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Trip Report 2014 Trip to Southern Germany

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Finally I have finished our report on the trip we took to southern Germany in 2014, a trip delayed one year because of the illness and subsequent passing of our mother in 2013. Warning-long report. I have each day dated but did post the entire trip at one time . Feel free to contact us with any questions. Hope there is a little something in here for everyone

Saturday, August 30/Sunday, August 31
Day of departure…parked at the Park & Ride and caught the bus to O’Hare. Trouble free ride, trouble free trip through security and trouble free flight to Frankfurt. Nice crew, good seats (for coach, we were in one of the very few 2x2 seats) and decent food and drink. Unfortunately in Frankfurt the walk to the car rental counters seems quite endless after an 8 hour flight. However we got a nice car quite swiftly and were on our way.

We found our way to Pension Haus Andreas in Cochem with little trouble, however it is always frightening to us to turn up one of those steep streets, never really sure if it is for cars as well as pedestrians. Missy, our GPS, didn’t let us down this time. The steep climb and small turn did indeed take us to our place.

As it turned out our room was not ready because the guest(s) that should have been gone was still there (seems there was a little too much imbibing going on and someone became too ill to travel…). So we started out in a small room in the building across from the wine shop (actually the building pictured on the website) with a move after breakfast the next morning to our room with a little outdoor space.

Once settled in a bit we ventured out. We started out right next store, at Scholsbergkeller Weinstube Eigener Weinbau Weiskopf (say that 3 times fast!). A little place for tasting their wines and having a snack. We had some sausage and bread along with the wine. A hopping little place for sure. Quite cozy.

The little town was buzzing and a parade was cuing up on the other side of the river. We watched the march with the rest of the crowd and then ventured up to the inner square that was set up with a band shell and stands that were selling wine. As night time commenced the music and dancing began and folks young and old were having a good time.

We strolled down towards the river where another staging area was. Here we had some wonderful sausages and bread along with more wine and some street food, my hubbies favorite. A walk back up the steep street and 3 floors up to our room and we crashed! Fireworks were going to happen and we assume they did but we were down for the count and never heard or saw them.

Monday, September 1
We woke and got ourselves repacked to move across the street. We went over for breakfast, which was very good, and then dragged our bags over and up to our room. Only drawback here was the bathroom was outside of the room. We didn’t share it but we had to go out of our room and a few steps down the hall (with our key) to our bathroom. It was a minor inconvenience and we may have searched longer for a place with an on suite had we realized this. The little balcony was nice though. We overlooked the area they hung the wash and marveled at how the buildings and yards are just stacked up, all co-existing, all individual. The outdoor space is something we really won’t compromise on, must have that, no matter how small .

We ventured out to the castle {Reichsburg Cochem (Imperial Castle, Cochem)} snapping photos of the interesting vines, doorways and flowers along the way. The view from the top is always fabulous. The castle was lovely and we stopped at the little restaurant there for what became our tradition on this trip…a glass of white wine, a glass of wonderful beer and some sort of sausage, bread or pretzel. We were never disappointed. We also took the little 25 minute sightseeing train

We had a little wine on our balcony, regrouped and then ventured out. The town was still buzzing and the square lively with celebration activities. We taste test wines here each evening-coming home with 10 little tasting glasses we purchased. So civilized, the wine and beer is always served properly.
We opted to have a nice dinner in a little place down the road from the square, Zum Christophorus. Their sign warned people it wasn’t a fast food restaurant and we thought that was exactly what we were in the mood for. Good choice, wonderful service, terrific server and a delicious meal.

We shared a large carafe of wine. I had mushroom soup (champignoncremesuppe) and Tom had broccoli soup (broccolicremesuppe) and we both had the Jagerschnitzel dinner. We even managed a dessert, tartuffo. Quite reasonably priced we felt for a great dinner, 37.90 E. Our server was a young Romanian girl and I am remiss that I did not have her write down her name! She did write down some places she thought we would enjoy in Romania…a country on our radar for a future trip.

A leisurely stroll back home and up the stairs to our place. Nightcap on the balcony and then off to dream land. We could hear the music as we slept-always a lot of music familiar to us, good old American rock and roll.

Tuesday, September 2
Another wonderful breakfast and we were off. We had to start off by looking for a pharmacy because my eyes had some little infection thing going on and I needed something. The pharmacist was very helpful and I got what I needed. It was difficult to wear my contacts with this “thing” going on.

