgart area.

The very first banner about this twice yearly event featuring products from near the city of Tübingen…  

Flowers… just one of the beautiful products of nature available for sale today.


And fresh pasta!


Garden goodies!

After we parked, we walked into the city and noted the large crowd of people sampling wares in the main square.  Suddenly, it seemed like a good idea to have lunch.  We passed the Alte Kunst on the way up to the square, but then I remembered they had a large Biergarten behind the restaurant.  I walked through an archway and soon found myself in an oasis of quiet and calm.  We chose a table for two near an umbrella.  It was about 12:45 pm and I was surprised more people weren’t out there.  I didn’t have to wonder long.  Within the next half hour, we had plenty of company.

This empty scene lasted maybe ten minutes before the garden was full of smokers and little kids who needed naps.  Not that I’m knocking naps, you see.  I need them myself nowadays.


Bill checks the menu.

It’s asparagus season, so I had risotto with tiny shrimps, white asparagus, Parmesan cheese, and tomatoes.  This was paired with a glass of Pinot Grigio and San Pellegrino.


Bill went with asparagus with Hollandaise sauce and the same wine.  We had originally considered other dishes, but remembered this is the time of year to eat asparagus in Germany.


A family with two small children sat near us.  The children shrieked and cried while they waited for their lunch.  Their parents shushed them as the guy sitting behind me lit up a cigarette just in time for my lunch to arrive.   Once the kids had some lunch, they seemed a lot more contented and started playing with another little boy at another table.  I got a kick out of the other kid.  He was wearing a Fedora hat and looked adorable.  I also appreciated that his friendship calmed the other two kids down a little.  Lunch came to an even forty euros.  Bill paid and we made our way to Vinum, taking note of all of the stalls we needed to visit again on our way home.  We saw everything from fresh bread to fresh cheese, with plenty of other locally made wares like gin, wine, dips, spreads, and handcrafts.







And Schwabian ketchup…


As usual, Vinum had Georgian wine.  We took the two bottles on display, then tasted several they had on special.  The guy who helped us spoke perfect English and looked like he could be a shorter version of our first German landlord’s brother.  I tried some local wine, which he made clear he didn’t like.  We discussed the finer points of how America’s Rieslings are too sweet.  Bill and I have become fans of the Alsatian and locally produced German Rieslings, but before we took the plunge on our second tour here, we avoided them like the plague.  It just goes to show that you should try the local stuff… except maybe the cheese made with raw milk.  Kidding, actually.  Bill loves it.

We walked out of Vinum with four bottles of wine and I suddenly realized I needed to pee again.  So we headed to the Neckarmueller, which also happens to be the location of my favorite Biergarten in this area.  We drank hefeweizens at a table and watched people on the river…  We still need to try punting before we leave.

It’s always time for beer.  Especially if you’re in a German Biergarten on a beautiful spring day.

Today was an excellent day to be on the river, drinking beer…

After our beer and rest stop, we walked around the city some more and did some shopping.  Bill bought some spreads from an African vendor.  We listened to some buskers and I discovered a Moroccan store I had never noticed before.

Or maybe I had seen this store before… but I never stopped in.


Spreads by HottPott…


We made our way to the main square, where we found a man selling locally produced gin.  We tried some and bought a bottle.  I am now enjoying my first gin and tonic of the season.

The guy who was selling this looked like he could have starred on Little House on the Prairie.  I thought he was very handsome.

Bill tried it first, then gave the rest to me because he was driving later.


Okay, maybe he had two sips.


Then we moved on to cheese made with raw milk.  Bill said it was very good.  To me, it just smells like a combination of dirty feet and ass.  Different strokes, I guess.  

Gin is all the rage.  You can even get it to go.

We stopped here for a little dessert for tonight.  We got a lemon tart and a chocolate cake.  Bill spoke German, but the lady behind the counter immediately switched to perfect English.  

I have a feeling this business is owned by Armenians.

You could even get escargot today!  It actually smelled wonderful.

We went into the Rathaus for the first time ever, because we were searching for these before the drive home.  There was an interesting exhibit in the lobby about energy.  

More sights from today’s regional market are below.  This was a one day event, but there will be another regional market on Saturday, October 6th.  If my post has piqued your curiosity, be sure to mark your calendar.  We had a really good time today, but we pretty much always enjoy visiting Tübingen.  It will always be one of our special places.

Piano playing on the street!

You probably have to be a certain age to get this…

I took this as we passed the “Schloss” near Unterjesingen, very close to where we used to live.


