The weather was so beautiful yesterday. It was about 74 degrees, sunny, and breezy. I was actually a bit tempted to just sit in the backyard and enjoy music and the gorgeous weather. But it was Friday night wine stand time, and pretty soon, those will be ending for the winter. So we got Noyzi and went down to the Dorfplatz, walking down some steps at the church’s community building, because someone is building a house next to the narrow alley that leads down there and they have the alley blocked off.
We decided to sit on the other side of the Dorfplatz last night, because someone beat us to our usual spot and they had a dog with them. Noyzi is very friendly to other dogs, but he can be kind of noisy and fidgety. So we found a spot on a bench and enjoyed some wine in the late summer September sun. Noyzi got to meet several dogs and their owners, including one dog that looked a bit like a setter or a pointer. I think they would have had a good time frolicking if they’d had the opportunity.
A good time was had by all… and then when the sun went down, we went back to our house and had burgers. Unfortunately, we had a slight mishap last night that required a middle of the night laundry run. But then we slept in until about 8:00 AM. I haven’t done that in ages!
I’m not sure what we’ll do today. Once again, the weather is perfect. I love this time of year, and I appreciate living in a little village where we can have these fun evenings with our neighbors. It’s always fun watching Noyzi blossom into the dog he was meant to be. He’s so sweet and gentle, even toward little dogs. He met a couple of them last night, too, and was very good.
We had great weather over the weekend, so I told Bill that, in no uncertain terms, I wanted to venture out and do something fun and unusual. Originally, I had given thought to visiting the Kubacher Kristallhöhle (Crystal Cave), here in Hessen. It’s about an hour’s drive from our home in Breckenheim. I love visiting caves, even though they can be hard work to explore. Touring the Kubacher Kristallhöhle is potentially a strenuous activity, as it requires going up and down a lot of stairs.
I don’t know if it’s as hard as the Laichinger Tiefenhöhle, a cave near Stuttgart that we visited in 2017, but I do know I’m six years older now, and not as fit. ;). The Laichinger Tiefenhöhle legitimately kicked my ass. I got sick with a cold after our visit and spent the week in bed. Since Bill has to go away this week, I thought it might be better to do something potentially less taxing. Plus, again, we had beautiful weather. That’s when I decided we needed to visit the beautiful vintner town of Rüdesheim am Rhein.
We last visited Rüdesheim in early April 2019. I remember it was a chilly day, and there weren’t a lot of tourists there, although it was clearly a very touristy place. I wish I had read my earlier blog post about this town before we went there yesterday. I see that we, once again, missed seeing the torture museum. 😉 But Google tells me it’s closed now, anyway. Oh well. Interestingly enough, I see there’s a very primitive looking Web site for the museum that still lists prices in Deutsch Marks!
We arrived in Rüdesheim at about 1:00 PM or so, just in time for lunch. When Bill headed for the Seilbahn, the reason we visited, I said I thought it might be a good idea to eat first. Although I felt pretty sure there would be food on the hillside where the “skyride” ends, I figured there would be less choice. And I know from too many prior experiences that I need to eat before I try to do anything ambitious. 😀 I saw an inviting looking menu at the Wirtshaus Drosselmüller, a no frills place on the main drag.
We walked into the restaurant and had a seat on the rear balcony. A waitress in a Dirndl took our order– Hefeweizen and fried chicken with pommes for me, and a Helles and Bierbrat with beer sauce, potato dumplings, and cole slaw for Bill. After a leisurely lunch and potty break, we were ready to fly.
Off we went to the Seilbahn. By the time we got there, it was about 2:40. The attraction closes at 7:00 PM, which meant that we probably didn’t have enough time to do the most expensive “tour”, which at 22 euros a person includes a round trip ticket on the skyrides, a visit to the castle, and a short Rhein River cruise. You can buy your tickets at the office, or at an automated machine. The cars only take two people at a time, but you can also bring your dog. I’m not sure Noyzi would fit too well in the Seilbahn, as big as he is! Bikes cannot be transported on the Seilbahn.
Next time, we’ll have to arrive earlier to do the “Romantic” tour that features the works, because after yesterday’s ride on the Seilbahn, I am sure to want to do it again. Yes, there was a line, but it moved fast and was such a fun and relaxing ride, soaring over the grape laden vineyards. I got lots of pictures. I also got a short video, which shows the magic of the Seilbahn and the beautiful views of the Rhein Valley.