We started off at Burg Eltz (Eltz Castle). A very pleasant ride, roughly a half hour or so through lovely countryside. We parked above and then walked down to the castle. The tour was very nice, beautiful castle in a lovely area. Snapped many shots and then we caught the little “bus” back to the parking lot.

Back to Cochem we ventured back to the little mustard mill and signed up for the presentation in the back room. Of course there was not an English option but much was easy enough to figure out. Always easy when there is an energetic and engaging “guide’. After that we strolled a bit then went back for a refresh on our balcony before dinner.

Tonight we went to Hotel Am Hafen for dinner. We ate outside on the lovely terrace, overlooking the river. Tom had beer and I had my usual white wine (2 each). We had the soup of the day (I’m pretty sure it was mushroom but didn’t make a note). The entrée’s listed on our receipt say one Sudseemarchen and one Rahmschnitzel. Honestly don’t remember either so I’m guessing they were okay but nothing absolutely fabulous. I will say we had no bad meals anywhere. This meal tallied up to 49 E and we did not have dessert.

Weather was perfect this evening and again we took a leisurely stroll back over the river and through town to our place. Once again we fell sound asleep with no troubles at all.

Wednesday, September 3
Our days here do begin in the most pleasant way, a lovely hostess greeting us and a nice little spread to start the day. First stop is the telephone store to try to get our phone working. That was resolved quickly but we couldn’t get the WiFi data sim card. This would take several trips…

Second stop was Sesslebahn, the Cochem chair lift. Weather was fine so we did get our photo snapped (it was waiting for us when we returned home and retrieved our mail) and the ride up was certainly easier than the walk would be. We enjoyed a drink up top and then took the lift back down. Now our plan was to head south. First stop on this trek was Beilstein. A quaint little town where we had a drink in the square and then ventured off to Burg Metternich.

The ruins of Burg Metternich are quite nice. There were a few other visitors there too. We took many photos and as always marveled at the view. A short stroll and we came upon the Jewish cemetery, really in wonderful shape compared to most we have seen. This one wasn’t as sad as some we have walked through, it was actually peaceful.

Then it was off to Alf for Burg Arras. This place was practically deserted but interesting nonetheless. We looked through the little museum, trekked up the staircase and had a drink outside. The restaurant was open but was sort of in between shifts. The server was very friendly though. She pointed out the little basement at the tower bottom….sort of a mini haunted house dungeon and told us to be sure to see it before we left. We did and it was amusing.

Final stop on this outing was Zell, home of the Black Cat…It was pretty quiet here too. We strolled around the town and then stopped at Zeller Schwarz Katz for a wine and beer and a little bit of people watching. This little place was about a block up from the main drag, just behind some big city building. While it was overcast the temperature was still pleasant for being outdoors.

Back to our place the routine is always the same….glass of wine on balcony then down to town for dinner. Tonight we ate at Zum Stuffie. It was a hopping place, quite dark on the inside but nice service. The food was okay-not bad but nothing extraordinary and I do not have the receipt so do not even know what we had or what we paid. I’m guessing there was Spätzle, pork and some bread. That has been our MO so far.

Thursday, September 4
Another lovely breakfast and a trip down to the telephone store to try and get our WiFi data sim card. He sent us off to another store and that guy did work hard to get this going for us. We returned on Friday and he did have what we needed. We likened this store to a mini, mini Best Buy, but really nice staff.

We headed south again, first stop Bernkastel-Kues. We wanted to have lunch at Doctor Weinstube but it was packed outside and we just didn’t want to eat inside. So we stopped at another little place and had a small lunch outside. We strolled a bit and then headed to Weingut Schaug in Ediger-Eller.

When we found the place there was a truck there with the door open and signs of life but no one was around. They had a wonderful toilet room I utilized while there and then we roamed a bit more, snapping shots of windows and doors. We did go back and luckily we did, there were people there this time.

They welcomed us in and as soon as they realized we spoke only English the Mrs. was pushed in our direction as being the English speaker. Her English was much better than our German! Sadly I did not write down their names. We tried several wines and walked away with 3 bottles to enjoy as we continued our travels.

Our plan this evening was to take one of the night boats, this particular boat offered music and various foodstuffs. We started up on top so we could catch some of the view while still light and then went downstairs to perhaps have a small bite and a drink. Well some rude people were at the table we were supposed to be at and they did not want to share. Since staff was busy we were just directed to a different table in the middle and then had a drink and piece of cake there. Then back to the top to enjoy the view of the lovely river towns on the ride back.