Bratwurst in Bebenhausen…

I very nearly gave in to the urge to stay in and read a book this afternoon.  But then Bill said he wanted to go out and do something.  I had been wanting to visit Bebenhausen Monastery for awhile, so I suggested we go there.  It turned out to be a good day for a visit to this monastery, located in a peaceful valley on the outskirts of Tübingen.  The GPS sent us through Herrenberg and Holzgerlingen to get to the kloster, not our usual route to Tübingen.  As the gorgeous monastery appeared on the horizon, I gasped in awe.  It really is a beautiful place.

It turned out Bill missed the turn for the parking lot, so he drove up a hillside and managed to find a lone parking spot right next to the tower pictured below.

The “Schreibturm”…


We passed this little garden area on the way to lunch.

It was about 1:45pm when we arrived, so we felt it would be prudent to get lunch before exploring Bebenhausen.  I have a tendency to get “hangry” and a lot of restaurants take a “pause” after 2:00.

There are several traditional Swabian restaurants in the town.  We stopped at the first one we came to, Gasthof Sonne, which is billed as a “laid back gasthaus”.  The had the Biergarten open and plenty of people were out there enjoying the warmer weather and hazy sunshine.  We took a seat and prepared ourselves for a very typical German lunch.  There was a sign outside that read “warm food” all day on  Sundays and holidays.  But there was also a sign that read that they only serve coffee and cake after 2:30.  I’m not sure which one was accurate for today.

Bill looking impish, probably because I told him I’m about to come after his eyebrows with tweezers.

Beer makes everything better.


This restaurant serves very typical Swabian fare.  It’s very hearty and tastes good, but it will fill you up.  We both opted for sausages.

Bill had the “Linsenteller” (lentil plate) with beer sausages, spaetzle, and lots of lentils.  He probably won’t be hungry again for awhile.

I had bratwurst with potato salad and a mixed salad.  The salad had a really nice dressing on it.  It was kind of like mustard vinaigrette with a twist.  I was sad when a little gravy ended up on my new turquoise shirt.  I need to start carrying a bib with me.


More people came into the restaurant as we were finishing up.  At one point, a party of three asked if they could sit with us.  We actually had three chairs open, although one was at the end of the table and my purse was on it.  I had forgotten I put it there.  Then someone else motioned them over to share their table.  A few minutes later, a young couple came in looking for a table and asked if they could sit with us.  We welcomed them.  They heard us speaking English and apologized in fluent English for not realizing we’re Americans.  Actually, I took that as a compliment.

They wondered if we’d understood their request.  We said we did.  Then they asked where we’re from and we told them.  We also told them we live here.  I was impressed by their language skills and embarrassed by my lack of language skills.  But we probably do okay for Americans…  Bill called for the check, which came to about 31 euros.  Service was friendly and professional and the food was good.  Yeah… after a total of five years living here, I have the German comprehension skills of a toddler.  But I’m slowly getting there.

The outside of Gasthof Sonne.  I’d go back, even if it does get lukewarm reviews on Google.  I noticed at least two other restaurants in this little town, one of which was connected to a small hotel.


We walked back to the monastery and quickly found the entrance, which is situated in a small gift shop that has everything from whisky to cold water for sale.  Admission costs five euros per adult.  There is also a family ticket available.  You walk into the kloster and there’s a “rundweg” that takes you through the monastery.  It’s very beautiful and peaceful inside.  There are signs explaining what you’re looking at, but almost everything is in German.

Littered with coins!

Graves of abbots.

Dormitory room… or “cell”.

Washroom in the dormitory.

Straw mattress?

This was what I was waiting for.  I love walking into European churches.

We finished walking around the monastery, then visited the WC, which is clean and free of charge to use.  Then we walked around the grounds.  It was a beautiful day to tour the area, which is coming alive with spring.

Lots of fish swim in this fountain.

A good view of the parking lot Bill missed.  There’s a larger one further down the road, obviously for buses and overflow.  There’s a brief but pleasant walk from the larger lot.  Parking is free of charge.

To my shame, this reminded me a lot of Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Virginia.  I spent four summers working there.  Of course, Germany for real is way better than fake Germany in Williamsburg.

For another two euros, you can tour the palace kitchen.  I recommend taking the trip, especially since there is information in French, English, and Russian.  It was the only part of the monastery that had information in languages other than German.

Some old style “modern” appliances.

If we’d wanted to, we could have spent more time strolling around the beautiful grounds.

One last shot before we decided to head home.

We took a different route home, driving through Tübingen instead of Holzgerlingen and Hildrizhausen.  Basically, my Mini got a nice tour today.  I put the top down and probably annoyed people with my music.  It was nice to get out.  I’m glad I resisted the urge to stay in and read.

I would highly recommend a visit to Bebenhausen, especially when the weather is so agreeable.  It’s a very beautiful place, even if parking is a bit obnoxious.  And what better thing to do on a Sunday than go to a place where God is the cornerstone of life?