When we got to the other side of the field– the Niederwald– sure enough, there was a snack bar and restaurant. There was also an overpriced toilet… one euro! What a rip off! 😉 Nevertheless, there’s a beautiful view of the Rhein River and Rüdesheim, as well as the majestic Niederwald Monument, which was built between 1871 and 1883 to commemorate the Unification of Germany. It’s a very impressive statue that overlooks Rüdesheim and makes for a great photo opportunity.
As we were strolling around the Niederwald, we passed a little souvenir stall where they were selling signs with names on them. Bill quipped that he doubted he’d see one for one of his three grandchildren. Just then, I opened up my phone, and noticed a “Happy Labor Day” greeting from Bill’s daughter. In the email there was a photo of her, smiling and pregnant. She’d been keeping the secret all summer that her fourth child is well on the way and will arrive in February! I told Bill, who immediately got emotional. Somehow, getting that news in such a lovely place made it all the more special. The funny thing is, we’d both had a hunch that she might be expecting again.
On the way back to the Seilbahn, we stopped for a celebratory glass of Riesling…
After about an hour of walking around the Niederwald, we decided to head back. We definitely could have spent more time there, though, had we planned better and arrived earlier. The forest offers plenty of opportunities to wander, and like any good German tourist activity, it’s very well appointed with clean (but overpriced) toilets and refreshments. I’m so glad we decided to visit yesterday and finally try the Seilbahn. Below is a video I made of our day… It includes the Seilbahn and a pass through the famous Drosselgasse, where there is a Glockenspiel.
It was definitely a lot more crowded yesterday, during our visit, than it was when we last came to Rüdesheim in 2019. There were plenty of souvenir shops, restaurants, and tourist activities open. I also saw lots of hotels. I mused to Bill that it didn’t seem like the town should be able to support so many hotels, but I guess with so many cute hamlets, Vinoteks, and the Rhein River, people find plenty of stuff to do. I know cruise ships often pass through Rüdesheim. I think I saw a tour yesterday, which is kind of weird to me. It’s strange to live in an area where cruise ships frequent. Anyway, a lot of people were out and about and having a good time!
I don’t know when we’ll get to this town again, but it’s definitely worth a visit… even if the public toilets weren’t working, and even if the birds used our car as a toilet. Pro-tip, don’t park under the trees in the parking lot!
Bill has to leave for Bavaria today, so I will be hanging out alone this week. Hopefully, next weekend, we’ll have good weather and good health. I look forward to another exciting excursion in the Rheingau and its environs. It’s time we did some more exploring, before it’s too late.
Happy Saturday, y’all. It’s cool and overcast today, and Bill is preparing for another TDY in Bavaria. I’m not sure what we’ll do, but it looks like the weather may not be optimal. We’ve sure had a mild summer this year… lots of rain and temperatures that weren’t very oppressive. I’m grateful for that. Coming from Virginia originally, I know what it’s like to feel like you need gills to breathe. We have had a few warm, humid days this year, but it’s really not been too bad at all. And pretty soon, after next week’s warm spell, it will get chilly and Fall will truly be upon us.
When Fall arrives in Germany, so do a lot of fun harvest related festivals. But, at the end of October, the wine stands end… I always find that sad, because the wine stands are a lot of fun, especially for Noyzi. We went to the one in our village last night, and Noyzi got to work on his social skills, make new friends, and enjoy a change of scenery. I got some photos of our fun.
You’ll notice there are also election candidates’ signs, which I took photos of a couple of days ago while walking Noyzi through the Dorfplatz. It’s always interesting to see what German politicians focus on when it comes time for elections. The first five photos are from a couple of days ago, while the ones with Noyzi and sunshine were taken last night.
Noyzi was a bit excited at first, but after about 45 minutes, he settled down. He also got to meet one of our neighbors, who was understanding when we explained that Noyzi is from Kosovo, which isn’t a very dog friendly place. He was abused before we got him, so he gets nervous around men. However, he’s come a LONG way, and calms down quickly when he realizes that someone is being friendly. He loves people, and he LOVES wine stands and Biergartens.
