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Where has Limburg been all my life?

First thing’s first. I had no plans to visit the Hessian city of Limburg, Germany today. I went there because I follow Wiesbaden Fest Finders on Facebook, and I run my own “wine and food” group, mostly for Americans in Stuttgart and Wiesbaden. My food and wine Facebook group started in 2017, when Bill and I lived in Stuttgart, and we made a point of trying new restaurants and doing new stuff every weekend. In those days, we had no clue that we’d eventually move to Wiesbaden, and we had even less of a clue that there would be a global pandemic.

In late 2018, when we moved from Stuttgart to Wiesbaden, just about everyone in my Facebook group was based in Stuttgart. It was a pretty active group then. Since I spent six years living there in two different stints, I decided to just tack Wiesbaden onto the name of the group. In 2018, I thought I’d be going to Stuttgart often, if only because that’s where my dentist is. The main difference is, I don’t belong to a bunch of Wiesbaden groups. Living in Stuttgart and dealing with social media drama there made me want to be more under the radar. So I kept the group going, but while I thought I’d be going to Stuttgart more often than I do, that hasn’t happened. Thank COVID for that.

I still have lots of Stuttgart members, and some Wiesbadeners have joined. It’s not a particularly popular group, and frankly, I’ve been thinking about going defunct. But just when I’m about to abandon the group, something exciting happens that makes me keep going. Today was one of those days. Today, we discovered Limburg! And no, it’s not where the infamously stinky cheese comes from; that’s in Belgium.

A whole shitload of wine fests are happening right now in the Rheingau. I posted several of them this morning. The Limburg fest happened to be the first one I shared in my group. I was a little curious about Limburg, because in 2020, when we were trying to adopt a dog from a German rescue, we had a home visit done by a lady who was from Limburg. She said it was about 45 minutes away. She approved us for adopting the dog, but tragically, it didn’t work out for us. But no matter. Now we have Noyzi, the wonder dog from Kosovo.

So anyway… that brings me to this morning, as I was contemplating whether or not I wanted to go out, having just recovered from my first official bout with COVID-19. I finally decided that I did want… and NEED… to get out of the house. Like I wrote before, there were many things going on today. We had our pick. But I decided I wanted to go to Limburg, so that’s where we went. And, I have to say, we had a great time! This was our first time in Limburg, but God willing, it will not be our last. What a cute town! It’s on the Lahn River, and there are so many splendid timbered buildings dating back hundreds of years. The weather was perfect, and when we got there, I was enchanted by the many adorable shops. I even found something I wanted to buy, but decided not to, when I realized how heavy it was.

We stopped at the Leon Gerhard Weingut stall and tried several wines. I would have liked to have tried others, but we were a little pressed for time, thanks to the parking garage. It was one where you prepay, rather than pay when you’re done. Bill’s credit card wouldn’t work, and for once, we were short on spare change. While I didn’t think the cops were gonna bust us for overstaying, Bill was in a hurry… and we did have hungry dogs to consider.

There were a whole bunch of vintners at the Wine Fest, as well as food purveyors. As we were leaving, musicians were setting up for live music. I couldn’t help but feel so grateful to be in Germany now… as my homeland is embroiled in endless political bullshit, Germany is having wonderful festivals, reminding us that sometimes you just need to chill out and enjoy some wine and company. God bless Germany. It will always have a piece of my heart.

As for Limburg, it definitely didn’t stink… again, the infamously smelly cheese, comes from the Limburg area of Belgium, not Germany. So although I will make jokes about stinky cheese and cheesiness, this town isn’t the one affiliated with famously pungent cheese. We’ll be back, because I’m sure they have lots of fests. We were only there for a few hours, but I feel like I got a short vacation, and it was great for my soul. Especially when we visited Limburger Dom, which is a uniquely beautiful cathedral that has its origins in the 9th century.

We did stop for lunch at Werner-Senger Haus, which is a very cute and historic restaurant in a building that dates from the 1200s. We ate in their garden, which was up a couple of flights of stairs, or accessible from a gate on the other side of the restaurant. It was hot, so we drank Weizens, and I had a Wildschwein Burger, while Bill had Wildschwein Bratwurst with Pfifferlingen mushrooms. The food was good, and there was plenty of it, although it was a bit messy! Both dishes came with a Preiselbeer sauce that was a bit heavily applied on my burger, which was “molded” rather than hand shaped. But it tasted okay, even if it was a little rarer than I like it.