We decided to return to Zum Christophorus as we felt like a nice relaxing meal to end the evening. We opted for untraditional German chow tonight, although Tom did start with a goulaschsuppe. He had spaghetti bolognaise and I had spaghetti al pesto with a side of scampi. This meal with one beer and half liter of wine was 47.30 E. Again we had wonderful service and thoroughly enjoyed the dinner.

Friday, September 5
Wow, last full day in Cochem. Vacation days zoom by at lightening speed! Terrific breakfast per the norm and then we are off to the ancient city of Trier.

The ride was pleasant and uneventful. We found a place to park (that was legal) right off (directly across the street from the Porta-Nigra-gate. We found the TI and got our tickets for a walking tour that was starting in a short while. A stop for a wine and beer and then a meet-up with yet another animated and knowledgeable guide.

We followed the route as laid out in the walking tours book. The market was up and running but the guide said at peak season some stalls are smaller…visitors aren’t as apt to buy flowers as the locals, same with much of the food. We went on to the Basilica of Constantine, very sparse on the inside compared to some other “basilica’s”. Here we lucked on to an impromptu performance by a traveling men’s choir. It was heavenly, the accostics for an Acappella group were perfect.

Naturally we strolled through the UNESCO St. Peter’s cathedral as well as the Church of Our Lady. The magnitude of these holy places is beyond description, as is the time it took to construct. Roman, medieval, gothic and modern. Stunning.

We stopped at a little place for beer, wine and a pretzel before we decided what to do next. Since tomorrow is a travel day we decide we will venture over to the nearby Valwig Reiesling Fesstage for our evening dinner and entertainment.

One block was shut down for the festival and they were setting up when we arrived. We stopped at a local place and enjoyed a drink outside. We watched all the activity from our spot-wagons of beer, wine and food heading over to the staging area and when it appeared it was opening we walked over and found a good spot at a table. We bought a bottle of wine and two glasses (yes, we had glass wine glasses which we were able to bring home with us) and we sat and enjoyed as the band played, the Princesses were introduced and folks were all having a good time. Lit by an almost full moon the evening was simply perfect. People don’t travel here for this but this is why we travel. Wonderful local band, young people engaged in their culture and locals happy to talk to you over wine and sausages, an event you stumble upon and thoroughly enjoy. All in all a perfect end to the day.

Saturday, September 6
Today we pack up, pay up, enjoy our last breakfast at this place and head out to the Black Forest area where we will settle in at GushofArmbruster in Lossberg. The ride is pleasant and uneventful and we find the place with little trouble and help from our Missy (GPS).

The hosts were lovely people, their house just steps away from the little cottage we rented. The place was very well appointed, large living room, nice bathroom, small kitchen area and wide doors that lead to the patio. The patio was bordered by the grazing field and for our time there the cows strolled by to take a peek several times a day. Roosters from next door also popped over for regular visits.

Upstairs was a landing and two separate bedrooms as well as a half bath. There was ample storage for both of our things in the wardrobe and the bedding was clean and inviting. There were windows on all four sides of the place which made the air flow wonderful. There really wasn’t a handy place to hang up any wash though and this place did not have a washing machine.

We ventured out to the Aldi and picked up some groceries (too many as is always our MO) and came back to enjoy a glass of wine on the patio with some cheese and crackers. The countryside was lovely and the weather was perfect. After freshening up we headed out again to have some supper.

They had recommended a place called Sonne and so we headed out in search of that place. We found it (not sure if this was actually the place they were talking about because we ended up eating at two places called Sonne-both very good, while here) and settled in for a nice supper.

At this place we went upstairs for the dining room. We were seated at a booth and the place began to fill up around us pretty quickly. Our server was a nice young girl, not a lot of English spoken here, so a very local place. We started with soup (don’t remember what kind) and then I had the Hirschedelgulasch and hubs the house special-a wonder dish with pork medallions. This place had the wonderful little berries, not really cranberries, which I love, but something even better. A smaller berry, whole in a jellied type of sauce. I don’t remember if we had dessert, my notes are lacking. But this meal was among one of our favorites.

Easy ride home, check of BBC (because this place had a TV) and after a little reading we both hit the sack. Plans for tomorrow are an easy day. Need to do some wash and get our bearings for this area.

Sunday, September 7
The day starts with coffee out on the patio. We plan to try and find a spot to get a signal. At practically the first turn in to town there is a little bakery/grocery store that has a few tables outside and a few small tables inside. We found that we could get a signal here so for the remainder of our time here, this becomes a part of our morning routine.

