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

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

City Imbiss in Nagold… mmmmm!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

This is an Armenian version of frozen baklava.

And napoleans, too!

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

Pick your mix.

Ditto regarding Russian chocolates, but obviously someone loves it.

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

Street food fest in Tübingen

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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

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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

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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

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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.

 

 

Sausage…

 

Bread!

 

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…

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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

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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!

Dinner at Afrika Bar und Restaurant– African food in Tübingen

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I had every intention of getting out yesterday, but the depressing weather and my natural tendency toward being lazy kept me at home.  Bill decided that come hell or high water, today we were going to have lunch or dinner somewhere.  He decided he wanted to try the Africa Bar and Restaurant in Tübingen, mainly because he’d seen them at the Afrika Fest in years past and enjoyed their food.  Although I tend to be lazy this time of year, I couldn’t resist the promise of good food in a different setting.  Africa Bar and Restaurant, which has a focus on Ethiopian and Eritrean food, opened at 2:00pm today, so we decided to pay them a visit.

A familiar scene in the Catholic areas near where we lived.  The town we lived in when we lived here the first time was very Catholic and we saw lots of Fasching activities.  Where we are now is more Protestant, so there are no banners in our neighborhood.

We are about to hit prime time Fasching season here in Germany, so I took note of the typical decorations.  Indeed, in Tübingen today, we saw lots of young people decked out in costumes.  It’s their time to have a little fun before Lent starts.  Africa Bar and Restaurant is located near the university in Tübingen and it’s obviously a restaurant that is popular with the students.  We found street parking near the entrance, along with the charming graffiti noted below…

Yep, it’s a college town.

The outside of Africa Bar and Restaurant.  

We were invited to take any free table we wanted, so we picked a four top near the front door.  The menu was in German and Ethiopian and included South African wines and African specialties such as ostrich.

Bill checks out the menu.

 

All of the tables included information on the Injeera bread served with the dishes and how one is to use it while eating.  Also, there was information about the cuisine.

 

Bill and I decided to share a bottle of South African shiraz.  They also had a couple of other red varieties, white wines and blushes, as well as the usual beers and non alcoholic beverages.

This shiraz was very drinkable.  I would order it again.

I have had ostrich meat before and enjoyed it, but to me it’s the kind of thing that has to be done right.  I have had ostrich that I’ve loved and some that has almost made me puke.  So I decided to play it safe and have chicken.  I went with the Doro Wat, which was a very tender chicken leg and thigh with mildly spicy sauce, vegetables, a peeled, hard boiled egg, and very mild white cheese called Ayibe (cottage cheese that is mild and crumbly, kind of with the texture feta, used to soften the spiciness of the stew).

Doro Wat– basically chicken stew.  It was at about the time we got our food that they turned on the African music, which really added to the ambiance.  

Injeera bread.  You’re supposed to use the bread to pick up the food.  It’s kind of moist and tastes a little like sourdough.

Bill went with the ostrich, which was very good.  He had a choice of mild, medium spice, or spicy.  He had the medium spice and said next time, he’d try the spicy.  Bear in mind that Bill is from Texas and likes spicy food.  I don’t like it that much and was fine with the mild heat in my chicken dish.

 

If he hadn’t ordered the ostrich, Bill says he would have tried the vegetarian sampler, which is supposed to be very good.  It comes with lentils, spicy potatoes, and African vegetables.  There are also lamb and beef dishes available.  Most dishes were priced at about 12 euros and were very generously proportioned.  I saw some salads going for about six euros or thereabouts.

We were pretty full after we ate, so we decided to end with some Ethiopian coffee.  We had ourselves a little ceremony, of which I videoed.  See below.

See the steam coming out?  When that stops, the coffee is ready.

 

If you like coffee and don’t mind waiting for it, the Ethiopian coffee ceremony is an experience well worth enjoying.  First and foremost is the delightful aroma that comes from the coffee brewing.  It smells like chocolate and coffee and is just heavenly.  Then there’s the ritual of making the coffee and waiting for it to get to the right strength.  There’s popcorn for that.

Waiting… waiting… eating popcorn… and waiting…

 

There’s enough coffee for two cups each.  It’s served black and strong, with optional sugar if you want it.  I usually like a little cream in my coffee, but this was a pleasure to taste black with some sugar.  It was a great way to cap off a delicious and interesting meal.

All told, our bill came to about 57 euros.  Bill tipped generously, which earned a hearty thank you from our server.  We will definitely be back to try more of the East African delights at the Africa Bar and Restaurant.  In the warmer months, a terrace is available.  It’s also near a jazz club, which I know I would enjoy.

