We almost didn’t make it to the second day of the wine fest in Breckenheim, mainly because of the weather. Yesterday, it rained a fair bit, which we really needed. But it did sort of put a damper on our enthusiasm to join in with the festivities. Bill and I decided to go to the fest anyway, because I wanted to see if anyone was there. Sure enough, plenty of folks had shown up for wine, live music, and street food.
We were originally only going to have one glass of wine at the stand we missed on Friday night, but we ran into some people we knew, and I was enjoying watching people dance, sing, and drink. Lots of kids were there, too, having a good time. I got some photos and videos of the fest. Although there’s no rain on the forecast, I don’t think we will attend today, because frankly, my body is still recovering. We have a bad habit of not eating when we attend these fests, thinking we’ll eat at home. And then when we get back, we don’t feel like cooking. 😉
As you can see, I was sporting the drowned rat look, because we didn’t bother to bring umbrellas.
This year, we seem to be attending so many wine fests! It’s probably on account of COVID-19 restrictions finally going away. October is coming, and there may be new restrictions, based on what the virus does. For now, Germans are having their beloved festivals, and where we live, they’re all about the wine. Remember that we moved to Wiesbaden in late 2018, so we missed the 2018 season. In 2019, it was “normal”, but we were dealing with stress associated with our departure from Stuttgart that put a damper on our spirits. Then came 2020 and 2021, and fests were significantly reduced. In 2022, things have rebounded a lot.
Our little town of Breckenheim is up and coming. We just got a weekly market, which started last week, probably to justify the installation of the new public toilet (which I got to use last night). This week, had a market AND a wine fest. I anticipate that there will be a lot more socializing in our village, and it’s a great thing. I’ve stated more than once how much we have enjoyed how convivial Breckenheim is. It’s a very different, friendly, mostly inclusive vibe here that helps to make up for losing the awesome beauty of the Schwarzwald in our backyard.
Bill came home from his latest business trip yesterday afternoon. He took Arran to the vet, because he’s been a little “off” lately, plus his run ins with the hedgehog in our backyard resulted in his getting fleas. Hedgehog fleas apparently don’t infest dogs and cats like regular fleas do, but they do bite. I noticed Arran had swollen popliteal lymph nodes, too. So he got a fine needle aspirate, antibiotics, and flea meds. One of the fleas was kind enough to jump off of Arran when he was being examined. Bill said the vet, two techs, and he all worked together to corral the nasty beast so it can be studied under a microscope. I’m hoping that whatever has Arran acting odd will turn out to be related to the fleas and isn’t due to cancer. He’s about 14 years old now, and our last three dogs succumbed to cancer. Arran was a little slow this morning, but after he had some breakfast and a walk, he perked up a bit.
The wine fest is going to go on all weekend. We’ll probably go again, because we had so much fun last night. At first, there were a couple of ladies giving us the side eye when they heard us speaking English to another American. Later, our next door neighbor’s mom came over to talk to us. She went over and sat with the ladies, and probably told them we weren’t tourists. Then our landlord bought us a round of wine. And then the young family who is moving to our neighbor’s vacant apartment came over with their kids, and we had a great time chatting with them. I have a feeling they are going to be good friends. They even asked us to carve a jack o’ lantern for Halloween, because they want to celebrate it. I’m happy to do that. I’m not very good at carving pumpkins, though.
Halloween is kind of hit or miss in Germany. One year, during our first stint in Germany, we had people come to our door and we weren’t prepared. Then we weren’t home other years. Bill now picks up candy in case anyone rings the bell, but no one ever does. Looks like this year will be different. This is the same family who brought me a piece of the pretzel the other day. I found out that the mom is half Italian, which explains why she found the Stuttgart area to be less friendly. It’s my experience that Italians are stereotypically a lot warmer– sympatisch— as my Italian friend who lives in Germany would say– than people from Swabia are. At least at first. I’ve found that most Swabians will eventually warm up, once you get to know them. It just usually takes more time than it does up here in Hesse.
We were only going to stay a little while last night, then go home and have dinner, which is why we didn’t try the food vendor’s wares. Instead, we ate a pretzel with Spundekäs, which wasn’t enough… especially considering how much wine we enjoyed. There were maybe four or five wine stands going, plus live music, plenty of seating, and the new toilet, which we learned last night cost taxpayers 120,000 euros or so… No wonder so many people were upset about it and a news guy from the local radio station was asking for opinions last year! But it is a nice facility, at least for now. And it’s Kostenfrei (free of charge), which really makes it special. 😉 I tried the new toilet, but failed to lock it properly. Luckily, I was finished when someone opened the door on me and said, “Entschuldigung!” (excuse me) I suppose I’ll learn the right way to lock the door, now that the village is about to be bustling with events.
Below are some photos from last night’s fun, plus a couple of videos from Bill’s return home.
Last night, we missed the wine stand in our village, because Bill’s bosses reserved a couple of tables at the annual wine festival in Wiesbaden. I should mention that this festival is usually held every year, but because of COVID-19, it was not held in 2020 or 2021. We did attend in 2019, but we went by ourselves at the end of the fest, when things were much calmer than they were last night! Back when Bill was still on active duty in the Army, we might have called this event “mandatory fun”, although it wasn’t actually mandatory. But it was supposed to be for Bill’s work pals… and they graciously let spouses and significant others come, too.