Something funny did happen last night. There’s a somewhat young looking couple in Breckenheim who sometimes attend the wine stands. They have two little kids. One is obviously a girl, but the jury is out on the other child, who is still very young. I thought it was a girl, but Bill thought it was a boy child. I guess we’ll know soon enough.
Anyway, the children’s father is a very gentle looking guy… kind of short and slender, with a beard and shoulder length blond hair. He actually looks like a shyer, younger version of the husband half of a LDS couple I knew when I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in the mid 1990s (they were my colleagues, not missionaries 😉 ). Every time I see this guy, I am reminded of Jason from Armenia. Both men are very “granola” looking, although by now, Jason is probably twice the local guy’s age.
So, this local beaded guy was wearing a down vest last night, as he was shepherding his small children. I was admiring how very patient and attentive he was toward his kids, playing with them, and making sure they didn’t get into any trouble. The children got a bit close to Noyzi, who was a little spooked. He doesn’t spend a lot of time with little kids, although I’m sure he would enjoy them if he got to know them– as long as they didn’t make too many fast moves.
Bearded guy comes up to Bill and asks in German if Noyzi minds children. Bill told him in German that Noyzi is friendly. I looked up at the beaded guy and immediately noticed that he had a baby doll hanging out of his vest! I was immediately charmed by that! What a great dad! Obviously, he was being a good Opa to his little girl’s baby. It was very cute, and my respect grew by leaps and bounds as he herded the children away from Noyzi.
There were a couple of other kids climbing up on the chest where the chess pieces are kept. Our Dorfplatz has a chessboard built into the brick floor of the village square. The kids were picking the grapes that grow in one corner of our Dorfplatz. Nobody seemed to mind… it looked to me like the grapes were about to turn into raisins, anyway.
We also saw our neighbor’s mother, a lovely, elderly matriarch who, I fear, is starting to suffer from the troubles that come with aging. We hadn’t seen her in awhile. She broke her leg a few months ago, and then seemed to be dealing with some confusion. She looked like she’s lost some weight, and I noticed she didn’t speak to us in English, as she had been up until around April or so.
I saw the same thing happen to our old Greek restaurant owning friend, the late “Mad Scientist” of Entringen, down near Stuttgart. He used to speak perfect English, having spent years working as an engineer in Canada. Then he moved to Germany with his second wife, learned German, and opened his restaurant. When we met him in 2007, he was married to wife number three, and joked about Barack Obama.
When we came back to Germany in 2014 or so, he was noticeably slower and spoke English less fluently… and then he couldn’t really speak it at all. I was sad when I read about his death in 2020. He was a good friend to us. I’m glad we were able to come back to his place, Agais, a few more times when we moved back to the Stuttgart area.
Anyway… we had a good time last night, didn’t stay too late, or drink too much. Noyzi was very good, and I don’t think any of us offended anyone. I love the wine stands and other community events in our little village. People are very relaxed and nice here. The wine helps! I feel grateful to be a part of it.
Below is a short video I took of Noyzi, who was grinning and having a great time, as always!
Well, I don’t know what we’re going to do today… I’d like to go do something fun, preferably somewhere we haven’t been. Our motivation is lacking lately, though… I guess that’s what happens when you live somewhere so long that it starts to feel too familiar.
Last night, Bill and I decided to go to the wine festival in downtown Wiesbaden again. This time, we were going to meet some of his co-workers, who had reserved three tables at one of the wine stands. They did the same thing last year, only the festivities started a little bit earlier, so most of our time celebrating was done in the daylight. This year, the decision was made to start the party at 7:00 PM, rather than 5:00.
When we arrived at the Weingut Lamm Jung tent, Bill spotted his boss and his boss’s wife, along with another co-worker. I had never met the co-worker before, but she made quite an impression with her enthusiasm for Riesling and a certain brand of wine called Bickelmaier that she insisted was better than what was being sold at the Lamm Jung tent.
There was live entertainment. I heard a band doing Queen covers, but they were so far away and it was so noisy that we couldn’t really hear the music very well. I was sitting there shocked by how crowded it was, especially in the wake of the pandemic. But then, we were there, just like a lot of other like minded people, enjoying the atmosphere. As Katie Wenger on YouTube reminds us, COVID-19 is still out there, but I guess the sickness is not as terrible as it was last year…
For the most part, we had a pretty good time. Most of Bill’s co-workers are fun loving folks. No one was extremely obnoxious– not even me— although Bill did end up wearing part of a bottle of Riesling that was dropped on his pants. I noticed one German guy playing ball with what appeared to be his grandson. He kept throwing the ball, even though it was a pretty crowded area. I was amazed that he was able to keep doing that for so long without hitting someone with the ball.