The nice gal that works the counter doesn’t speak any English but communicating is no trouble. We start with a coffee and a schneck and usually have a second round of coffees. I’m able to check email and anything else we may want to look up. We are unable at the farm to catch a signal. That is fine, we are wanting to really be “off the grid” this vacation. Bad thing about that is my notes are lousy and since I have procrastinated in putting the report together, there are some holes. Thank goodness for cameras. Time and date stamped the pictures along with the piles of scrap notes, receipts, etc. have helped to reconstruct.

We ventured out and climbed up a look out tower and (172 steps) to take a look at the village from the top. We stopped at a little place for a drink and snack and then headed of to the Rundgang durch das Heimatmuseum, “Altes Rathaus” . This "home Museum Old City Hall" was built in 1838 and is centrally located in the town center. There is quite a collection of Black Forest Clocks many of which are over 200 years old. Period rooms set up were very interesting. There were even artifacts from the 7th century. Our “guide” was Christel Matern, the gal working that day. She was very informative and we thoroughly enjoyed our visit here.

A pleasant ride and we were in Dornstetten. The town was very sleepy today. Nonetheless the lovely half timbered houses were wonderful to look at. We stopped at a little place and had a drink outside while people watching. We walked around the little center for a bit, snapping photos along the way. Delightful shops signs and cobblestones, all in all a quaint little town.

We found another Gasthaus Sonne and once again enjoyed a wonderful supper. The owner was very engaging at this place and we had what has now become our normal German fare, a pork meal with spaetzle accompanied by wonderful German wine and beer, total tab 45.80 Euro.

Monday, September 8
We start off at our little bakery and then headed to der Mummelsee. We walked around the little lake, stopped for a drink and snack and then headed to Allerheiligen waterfall. It was a very pleasant walk, beginning with some nice ruins. We spent quite a bit of time here, enjoying the nature and peacefulness of it all. We had another gorgeous day weather-wise. Slightly overcast so not too hot.

Tonight we had our supper at Gasthof & Pension Rose. We were seated in one of the rooms and a large 25th Anniversary party came in shortly after we arrived. It was fun to watch the celebration. We ordered way too much food. It was all delicious but the portions were huge! Here we should have shared a meal. Not sure if that is frowned upon but sincerely it is so wasteful to not eat all that good food and really uncomfortable to stuff yourself just because it is in front of you. The service here was very friendly.

Tuesday, September 9
This morning starts out with a low ceiling that doesn’t appear like it is going to lift as soon as normal. We stop at our little bakery and are greeted warmly by “our girl”. What a pleasant start to the day. We lollygag as the weather isn’t looking especially spectacular. Plans today are to head to Kandel Summit with hopes of seeing the hang gliders taking off and floating through the air.

Alas the fog has not gone away and when we reached the summit many were just sort of hanging around waiting for the fog to lift. The big place next to the summit was closed, perhaps it was ski lodging? Anyway we went across the way and down to a little restaurant/bar. It was pleasant out, simply foggy, so we sat outside and enjoyed a few drinks and some fries. The fries in Europe are to die for.

Next we headed to St. Peter’s Abbey. The courtyard is quite lovely. There is a “life size” chess board with pieces to move and plenty of gorgeous flower boxes to add to the serenity of the area. A service was going on inside so we just quietly peeked in as not to disturb anyone in their worship. We enjoyed the views and snapped some photos and then headed out.

Next stop was the St. Märgen Augustine Abbey. We browsed around there for a little bit, enjoying the lovely inside of the church-bright and airy with lovely crystal chandeliers. If ever I win the lottery my massive bathroom will have a regal crystal chandelier modeled after all these we have seen in our travels!

Next stop is the Hexenlochmühle. By now the sun has joined the party and the day is spectacular. We did get out of the car and walked around here (but we resisted eating since we have big plans for dinner tonight). The double wheels are fully functional at this family run mill/business. Lovely site, wish we could have tried some food.

Next it is on to the Todtnau Wasserfall. Here I got a bloody nose as soon as I stepped out of the car. Annoying for sure! Thank goodness I travel with A lot of tissue because this particular episode lasted quite some time. Luckily after a while it finally subsided and I was able to do the walk. It is a very, very simple walk to see a lovely waterfall.

Supper tonight is going to be at the Griestalstraube, an awesome “farm” restaurant. We were not disappointed. Our GPS got us here, winding through small roads lined with corn fields. The place was hopping! Families picnicking on the lawn, couples standing at tables enjoying wine and long picnic tables with groups and folks that will get acquainted. We enjoyed our first drink with a young couple and then sat at a table with a small group of young people, catching up on each others lives. Our service was good. We had hofspatzle and Flammen Kukuchen (not vegetable) with ham. All good. Washed down with 4 wines we thoroughly enjoyed this “local” experience.