Wining and dining at Ratskeller in Tübingen

We had beautiful sunny weather today, although it was cold and kind of windy.  I got the idea to go to Tübingen to pick up some wine at Vinum Weine & Feines, one of my favorite wine stores in the area.  I wanted to see if they had any Georgian Saperavi.  It’s the only wine shop I’ve found yet in Germany that carries Georgian wines.

Before we hit Vinum, though, we needed to have lunch.  We decided on Ratskeller on a whim.  We’ve passed this place a bunch of times, but never noticed it had a restaurant.  Apparently, it’s a club that hosts bands in the evenings.  I was actually lured there by the sign below…

The sign above the bowl reads :”Bitte, hier trinken anstatt zu pinkeln.”  Translation: Please drink here instead of peeing.  I’d love to know what prompted the management to post that sign…


Today’s specials.


The front facade.  


Bill stares in wonder at the locally produced IPA he found.  It was actually very good.  He was impressed.


Nice to see the Germans getting in on making craft beers.


I had a glass of wine (grenache and syrah blend), which came with a small glass of sparkling water.  Notice under the tulip is an ad for a Jam Session.  The Ratskeller hosts bands.  I think our table was actually on the small stage.

Ratskeller seems to specialize in burgers.  They had everything from a plain ol’ cheeseburger to veggie burgers.  They even had choices for vegans.  I noticed they had a few other items for those who didn’t want sandwiches, as well as soups, salads, and specials.  Bill and I decided to have burgers, although neither of us went for the usual American beef variety.  I had a chicken burger and Bill had a vegetarian apple and cheese burger.  He said the cheese was somewhat mild and it came with a dressing and tomatoes.

Bill’s apple and cheese burger.  This was one of the weekend specials.  He didn’t realize it was a meat free sandwich, but enjoyed it just the same.  The fries were ordered a la carte and came with a “dip”.  They had ketchup and mayo, as well as a number of more exotic dips.  We both had ketchup.


My chicken burger had thin breaded chicken breast filets, sliced tomatoes, a curry dressing, lettuce, cheese, roasted onions, and pineapples.  It wasn’t bad at all, although the burger was pretty large and got kind of messy.  I couldn’t eat the whole thing.


The interior of the restaurant is pretty nice.  There’s an attractive bar area, as well as a cavernous dining room that looks like it was the old cellar.  I noticed they had lots of board games there for people to play.

The “cavern” dining room… on the way to the ladies room.


Board games for the bored.

And the bar.


I noticed there were signs posted warning clients of the patrons of date rape and sexual harassment.  Apparently, Ratskeller and other local night spots are committed to preventing their guests from being harassed.  It was translated into several languages.  I was glad to see it.

“No means no.”

In French and Arabic.

In English…

Our bill came to about 33 euros.  All in all, we enjoyed our lunch and would eat at Ratskeller again.  It has a nice atmosphere, reasonable prices, and pretty good food.  Maybe next time, one of us will brave one of the more conventional beef burgers.  After Bill paid, we headed to Vinum for wine shopping.  I snapped a few more photos on the way.

Someone has a weakness for Gremlins, Garfield, and Odie.  Guess they must be about my age.


The city square is looking fine, as usual.


I especially love visiting here when the sun is out.  Lots of people were enjoying the sun, drinking coffee and beer outside.  It was still a little too chilly for me.  I guess you can take a girl out of the South, but not the South out of the girl.

The entrance to my favorite bottle shop in these parts.  


They have whisky and other tastings, too.  We didn’t partake of any whisky today.


But if you want to try some of their wines, you can help yourself to the ones they set out.


Just grab a glass and go to town!  I only tasted two today.  I’m usually pretty shameless when it comes to tasting wines at Vinum, but restrained myself.


We did manage to score two bottles of Georgian Saperavi.  In fact, we cleaned them out of what they had on display.  I want to encourage them to stock more.  For those who are curious…

This is what we’ve picked up on our last few visits.  If you like leathery, full bodied reds with a lot of character, you may want to give it a try.


This was the total haul.  We were conservative because Bill forgot his wine bag and we are already pretty flush with vino right now.  I just got a bunch of Armenian wines from Armenian Brandy and Wines out of Belgium.


Right next to Vinum is an optical shop.  I liked the eye charts they had for men and women.

Apparently, women prefer shoes…


And men prefer beer.  Actually, I’d rather take the beer test.

On the way to the parking garage, I noticed someone was using a US mailbox.  I haven’t seen one of these in over three years.

Tübingen is always lovely, but especially when the sun is shining!  Bring on spring!


Tomorrow, it looks like we’re going to head to a place we’ve not yet been… provided the weather is decent and we get up and going in time.  We probably should have spent more time out and about today and probably would have, if not for the gusty wind!  I am so ready for better weather!