Bill and I got to the reserved tables at Weingut Hamm’s tent early, mainly because his boss said that he was going to get there at about 5:00 to make sure our tables were open. We were there for over an hour with Bill’s boss, drinking wine and hanging out until the rest of the group started showing up. It was very loud, and quite chummy, with many smokers and people with body odor. But it IS Germany, after all, and that’s to be expected. I enjoyed visiting with Bill’s friends, and I managed to be on my best behavior, except at the end, when I made a crude joke to Bill’s boss. Fortunately, he has a raunchy sense of humor. 😉
I don’t have much to say about what we did last night, except that it involved a lot of drinking, loud talking, eating pretzels, and peeing. I noticed that the price of the toilets went up to 80 cents, too! But, they were clean and well stocked, and there were plenty available. Bill and I will probably go again on our own, since this fest runs through next weekend. I sense that a lot of folks were eager to party, given how so many popular events have been canceled. I also have a feeling that I’ll probably get another COVID exposure alert on my Corona Warn app.
I wish we’d made an effort to eat something besides pretzels. I was not feeling well this morning. I did do a COVID test, though… negative so far. Hopefully, it will stay that way. Below are some photos and a video of what we saw and experienced last night. It was quite a celebration, even if I’m kind of paying for it today! I didn’t walk around the whole fest, since we were there with a group. I would like to go back just to see what and who else was there… but maybe I’ll do that after I feel less hungover.
In spite of my rough condition this morning, I love these kinds of fests in Germany. People are usually in a good mood and interested in having fun. There’s plenty of security, medical assistance, and nobody brings weapons. I enjoy how civilized Germany is… and how we can have fun without being put at risk. I’m, once again, grateful to be here. I hope it continues for a long while.
Because I run a food and wine group on Facebook, I often find wine fests, food fests, and other food and drink related stuff, which I share with people in my group. Last weekend, we went to Limburg, which we might not have done if not for that group and my realization that having it encourages me to go out and see Germany instead of sitting on my can at home. I was kind of hoping for a similar discovery today, as there are two wine fests going on that I know of, and probably more if I were to do a deep dive into the calendars of communities around us.
I knew that a couple of the wine fests looked like they would be open at 5:00, since that’s when they opened last night. However, this was not stated on Facebook, nor was it the rule last weekend. So Bill and I decided we’d go to nearby Flörsheim’s wine stand, mainly because it’s super close to us, but also because we had never been there before. I decided that because we’d never been to Flörsheim, I was curious to see if it was “cute”, especially since it’s on the Main River. Maybe we missed the cute part of town, but to me it looked boring and suburban, and aside from a few interesting looking churches, I saw no reason to hang out there, especially today. The weather today is PERFECT… almost no clouds, and about 77 degrees, with a pleasant breeze.
We ended up driving past where the fest was to be… and clearly later in the day, probably in about a half hour as I write this, they will open up and people can sit at a table overlooking beautiful vineyards and sip wines from the region. But we decided that it wasn’t absolutely imperative that we go to a wine fest, so we ended up in very cute Hochheim, which is a town just a few miles from where we live. We went there in late 2018, when Bill first arrived in Wiesbaden. His boss at the time lived in Hochheim, and had arranged a wine tasting and holiday dinner. The boss has since moved on, but the town is still adorable, as evidenced by today’s photos. We need to spend more time in adorable Hochheim, especially when they have wine stands. We stumbled on one today! Below are a few random shots of Flörsheim that I took from th
When I think of Flörsheim, I think of shoes. In the USA, that was a brand name of shoes, especially in the 70s and 80s. Google says Florsheim (no umlaut) is still around. I don’t know if there is a connection. If there is, I saw no obvious evidence of it.
Anyway, we went through Hochheim on our way home, and noticed there was a wine stand going on, so we decided to stop, walk around a bit, and later, try some wine… And now I know that we need to visit this town more often, since it’s very close to us, super cute, and full of wine tasting opportunities. Seriously… where has Hochheim been all my life? See below to see how cute the town is.
We spent probably a good 90 minutes or so, quaffing whatever. Bill was good, and had a schorle (wine and sparkling mineral water) and a glass of grape juice with sparkling water. I, on the other hand, decided to abuse my liver. I tried a lot of what they had. We left when it was getting closer to 4:00pm. The dogs needed to be fed, and it looked like things were winding down. Several people brought their dogs, and it was just a really pleasant day.
I got the sense that the people at the wine stand were locals who knew each other. I enjoyed how the biker ladies, all in matching t shirts, welcomed one later joiner. It was all fun, convivial, and I felt very safe and welcome there. Once again, I thanked Bill for bringing me to Germany to live. It really is a nice place to be, especially these days.
The Limoncello Spritz, by the way, is easy to make. One part limoncello, one part Sekt, finish with sparkling water, and rub lemon on the rim of the glass. Garnish with lemon. It was even served with ice, which is a rare thing here. Very nice!