Wednesday September 10
Today we start out again at the bakery but our destination is Caracalla Spa-yes, massages for the both of us. I purchased these tickets for our 2013 trip we were unable to take however they were still good and were honored. A slight cost increase is all I had to worry about.

The area is beautiful and the spa regal, inviting and quite comfortable. We were both in the same room and our hour massages were Wonderful. I had the gal and Tom the guy. All the travel worry and woes were worked out. We left looking I’m sure a bit disheveled but we smelled good and were utterly relaxed! We had walked around a bit before the massages and afterward we stopped at a little place down the hill and did some more relaxing with a wine and beer.

Back home for a bit, a short nap and a drink on the patio and then we were ready to head out for supper. Tonight we picked a place not that far away, Untere Muhle found by our Nuvi after typing in local restaurants. A delightful little place. We really enjoyed our meal this evening, friendly service and wonderful food, delightfully presented by servers in dirndls.

Sleeping here is no problem as the nights are quiet and very dark with the curtain pulled. Our room is comfortable and airy. The roosters aren’t too early either. We have them cavorting across our patio each morning as we enjoy our coffee outside but they haven’t been our wake up call.

Thursday, September 11
Another pleasant morning in the Black Forest, we have coffee outside, clean up and head to the bakery. Greeted as old friends we will be sad to leave this area. We have coffee and treats and check email and drop a line to friends we will visit for an overnight stay on Friday. Then we head out to Alpirsbach.

We did not do proper research on this stop as the tours are much later in the day and we did not want to wait around all day. We walked around a bit and then stopped for a drink or two. I’m sure we went through some building here but for the life of me my notes and pictures do not back that up. Ugh, I really do try to keep good notes, if for nothing else, this reason. We left town and then we stopped at the little Kinzigsee park and strolled around the water for a bit, snapping photos of all the pretty flowers in bloom before returning home.

We had to get packed up for our departure on Friday. A relaxing few cocktails on the patio and then back to the Untere Muhle restaurant we enjoyed the night before. Tonight we ordered way too much food but it was so good! We waddled home for sure tonight. Our night cap had us remembering the terrible events of this day in 2001. Counting our blessings we drift off to sleep looking forward to our visits with the Loberts in Nürtingen.

Friday, September 12
We settle up with the innkeepers and are gifted a jar of honey (not hers but from a friend of hers) which hubs has thoroughly enjoyed with weekend breakfasts. A stop at the bakery and a good bye and we are off for the ride to Nürtingen. Since we have stayed with the Loberts before the area is not entirely foreign to us. It is a good travel day, drizzly and overcast. We get there with little trouble.

Our welcome was wonderful, two huge home made cakes to choose from, apple cake and/or raspberry cake along with fresh coffee and a lot of good conversation. Patrick joined us for treats and more interesting conversation. We will stay in the upstairs room so after freshening up we head out to Gasthaus Löwen a local favorite of theirs. We meet Patrick’s girlfriend Sylvia and enjoy a wonderful “Swabish” dinner. Cost for 6 of us (one drink each and two desserts along with 5 dinners and one salad was 141.50 Euro. Very friendly service and terrific meal.

Back to Deiter and Renate’s place where we enjoy very good wine from Deiters collection. We laugh and talk and share stories before Patrick and Sylvia leave. Shortly after that we retire for the evening and sleep like babies in the upper room in this quiet residential neighborhood. Tomorrow Renate will of course have a terrific spread and then we are going in to town with Patrick to see his place and meet his friends.

Saturday, September 13
We wake to the pleasant fragrance of brewing coffee. Once we come down the table is set with sausage, cheese, fruit and a multitude of fresh rolls to die for. Patrick joined us for breakfast and after lively table talk we headed to town to see his new place and meet up with his “colleagues” for coffee. His place was delightful, right alongside a creek, sleek and modern and roomy. We walked to town from his place and he pointed out various areas of interest as we walked to the café to meet up with his group.

The banter back and forth is cheerful. The group is comprised of young professionals, some married, some not. Their tradition is to gather at one of the coffee shops for about an hour or so each Saturday morning. We are welcomed warmly and enjoy another cup of coffee. Today is a travel day for us so it is okay to linger.