We stayed for a couple of hours, and then decided to go home to Noyzi. I think there was also a wine stand in our neighborhood, but we didn’t attend. I think Noyzi was really hoping we’d take him with us, but I’m absolutely certain that the festival would have been too much for him. He needs to visit a few more Biergartens before he’s ready for a prime time event in downtown Wiesbaden.
Here are some photos from last night’s festivities… The wine festival is definitely a big event! Some people dress up for it. I didn’t… Good thing, since I wore part of the spilled bottle of Riesling, too. Bill didn’t drink a lot of wine because he was driving, and because he didn’t want to upset his newly extracted tooth socket. He’s very much a typical Cancerian… big on nursing himself and his loved ones. <3
I love how these events are orchestrated. There’s no beefed up security, nor are there steep entry fees. People just come together to enjoy wine and boost one of the area’s biggest industries. Most everyone is well behaved and behaves responsibly. The events are pretty family friendly, too, if your family doesn’t mind a lot of wine drinking and smoking. But I saw a lot of young kids there, having a good time with their elders, who were enjoying the local wines. It was a lot of fun.
Yesterday, I lamented to Bill that yet another Saturday was about to get away from us with no fun outside of the house. His answer to me was to suggest that we go to downtown Wiesbaden, where the Rheingauer Weinwoche is going on. This annual event started on Friday and will run through August 21st. COVID kind of messed it up in 2020 and 2021, but we attended in 2019 and we went several times last year.
Although we had some rain yesterday, we managed to get to the festival after most of the weather had passed. It was just partly cloudy with some breezes and a few drops from the sky. As usual, the big celebration is going on in the Schlossplatz, and there are dozens of wineries from the Rheingau region represented, along with some food stands and live entertainment.
Bill and I parked at our usual garage at the theater, where we soon noticed that they had a brand new parking system in place. It used to be, when you drove in, a machine would give you a ticket that you’d later feed into the payment machine. It would tell you how much you owed when you reclaimed your car. Now, you just drive in and input your license plate number when you leave. I also noticed that they had designated a bunch of spaces on the first floor for electric vehicles. I guess that’s one reason to get an electric car. You get prime parking spots downtown! 😉
Anyway, it had been awhile we were last in downtown Wiesbaden. We should probably go there a lot more often than we do, because it’s a really nice town… much prettier than downtown Stuttgart is. There is often a lot going on, too.
We walked around the fest, just to see what was available. I stopped at the first WC I saw, noticing that the price of a whiz has gone up to 1 euro. However, you can purchase an all day ticket for four euros, or a family pass for six euros. I ended up going four times and Bill went twice yesterday. Next time we go, we’ll have to get a family ticket. 😀
We stopped at a random wine stand that had plenty of seating and a good view of the festivities. I had a glass of Riesling and listened to a female singer in the distance, but noticed I could also hear a brass band on the other side. I was more in the mood for the brass band, so we left after one glass and went to the other side. Not surprisingly, there wasn’t a lot of seating there, so we went around the corner and sat at another random wine stand that happened to specialize in Sekt.
That other stand was also near a WC, which was very handy for me… so we just sat there and people watched, drank wine, and took some photos. I’m sure we’ll be back again at least once, because just as they did last year, Bill’s co-workers have reserved a table for this coming Friday night. I have a feeling Bill will be ready for a celebration, because on Monday morning, he has to visit a local dentist to have a tooth extracted and start the process for his very first dental implant.
Wednesday, he was at work, eating a gummi bear, and suddenly noticed that there was some rattling in his mouth. He spit out a hunk of gold, which turned out to be a root canaled and crowned molar that he’d had done in 2011 or so. It just sheared right off! He called our usual dentist in Stuttgart, but as usual in August, he had shut down his practice for his annual vacation. Since this was not a situation in which Bill could wait until next week, when Dr. Blair returns, he asked a colleague for a local suggestion. Her dentist turned out to be pretty excellent, too.