If you’re tired of the usual food in Stuttgart and don’t mind a trip to Tübingen, I would highly recommend a visit to the Afrika Bar und Restaurant.  We found the food and service warm and the prices very agreeable… better yet, they had everything advertised on their menu, which is not always the case in some of the more exotic restaurants we’ve tried.  Open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Saturday (with a pause from 2-5pm) and from 2:00pm until 11:00pm on Sundays.  Monday is their Ruhetag.  Thumbs up from us!

New glasses and lunch #2 at Il Due in Nagold…

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A couple of days ago, Bill and I went to the optometry clinic on Patch Barracks.  We both badly needed to get our eyes checked.  It had been about three years for both of us and I knew my prescription had changed noticeably.  So we went in and had a good exam, which I wrote about here.

Today, we decided to take advantage of the American/non German holiday and visit a optical shop.  We went to Nagold, because there are several eyewear shops there.  We stopped into Pro Optik, which is clearly a chain, and picked out frames.  We happened to be there during a sale, which was a good thing.  I found frames that I think/hope will be more comfortable than the ones I have now.

The guy who helped us was really young and spoke a little English… his English was better than our German.  Using both languages, we got the job done.  He got us set up for glasses and we gave him a short lesson on American politics.  Like most every German we run into, he was interested in our thoughts on Trump and Clinton.  He even laughed and said, “Fuck Trump.”, which I thought was interesting.  In America, if you heard someone helping you in an eyewear store saying that, they’d probably get fired!

After about a half an hour or so, he had our fittings done and said we’d have new glasses by December 8th.  We’ll be out of town if that’s when they get to us, but at least I have the right contact lens for my right eye, which needed a stronger prescription.  I can see a whole lot better now.  I think our two pairs of glasses will cost approximately five hundred euros together.  I’ll be glad to ditch the ones I’ve been wearing and it’ll be nice to see Bill in a pair that weren’t issued by the Army.

I very rarely wear glasses, so I have never really shopped for them very often.  Today, after realizing that we don’t speak German, the sales staff kind of left us to our own devices to pick out frames.  It was kind of nice.  Usually, I get some lady in the optometrist’s office trying to get me to upgrade.  I remember in 2002, I bought new glasses and got the kind that turn into sunglasses.  They were very expensive and ultimately a waste of money, since I rarely wear my glasses out of the house.  Last time, I bought a pair in Georgia.  They were on sale and look okay, but they aren’t very comfortable.  I think the new pair is a little more comfortable and more my style.  I probably still won’t wear them much, though.

After we ordered our glasses, we decided to have lunch at Il Due, which is an Italian place we tried for the first time last month.  I’ll be honest.  I wasn’t planning on having lunch in Nagold, but the smell outside of Il Due was so good that I was lured in.  Bill was game, too.

Today, we opted for some traditional Italian.  They had lasagne as a special.  After finding out there were no mushrooms in it, I ordered that.  It came with a side salad.  Bill had a Pizza Salami.

My side salad.  They have a few varieties of dressings available.  I went with a vinaigrette.  

Bill’s pizza was outstanding!  We will have to come back and get take out from there.  It was probably some of the best locally made pizza I’ve had yet.

And my lasagne, which was delightfully cheesy and included peas and meat sauce.  It was a little bland, but otherwise very enjoyable and filling.  I couldn’t quite finish it.

As we were enjoying lunch, we were marveling at how many nice restaurants we have in Nagold.  Seriously… for its size, it really does offer a great variety of high quality eateries.  I think I like it more than even Tuebingen.  We had half of Bill’s pizza packed up and paid about 33 euros before tip for our lunch.  Tonight, I think we’re having pork loin at home.  I’d like to have a Thanksgiving meal, but it’s just the two of us.  That’s one bummer about being in Germany during the holidays.  But at least there are good restaurants here.

Kenn dein Limit… and lunch at Krumme Brücke in Tübingen

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I saw this poster today and was rather proud that I managed to decipher it in under five minutes.

My eyes are finally back to normal and we had very pleasant weather today, so Bill and I decided to take a trip to Tübingen for lunch.  Actually, we started off and halfway there, I got paranoid about my curling iron.  I wasn’t sure if I turned it off.  So we turned around and came back.  I unplugged the iron, whizzed, and we started off again.  Then Bill got paranoid that the front door wasn’t locked.  Fortunately, we weren’t yet out of the neighborhood before he decided to turn around and check the lock.  All was fine, so off we went.  We reached Tübingen at about 2:00pm, which is when some restaurants stop for a pause in service.