Patrick gets us back to his parents place and we pack up our car and say our goodbyes. Such lovely cordial hosts. We were happy that we had detoured a bit to stop and see them again. Now we are off to our last place, Farm Käsrah (B&B) in Reichelsheim.

We had to take a different room than we originally had chosen for our 2014 trip because she was booked for the dates we needed. We ended up with a room that was simply a room with a two beds, small table and chair, wardrobe and tiny bathroom (the tiny shower was the width of the room). It did have a balcony though and as it turns out, that is one of the highest on our requirements list.

The hostess is a lovely lady, Christel Schwobel, a country girl at heart she was happy to tell us. She was helpful and we enjoyed her morning breakfast. As always we are amazed at these hard working farmers. This place was really geared towards families with children and there were a few families that gathered while we were here. There was a huge gathering room in the building we stayed in and we utilized it several times for our nightly scrabble games. Our room had no TV so we did not catch up on the news and we were unable to get an internet connection here. We kept our wine in the wardrobe and were able to enjoy it in the evening with our game.

After getting settled we took a ride to find a place for supper. We ended up at Ristorante Nabucco, ready for a change of pace from traditional German food. Our GPS got us to this place. It was relatively early so we were among the first diners there. I had an insalata caprese for an appetizer which was a nice starter. Hubs had the spaghetti Bolognese and I had the Cavatelli al Funghi, both delish! He had a beer and I had a wine. Total was 30,80E. Service was very nice.

Back to our place we enjoyed the peacefulness out on the balcony before we settled down with our books and bedtime. Tomorrow we will hit the road to explore the surrounding area.

Sunday, September 14
After a pleasant breakfast on a slightly overcast day we head out to the little town, do a little exploring, find the tiny restaurant we want to try one of these nights and snap some photos of the interesting buildings in the area. We then strike out for our first stop Hirschhorn.

We parked outside the city walls and walked up the stairs inside the wall to the quaint little sleepy town. Houses in some places overhang the city walls. Each doorway, right on the stone walkway, was decorated more elaborately than the last. Delightful to look at and offered many photo opportunities. We stopped at a little outdoor café and had a wine and beer and watched as folks came from church to window shop, meet up with friends and settle in to the little café’s that dotted the walk. Then we drove up to Schloss Hirschhorn. I’m quite certain we were parked in a service only lot but luckily we didn’t get a ticket.

We were greeted by the billy goats that roam outside the fence. They rush to get the food they just know you have for them. A very friendly welcome. The grounds are lovely and we strolled up and up and up and enjoyed the view from the top, snapping photos all along the way. Next stop is a little festival we stumbled across, Kartoffel-Festhof Buxmann in Ober-Ramstadt/Modau.

This was a small, very local festival, held in a square. There were a few vendors set up along the road to the square. Folks selling their wares and others round tall tables sharing drinks. Inside the square long red communal picnic tables were set up with pretty little flowers in the middle. Harvest type decorations surrounded the area and in the center a huge cooker, manned by a few masters, was steam/baking the potatoes by the bushel. You got in line for your wine or beer and the potato/harvest fare. All was very yummy, the pumpkin soup to die for! Some sausages and lots of sour cream for the potatoes. And of course Kaffee &Kuchen for dessert. We left here quite stuffed and there was no need to make supper plans for tonight.

Back at our place we enjoyed a wine on the balcony and watched the naughty goats play with each other as the sun went down. We went to the communal room next door, set up our scrabble game and played in to the night. It is very quiet around here in the evening. After our game we settle in our little room and read until we drift off. Tomorrow we have a full day planned.

Monday, September 15
We start the day as per normal with a lovely breakfast in the breakfast room. It is relatively quiet today, new guests will be arriving later this week. This is a very family oriented farm so family vacations and family reunions happen here quite a bit according to the owner.

We start out at Michelstadt today, noted as the biggest town in the Odenwaldkreis. The town is pretty quiet when we got there, vendors setting up, restaurants getting their tables unlocked and ready for lunch, it was easy to walk around the small town and take in the sights. We walked to the town wall and saw the “Thief’s Tower” and of course marveled at the Town Hall built in 1484 and remodeled numerous times. Always amazing to see a wood structure that has managed to survive this long! We enjoyed a hot chocolate and cup of coffee and then headed for Erbach.

We walked around Erbach a bit and then headed for the Palace. We ended up taking the tour which was in German. Lucky for us there was a couple that spoke English as well as German and she did a good deal of translating for us. This is really a very well preserved snapshot in time. According to Wikipedia “The antique collections at the castle have remained almost unchanged since Count Franz I’s time (1754–1823).” We enjoyed the tour very much. Afterward we stopped at a little pizza place (La Gondola) and sat in the courtyard and enjoyed a wine, beer and small pizza. Then it was off to Beerelden.