He called that dentist’s office and they got him in at 10:30. The oral surgeon– a young German guy who went to school in nearby Mainz– said he couldn’t save the tooth, which had a huge cavity in it under the gold crown. But since the tooth had already been root canaled, the dentist said Bill could wait until Monday to have it extracted without risking infection. Then, perhaps, he might even be able to get the implant put in without having to wait for the tissues to heal first (like I did when I got my implant in 2016). Truthfully, though, I have a feeling he’s going to have to come back later for the implant. They’re probably going to have to do a sinus lift, which will take more time. I had to get one of those, too.
So… not only did we just buy a bunch of new appliances for our house, but now Bill is going to have a big dentist bill. We do have dental insurance, but it’s still going to be pricey work. And when we go back to see Dr. Blair in October for our cleanings, he’s going to be like “WTF”? 😀
Honestly, though, given the number of appointments it takes to get a dental implant, it’s probably a good idea for Bill to have it done locally. If and when my other baby tooth finally gives up the ghost, Dr. Blair can do another implant for me. I know he does excellent work. The one I had done in 2016 is still perfect.
I figure the wine fest will offer Bill some pain relief, after he has his extraction on Monday… I don’t know if we’ll go back today. Bill just brewed a new batch of beer last weekend, so he needs to bottle his brew. My car also needs a spin to keep the new battery functioning. It looks a bit cloudy, too. On the other hand, the wine fest is a lot of fun– there’s also beer and non alcoholic beverages for those who aren’t into wine, as well as plenty of food. We capped off yesterday by having a rare east Sicilian treat called arancini. I noticed them early in the day and was intrigued. They’re deep fried rice balls, covered with bread crumbs and stuffed with mince meat and/or vegetables, mozzarella cheese, peas, and ragu. The ones we had yesterday were delicious and filling!
Here are some photos from our excursion…
I do love this about living in Germany… There’s always some kind of fun or interesting activity going on, and the vast majority of people are well-behaved. Yes, the police were there, and there was security, but I saw little need for them to intervene. The same isn’t necessarily true at events in the United States. So, I’m grateful to live here… and raise yet another toast to the annual wine festival week in Wiesbaden!
A few days ago, I asked Bill if he might like to go out to dinner on Saturday night. He was agreeable to my suggestion, so we went on OpenTable.de to see what restaurants were available. One of the very first suggestions was Riesling Stuben in nearby Hochheim, an adorable wine town located about twenty minutes’ drive from Breckenheim.
When I mentioned the restaurant to Bill, he said he’d seen that place recommended a bunch of times. However, we haven’t gone to Hochheim very often, because parking in the town can be a challenge. The first time we visited there was at Christmas time in 2018, just after we moved from the Stuttgart area to Wiesbaden. Bill’s former boss, who had lived in Hochheim, had arranged for a wine tasting and company Christmas party at a hotel literally steps away from his rental home. I remember thinking the town was absolutely adorable, but we had a terrible time finding a place to park. We never did get around to visiting the town again the following summer.
Then came the pandemic, which kept us pretty close to home for a couple of years. Hochheim is close to where we live, but we didn’t have enough experience with it to just go there to look around. We didn’t actually do that until last August, when we randomly showed up there on a summer day and stumbled across a wine stand. We had a couple of glasses and walked around. Once again, I wondered where Hochheim had been all of my life and why we weren’t hanging out there more often.
Last night, Bill was a little worried about parking, but it turned out to be a non-issue. There’s at least one lot where it’s free of charge to park. It’s on the edge of town, and maybe a five or ten minute walk from where we were going. The weather was gorgeous last night, so it wasn’t a hardship to stroll through the quaint village. We passed Bill’s ex boss’s former home, past the hotel where we had our Christmas party, and the winery where we had our tasting, and soon easily found Riesling Stuben. We were about twenty minutes early for our 7:00pm reservation, but decided to show up anyway, since I was hungry.
Below are some photos from our walk around before we got to the restaurant. As you can see, this is a place where German wines are produced and sold. It’s also very stylish, with lots of beautiful homes owned by people with money. I don’t think I would have been sad to find a home in Hochheim when we were looking!
When we got to Riesling Stuben, we noticed a couple sitting in the adorable courtyard. A large chalkboard with the word “Cheers!” greeted us, along with grape vines, and a string of lights. I easily spotted our table, as there was a sign with our name on it and the time of our reservation.