The sign out front…

 

Nice…

Because we had arrived at the witching hour, we decided not to be too choosy about where we had lunch.  I noticed a pleasant aroma coming from Krumme Brücke, a little eatery I’ve passed a hundred times all five years we’ve lived in this area.  Although we have passed this restaurant many times and I have been curious about it, today was the first time we ever stopped in for food.

At 2:00pm, the place was pretty busy.  Most of the tables were full, though we managed to find a two top by the masonry heater across from the bar.  I saw some steps and wondered if maybe there was an upstairs dining room, but there wasn’t.  The short flight of steps led to the kitchen the the tiny bathrooms.  Krumme Brücke is truly a hole in the wall kind of place with not a lot of seating, especially as the weather cools down and everyone eats indoors.

The menu at Krumme Brücke is fairly eclectic.  Not only do they not take a pause between lunch and dinner, they also have a menu that is full of different stuff.  I think it’s mainly a German/steak restaurant, but I saw pasta, fish, and even a few “international” dishes.  I had gyros, for instance.  Bill had cevapcici, which is a Balkan dish.  I also noticed soups and salads.

Bill checks out the vitals on the victuals.

I wasn’t actually that hungry when we entered the restaurant, which was a blessing, because it took awhile before the wait staff got to us.  As we were waiting, the last three normal sized tables filled up, with only one tiny table facing the kitchen remaining open.  It had three chairs around it and appeared to be suitable only for drinks.  Speaking of drinks, it took awhile before we got ours.  But we both settled on Urtyp by Schwaben Brau, which was on draft.  We could have also chosen a bottled beer, wine, or any number of non alcoholic drinks.  It appeared that they had a full bar.

We tried not to be too conspicuous as we sat there waiting, but I couldn’t help but notice the young balding guy sitting at the large table next to us.  He kept staring at us.  I’m not sure why he was staring or why this often seems to happen to us in Tübingen area restaurants.  He wasn’t as obvious about it as the lady at Lustnauer Mühle was, but he was definitely noticeable in his noseyness.  Maybe it was my blue sweater.  I was wearing the same one today as I was during the last time we were assailed by a “looky lou”.

The other thing I noticed about this restaurant was that they were playing some really good American rock and soul from the 60s and 70s.  I was enjoying the music when I could hear it.  That’s actually one thing I note when I’m in a restaurant or a store.  If they play annoying Muzak, I probably won’t be back, especially if it’s a restaurant.  I have no complaints about the music in Krumme Brücke.

Bill’s Cevapcici, little sausages with ajvar sauce (mild red pepper sauce), fries, and onions.  It was pretty good and reasonably priced.  

My “German style” gyros.  I’m pretty sure this was once a schnitzel that was cut into strips and served with a rather watery tzatziki sauce.  I did enjoy the fries, though, which were nice and crisp.  The gyros tasted okay, but they weren’t really Greek style.  I probably wouldn’t order this again, although the German dishes I saw coming out looked really good.

  

Today’s offerings.

Once we finished up, Bill called for the check.  It was just over 26 euros.  After we paid, we headed over to Vinum.  We weren’t really planning to go there; I think I was just lured there out of habit.  We dashed in for a quick look, grabbed their last bottle of Georgian wine, and picked up a few cheap everyday bottles they were featuring on their tasting table.

We walked back toward the car a different way and I stumbled upon a do it yourself ceramic place.  We didn’t go in there, but I took note of it, because I figured some local American readers might be interested.  It appears to be a place where you can book an apartment to paint your own ceramics.

A couple of pics of Al Farbrica for the curious.  Like I said, I know next to nothing about this place, but am noting it for those who enjoy such activities.  We saw several women in there with girls and they appeared to be having a good time painting ceramics.  I also picked up a brochure, though it might be better to simply load the Web site in Google Chrome and get the low down.

 

We pressed on until we got to Die Kelter, which has sort of our go to spot for a final pee before we make the drive home.  We stopped in for a glass of primitivo for me and a double espresso for Bill.

They have The New Yorker in English and funky music to go with their beverages.

A parting shot before we made our way home.  I love Die Kelter.

One thing I noticed in the bathroom was a sign (at the top of this post) warning people not to drink too much.  It was in the bathroom stall, where many people have probably suffered the worst effects of being drunk.  It’s funny, because Die Kelter’s toilets are on the third floor and it’s a bit of a hike to get to them.  I would imagine it would be especially bad if one was very inebriated trying to get to them.  You have to climb several flights.  But anyway, I tickled myself by understanding the sign.  Basically it said that man can’t walk on one leg, nor on all four legs.  So know your limit or suffer the consequences!  They even have a Web site!

Alas, I don’t always…

So… that about does it for today’s blog post.  We’ll see what I come up with tomorrow.  Next week, we’re headed back to Ribeauville, so there will be France posts.