As we were leaving Werner-Senger Haus, I noticed a portrait on the wall near the door. I thought maybe it was Werner Senger, but my German friend was kind enough to edify me with the startling truth. Apparently, the man in the portrait is the Schinderhannes, Johannes Bückler. The restaurant is in the house where he was brought after he was captured. Wikipedia tells me that Johannes Bückler was an outlaw and thief who lived from 1778 until November 21, 1803, when he was guillotined in nearby Mainz. Bückler was famous for organizing one of the biggest crime sprees in German history, so we were dining on true historic ground! I did marvel more than once that I thought the restaurant was really cool looking, but now I know it’s very historic, too.

I might have preferred street food at the fest, but I needed to pee, and as we walked through there, the public WCs weren’t quite open for business. They were when we came back an hour or so later. Our bill at the restaurant was about 49 euros. I would like to go back, if only because it really was such a unique and historic building, just as so many others in that town are. I felt like I got a half day vacation!

Below are some photos…

We had a great time today. I am sure we’ll be back to Limburg. It’s a very nice town, and I’ll bet they have some great fests. And once again, I am so glad to be living in Germany. I don’t know how long we’ll be here, but today was a reminder to enjoy and learn from every moment. Today was a treat, and I hope we can get back into enjoying them more often. At least until COVID gets bad again.

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Lunch at Benner’s Bistronomie and the last day of Wiesbaden’s Wine Fest!

We didn’t go anywhere on Saturday. I got kind of a late start and, by the time I was finished with my Saturday chores, it was already about 1:00pm. The sky was dark, and rain was promising to fall, so despite Bill’s desire to venture out, I demurred. Since we stayed in on Saturday, I agreed to go out yesterday. Bill made reservations at Benner’s Bistronomie, located in Wiesbaden’s grand Kurhaus.

Benner’s is in the location that used to house a restaurant called Lambertus. We ate at Lambertus in April of 2019. I remember liking the place, especially since the inside of the Kurhaus is historic and beautiful. I didn’t know Lambertus had ceased operations, but we were game to try the new tenant in the old world European building. I’ll say one thing for Wiesbaden; it sure is a pretty town! There’s a lot of graceful architecture and grandiosity, especially downtown. It’s what some Americans might call “fancy”.

Our reservations were for 2:30pm. We made them for later because yesterday was also the last day of a wine festival in Wiesbaden we’ve been trying to get to. We were going to hit the wine fest last week, but I was inconvenienced by a certain monthly visitor and didn’t feel like going anywhere.

Like Saturday, it appeared that we might be in for some rain. When we approached Benner’s, there were a few people sitting outside. The server who spoke to us in unmasked German advised that we might want to eat inside because it would be more “gemütlichkeit” (pleasant, cozy). Noticing the heavy dark, grey clouds, we agreed– as she reminded us to wear masks. We put them on and went inside; no one asked to see proof of vaccines or anything, not that I was expecting them to do that. So far, we haven’t run into anyone who cares if we’ve had the shot(s).

I’ll state right away that our lunch was excellent. The food was very good. The service was friendly, if not a little bit absent-minded. We had to remind the server to bring us sparkling water. We also happened to be there at the time when a lot of people were wanting coffee and cake. Having waited tables myself, I know that the coffee and cake orders can be more work for less money! Anyway, here are some photos from yesterday’s repast!

After paying with a credit card and tipping in cash, we headed out to the wine festival. Much to our surprise, there was security there, but it seemed that they really just wanted to make sure everyone was registering with Luca or Corona Warn, the two contract tracing apps being used in Germany right now. I definitely like Corona Warn best of all the apps, since it does more– holds my vaccine certificates (which again weren’t checked) and allows me to scan the QR code for contact tracing. It’s also in English. Luca just does contact tracing. I also have Cov Pass, but it’s not as user friendly for Americans, since it’s in German.

Below are some photos from the wine fest. They had one tent that was serving food, and several wine tents. We only visited one, and I tried several different vinos…

Although we got rained on and it was actually a bit chilly outside, especially for August, we had a really nice time at the fest. I was reminded of how much I’ve missed these kinds of events since the pandemic started. Things are definitely not normal here, but they’re much more normal than they were a year ago. I’m grateful for that… yesterday was definitely a morale booster!

We have plans to go to the Black Forest at the end of the month. We will visit Stuttgart to see our dentist, then spend four nights in a beautiful spa resort in Baiersbronn, about 30 or 40 minutes from where we used to live. As much pain as we went through in our last house, I am glad we lived there. It gave us the chance to explore the Black Forest on many day trips– we completely missed that experience the first time we lived in Germany! And now that we don’t live so close, we have an excuse to vacation down there. Maybe that’s one gift of COVID life… if not for the pandemic, we’d be wanting to go farther afield, and we’d still be missing the closer gems available to us right here in Germany.

I don’t know if we’ll get around to taking a “big” vacation this year. If we don’t, I’m happy to keep enjoying long weekends in places that aren’t too far away from us. Especially if the weather stays agreeable.

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