Bill went looking for someone in charge, but the proprietor found me before he saw Bill. I told him we had a reservation and pointed at the table. We sat down, noticing that there were faux fur outdoor blankets on each chair. We sure didn’t need those last night, although maybe they were provided to make the metal and plastic chairs slightly more comfortable.
It looked like the restaurant had a lot of reservations, as I took note of the signs on the tables. Not everyone seemed to show up, though. The 6:45pm table near us was never occupied.
On OpenTable, it said the suggested dress at Riesling Stuben was casual. Bill wore jeans and a t-shirt. I wore shorts and a t-shirt. We noticed the couple near us was similarly dressed. However, we noticed an upper deck, where more people were sitting. Some of those folks were dressed with a bit more flair. I mention the dress because the food turned out to be fancier, and frankly much better, than I was expecting it to be!
I read that the Riesling Stuben used to have different owners and its reputation had slipped somewhat since new people took over a few years ago. I once worked at a rather famous restaurant in Williamsburg, Virginia whose chef owner was very well-known and liked. When that restaurant was sold, but the new owners kept the old name, a lot of people complained about how the quality had slipped and everything had changed. It looked like Riesling Stuben might have had the same issue; people who had been used to the old owners hadn’t liked the way the restaurant had changed with new people running it. But, since Bill and I had never been to Riesling Stuben before last night, we had no preconceived notions. And, as it turned out, we had a wonderful evening. I’m glad I didn’t read about the restaurant’s old reputation before we actually visited.
A young and sweet looking server greeted us and took Bill’s order of our standard sparkling water and a bottle of locally produced Riesling. Then, when she came back with our water and wine, we were ready to order food. I don’t often bother with starters nowadays, since I usually don’t have room and I don’t need the extra calories, anyway. However, I couldn’t resist the cold apple-cucumber soup, which sounded perfect and refreshing for a warm evening. And, since it’s now the tail end of “Spargel” season, Bill had the asparagus soup.
For our main courses, I ordered the smoked pork cheeks with herbed risotto, strawberries, and balsamic vinaigrette. Bill went with Parmesan encrusted corn fed chicken breasts, served with Romaine salad, smoked tomatoes, and tarragon “Schmand” (sour cream). While we waited for our food, we enjoyed bread with butter and Spundekäs, a locally produced cheese spread usually served with pretzels.
The server didn’t do a formal wine presentation. Instead, she just brought the wine out, opened it, and served me first. She looked like a teenager, so my guess is that she doesn’t yet drink wine herself. She might not yet know to offer guests the opportunity to taste the wine before it gets served. However, in spite of her youth, I thought she was very charming and did a very good job serving everyone.
A few minutes after she brought us our wine, the proprietor came out and checked out which wine we ordered. He spoke English to us, which was much appreciated, and apologized that he didn’t have menus in English. We didn’t need English menus anyway, thanks to years of dining out in Germany, and the availability of smartphones with Google Translate! Besides, although my ability to speak German is extremely limited, I do understand a fair amount of it when I’m paying attention. Bill can speak basic conversational German with confidence.
Here are some photos of the food… It was a real hit with us!
We both really enjoyed our dinners. I hadn’t been expecting the food to be as good as it was. Since the restaurant was called Riesling Stuben and the dress was casual, I was expecting more traditional, stereotypical German fare. I was pleasantly surprised, both by the originality of the dishes and the way they were presented. They tasted good, too, although I think some of the reason we enjoyed everything so much had to do with the weather and the cool “cocktail” music they were playing– think old school jazz, from people like Desi Arnaz, Ella Fitzgerald, Lena Horne, Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, Dean Martin, and Frank Sinatra. Yes, I did a lot of “Shazaming”. In fact, I even downloaded an album while we were eating.
As you can see from the second set of photos, we did get some clouds, and a few raindrops. One party moved into the restaurant. Another paid up and left. We waited out the very short rain spell, along with the couple who was there before us. They were drinking a lot, and it was soon pretty obvious that they were friends of the owners, who even joined them for a couple of rounds. I felt like we were watching a dinner party.