For whatever reason we just didn’t seem to find the city center of Beerfelden. We did see the gallows and the surrounding area (farm land) and of course the Himbächel Viaduct, quite striking. It was time to head back to have our evening cocktails with the cows and get ready for dinner.

Our meal tonight is at Treusch’s Schwanen Stube, a restaurant that is part of the “real food” movement. We had a lovely meal with a lovely server. Not much English spoken but we worked it all out as one can over food and drink. We each had a drink (Reisling for me, Pils for hubs), hubs a bowl of potato soup, one order of Bierbrauerschnitzel (brewers schnitzel), one order of Kelterersteak (Odenwälder Kelterer steak- Loin of pork with apples and mushrooms in Apfelweinsosse,with Kartoffelbirnchen and salad, each a dessert (honig-zimtwaffeln and apfelweincreme) and one bottle of water. Bill came to 54.60E. We thoroughly enjoyed this meal and this little local place.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Our hostess has gotten to know what we choose at the buffet and the offerings reflect that. She says most Americans don’t like the liver sausage. We really enjoy it on the wonderful rolls that are served each morning. We asked her about getting to Rothenburg but she suggested we go to Miltenberg instead, just as lovely, not quite as overrun with tourists and much closer. Good tip, that is what we will do on Wednesday.

Today we head out to Bad Wimpfen. First stop there is the Blauer Turm (Blue Tower). We were fortunate to see her getting her groceries (loaded on the bottom and cranked up). We walked up (many steps). Along the way they had the pictures of the fire that raged back in the 80’s.

After walking around the little town and snapping photos we stopped at the Café Lukulos for a snack and a drink. Lovely outdoor seating area we enjoyed a schnitzel sandwich with fries, 2 beers for hubs and a wine for me. We hit the city streets again and walked through the church, then over to the Roter Turm (only the outside) and then to the Arkaden (where we got some fabulous photos). Our final stop here was Burghaus Zum Schwanen-Garten for a wine and beer.

Then it was off to the Ruine Hintrburg, a lovely peaceful walk. We were able to walk around the grounds and climb a few stairs. The view from the castles are always the best!

Tonight we have an early supper at Nabucco Ristorante. A wine and beer, pizza for me and a pasta dish (strozzapreti con Gambaretti) for hubs, all delish. Back to our place we grabbed our scabble game and the bottle of wine and head for the communal room to round out the day with a game and nightcaps.

Wednesday, September 17, 2015
After our pleasant breakfast we headed out to Miltenburg. It did not disappoint! Timbered fronts, stone streets and a lovely fountain we were in love. We stopped a little backerei and then sat outside to people watch for a bit. It was quite chilly yet but the sun was fighting to break through the clouds.

We purchased tickets for a boat ride and then walked around a bit before the ride on the Main. By the time we got on the boat the sun was shining brightly. Onboard we had a wine and a beer, both served with real glasses to drink from, so civilized. While we enjoyed the ride we marveled at the huge castle and thriving grape vines surrounding the area.

Once back in town we walked around some more, down some of the back streets, to the Lutheran Church, past the Faust trucks and through little shops selling local garb. We plopped ourselves down at an outdoor table for a wine and beer and some bread and butter. Here we were joined by a couple that was from a river cruise ship. It was a wonderful end to our visit to this fairytale village. Highly recommend a stop here.

On our way back we stopped at a little bar/restaurant not too far from the farm. No English spoken here and a very simple menu. We ended up with a cheese plate, a basket of rye bread with butter and two plates (we should have split, not ordered two) of bratwurst (2 huge sausages), potato salad, pickles (yum) and a tomato. A beer and wine and the tab was 22.40E. Very local Mom and Pop place with the daughter as the server. Awesome.

Another night in the communal room for our game (need redemption-Hubs creamed me the night before) and nightcaps and then off to a pleasant sleep. The days are quite nice and the nights great for sleeping.

Thursday, September 18, 2015
After breakfast we were off to Schloss Reichenberg. We were able to peek into the little chapel but the castle or the castle café were not open. The walk up was nice and the grounds lovely. We then headed to Burg Frankenstein. The day was slightly overcast but we were able to snap many wonderful photos. We had a coffee at the terrace restaurant and then roamed the grounds. We climbed the tower and watched as some school children had a lesson from a re-enactor.