After we were finished with dinner, we decided to order dessert, but told the proprietor that we would finish the wine before it was time for the Nachtisch (dessert). He took our order and left us to enjoy the rest of the Riesling. About ten or fifteen minutes later, we were finished with the wine. The waiter came out with what looked like dessert for us, but then he walked out of the courtyard to– I’m not sure where!
This was where dinner became a little strange, as the service went off the rails. We sat in the courtyard for a long time, with no sign of anyone in charge. I didn’t mind it at first, because the weather was nice, and the music was entertaining. But, after awhile, it did get a little bit awkward and weird. I was wondering what was going on. Finally, the guy came back and asked us if we were okay. We reminded him about dessert, and he smacked his head. He had forgotten! And he had noticed me noticing him with the desserts he carried out of the courtyard, but it didn’t occur to him that we were waiting for ours.
He gave us a round of dessert wine for our troubles, which was much appreciated. The dessert wine went well with my chocolate mousse with raspberry sauce, and Bill’s apple “Kuchle”, which was basically slices of apples dipped in batter, fried, and dusted with sugar and cinnamon, then served with vanilla ice cream.
I have had better chocolate mousse, but I really liked Bill’s dessert. The mousse would have been improved with less raspberry sauce, which overwhelmed the chocolate somewhat. I didn’t even taste the chocolate at first, until I got past the intense raspberry. I noticed that raspberry was a prominent ingredient at this place. All three of my courses had elements of it. I think if we went back, I’d have what Bill had. Unless, of course, they have the lemon tart listed on the menu available again.
I visited the ladies room while Bill handled the check. It gave me a chance to take a couple of photos on the interior, which is very cute and cozy! I got a kick out of the ladies room. I will warn that getting to the restrooms could be a challenge for those who have limited mobility. They are located up a creaky staircase.
We enjoyed an on the house round of wine liqueur as Bill paid the 112 euro check with his credit card. As we were about to leave, the people at the next table asked if we were on vacation. I said, “No, we live in Breckenheim. And we’ll be back!” They laughed and wished us a pleasant evening. We really enjoyed ourselves, in spite of the wait for our desserts. The waiter handled that situation with grace. Fortunately, we weren’t in a hurry, and the weather and charm of the place made waiting less irritating.
On the way back to the car, we passed a wine stand being held at one of Hochheim’s many Weinguts. I got a kick out of the vending machine, which sold wines and wine glasses. Sadly, though, one needs a German “Ausweis” (ID card) to make a purchase. I guess that machine is only for true locals! Oh well.
We were raving about the evening all the way back home, promising to spend more time in Hochheim, not just for dinner at the Riesling Stuben, but also to try other restaurants in the town and, of course, buy some wine!
Well… I can’t say our dinner at Riesling Stuben was perfect, but we did have a wonderful time. And it is a very unique and cute eatery. Atmosphere and presentation count for a lot. I do think the weather helped a lot to make last night so special. Regardless, we left Hochheim smiling, and promising ourselves to return sooner, rather than later.
In one week, we’ll be in Norway, starting our long awaited two week vacation. Believe me, we’re ready to go. But, for the time being, we’re still hanging out here in Germany, enjoying the sunny, summery weather. I love the mild temperatures and sunshine, but it does have a tendency to make our house a little “clammy”. I think German houses just have a tendency to hold on to heat, which is great for most of the year. In the summer, maybe not so much…
In any case, we had a wine stand last night, so we decided to attend. And now that Noyzi has been to a few of them, he insists on attending, too. I will admit that last night, I was kind of thinking that maybe I’d rather stay in. But Bill was in the mood to mingle, and apparently Noyzi was, too. He made LOTS of new local friends last night.
As we were about to turn to go down the hill, we ran into a German kindergarten teacher named Susie whom we met a few weeks ago. She has an Italian former truffle hunting dog named Billy. She didn’t have Billy with her last night, but Noyzi still recognized her. After saying hello, she walked slightly past us. Noyzi started dragging me down the hill, barking enthusiastically. He wanted Susie to pet him! LOL… I’m sure she thinks he needs schooling, and we probably shouldn’t encourage this. However, it legitimately was an adorable sight, especially since Noyzi used to be terrified of strangers.