We then headed out to the Roman Villa Haselburg, a very nicely laid out villa from the Roman period in Hessen. The building that houses some artifacts was not open but the outside open air ruins were easily viewed. Even though there was nothing in English the rooms and the German descriptions were very intuitive. We found this to be a very worthwhile site. And it was free. On our way home we stopped at a little bakery, had wine, beer, a huge pretzel and a piece of cheesecake-outside where we could people watch.

Our supper tonight was again at Treusch’s. Hubs had the potato soup again, the Ebbelwoi-Hinkelsche (tonight it was a chicken breast) for his entrée and me the potato dumplings. We had one wine and two beers, total tab 38.40E. Another delightful meal however it was very stuffy inside the restaurant tonight.

Friday, September 19, 2015
After breakfast we headed out to Reichelsheim and up to the ruins. We walked around here for a bit and then headed out to the town of Bad Durkheim for the Durkheimer Wustmarkt.

The ride there was pleasant and the weather perfect for an outdoor festival. The area around the festival site was quite lovely-terraced hills, covered in grapevines, oh how I would like to see that every day! Huge tents were set up with each vineyard offering their wares. My goodness the wine, quite delicious, was served in huge glasses (all glasses, no plastic). There was a fair with rides set up and we did get ourselves up in the air on the huge Ferris Wheel.

Just like at home the “original TV-Product” booths were set up with gals and guys demonstrating their products. Strolling umpah bands serenaded the folks in the aisles between the tents. So much yummy food to choose from, we had sauerkraut and dumplings and wonderful rolls. We wished we could have stayed longer, things always are more hopping in the evening, but a long ride home in the dark on roads we are not used to traveling on no longer appeals to us (chalk that up to age). And of course one cannot drink and drive.

We enjoyed the sounds of the farm as we sat out on the balcony before bed. We have one full day left on vacation, time has flown by. Tomorrow we are off to Heidelberg.

Saturday, September 20, 2015
After breakfast we stopped in to see the pigs and then settled up with our innkeeper. Tomorrow we will head out quite early. Today we are off to see the last of the castles on our list! The day is a bit overcast but the ride (about an hour) is pleasant enough.

We found underground parking and then set out on foot to enjoy the town. First thing we noticed were all the wedding cars-lovely brides being driven in cars adorned with huge flower arrangements. We browsed through a few shops, picked up some flags and then headed over to the castle for a tour. It was quite busy and each tour guide kept bumping in to another tour-we chalked that up to it being a Saturday. We did note that people were really quite unruly with their cameras. She made it clear no flash was allowed-actually no pictures-but they would look the other way if there was no flash. Made no difference, folks still flashed. Clearly all were tourists and tourists from all over!

After the tour we walked to the bridge and watched the car ferry and stand-up style kayakers drifting along the water for a bit. There were many people around-road traffic as well as foot traffic was non-stop. We stopped at a sidewalk café tucked inside the city and had a mid day snack. In and out of few more shops and then we hit the road.

We stopped at Zum Raupenstein once closer to the farm for our last meal. We sat out on the deck which overlooked a wonderful green rolling pasture. We had a soup (potato-we are in the midst of the Potato month here), two salads, a Sauerbraten dinner and a Jagerschnitzzel dinner, a beer, a wine and one coffee, total bill 38.60E. A wonderful finish for our vacation in Germany.

Back to the farm and we complete our packing. Tomorrow is an early exit. We have one last game and finish up our wine.

Sunday, September 21, 2015
We are up and out early. It is roughly an hour ride to the airport from the farm. Have to drop the car and get checked in 2 hours before hand. We are scheduled to takeoff at 10:45 and we do. The flight home is uneventful. Hubs sleeps and I read my two books (on the nook).

We got through customs relatively quickly in Chicago and then lucked out with the bus. Fifteen minutes after we walked out to the stop, there was our ride. Such an easy way to get home! The park and ride is abut 10 minutes from our house, a very blah offering from the drive through at McDonalds and then we are home. Sigh. It has taken me over 8 months to complete this report. I do these so we will always remember the glorious trips we have been fortunate enough to take. Amazingly I refer back to them quite often. It is a wonderful compliment to the photo album that has 250+ pictures along with all the other little things I save to help re-create the journey. If you were able to get through my ramblings hope you enjoyed it. Always here to answer any questions concerning anywhere we have been.

We have a little web page http://tomshirl.info/ with a few pics.

Now I can finally devote my “vacation thinking time” to our adventure coming up at the end of August…….Amsterdam and Istria for 3 glorious weeks. 

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