I know Noyzi was extremely happy to see Susie, but I also think he knew the wine stand was going on, and was super excited to go to it. It’s like a whole new social aspect of his personality has come out. I think Noyzi likes going to the wine stands because they are held in a familiar place, and he knows some of the people and dogs who attend. Last night, he was more relaxed than he has EVER been in public. Several times, he sat and even laid down on his own.
We talked to several of our neighbors, and met a few new people, including one guy who was wearing a t-shirt advertising a specific brand of African beer that Bill likes. The combination of the beer t-shirt and the guy’s attraction to Noyzi ended up being great icebreakers. It turned out the guy was German, but had lived in Kenya for years. He and his wife live in Breckenheim now, which is a bit safer than Kenya is. Apparently, his mom is a Kenyan citizen now, and she and her husband own a coffee farm. There was a lot more to the conversation, which eventually devolved into a discussion of global issues and the troubling American mindset that we agreed probably comes from people never traveling outside of the USA. I genuinely enjoyed talking to the guy. Maybe we’ll see him again.
In the midst of our chat, we also watched the children of Breckenheim happily playing. A local guy had them gathered around at the church, where he told stories. Later, a cat visited, and was completely unfazed by Noyzi. I watched a little boy climb up a sign pole and was amazed by his upper body strength. We could hear Billy barking for Noyzi, since Billy’s owners live in a house right by our Dorfplatz. And we also saw our next door neighbor’s 85 year old mom, who was finally walking without her cane after having broken her leg earlier in the spring. She was looking good.
Noyzi charmed the owner of the local pizzeria, an Italian man named Fabi who used to work with dogs in Romania. He very kindly brought out some water for Noyzi, as well as some meat. When Noyzi finished drinking the bowl, Fabi brought out some more water and treats. Noyzi was delighted, and I could see that he was enjoying making friends with so many people. He really is a very lovely dog who enjoys interacting with all people and animals. All of our dogs have been special to us, but Noyzi truly is a unique soul. He’s a true canine ambassador!
I took lots of pictures…
We really do enjoy the social events in our village. Unfortunately, we’ll miss the next wine stand, which I believe will actually be the wine festival that they had in September last year. But the good news is, we’re missing that event because, by the 23rd of June, we’ll be in Sweden, boarding the Regent Seven Seas Splendor, and taking a weeklong cruise in the Baltic Sea. So, stay tuned to see the travel blog become an actual travel blog again… at least for a few weeks! 😉
Yesterday, Bill and I decided to venture out to Darmstadt. We wanted to visit a drink market Bill had heard rave reviews about from his colleagues. He was told the place was on several levels and offered many different beers, wines, liquors, and mixers from around the world. It turned out Maruhn Welt Der Getränke isn’t quite that amazing, but it’s still a very nice drink market.
When we lived in the Stuttgart area, we used to somewhat regularly visit Heinrich’s Super Getränke-Markt 3000 in Kornwestheim (near Ludwigsburg). I was always impressed by the excellent beer selection offered at that store, and hoped Maruhn’s drink market would be similarly excellent. Having visited Maruhn’s drink market yesterday, I can now say that in some ways, I liked it better than Heinrich’s. In other ways, I think Heinrich’s is better.
Heinrich’s has a superior beer selection. It has more beers from more places from around the world. It has better parking, offers somewhat more snacks for sale, and is next to a regular supermarket. The parking garage has a public restroom, which would have come in handy yesterday, after I finished off a bottle of water.
However, Maruhn’s has a free wine tasting section, a bar, and has much nicer displays. Maruhn’s offers many more liquors, some of which are very precious and expensive. I don’t remember seeing a lot of liquor at Heinrich’s. They also have drinkware, barware, and Bembels (pottery wine pitchers). I really liked the music they were playing in the store, too, which may seem like a minor thing, but to a musical person like me, it’s quite important. I don’t think I ever heard music at Heinrich’s, which seems a lot more “no frills”, to me.
We picked up a couple of bottles of wine and some exotic beers– mostly from Scotland and Iceland– as well as some German beers. It’s been a long time since I last had beer that didn’t originate somewhere in Bavaria and taste like every other beer of that type in Germany. Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE German beers. But as an American, I have gotten a taste for more exotic suds and styles that aren’t typically offered by German breweries. I used to order beer from a store in France called Saveur-Biere, but that gets kind of pricey in a hurry. Maybe I should order more, though.
Here are some photos from Maruhn’s… I think we’ll be back.