November 28, 2020

Wine Tasting… German Style!

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Spaulding here to report on our last full day in Germany… and what an amazing last day it was! Today was our wine tasting day in the Pfalz region of Germany. That’s right, WINE tasting… not BEER tasting… 😉

We were able to sleep in this morning, which was really nice since we’ve had a lot of late nights and early mornings this week. Oli and Moh did a run to the grocery store and picked up lots of breakfast goods so we could start our wine tasting day out right with a full stomach. Once we ate, all showered and got ready, we were running a bit behind schedule so we had to book it to get to the train station in order to make our train. Luckily we got there with a few minutes to spare and then we were off!

To get to the winery, we had to take a short train ride and get off at a cute, little town where we then had to wait for a bus to take us to the winery. While we were waiting, we had the opportunity to take a couple of pictures.

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Nice work, Moh-star! And Marty’s walking with the little communist dude on the cross walk sign!

Our bus arrived soon after and we then headed to an even smaller town, called Duttweiler, where our wine tasting adventure began! First of all, the town was amazingly cute…

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And the winery we went to, Bergdolt-Reif & Nett, was even cuter!

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When we walked up the driveway, we saw 8 glasses of sparkling wine waiting for us… It was a beautiful sight! We were then greeted by our tour guide, none other than the winemaker himself, Christian Nett.

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And also the world’s oldest cat, Garfield:

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No joke, this cat was 16 years old (I think) and when he meowed, if you can call it that, it sounded like an 80 year old smoker with a voice box. But he was super sweet and friendly, so we liked him!

As we were getting ready to take a tour, Oli suddenly got stung by a hornet! Thankfully it wasn’t a bee because he is allergic to them and that wouldn’t have been a good situation! It would have been a long haul to get him to the nearest hospital since we were out in the middle of nowhere. Luckily Oli was okay and one of Christian’s employees quickly cut up an onion and had him rub it on the sting mark, and amazingly enough, it went away fairly quickly. Thank goodness! Who knew an onion could do that! Learn something new everyday…

We then went on to the tour and Christian took us to the wine cellar where they had the wine barrels and bins. It wasn’t a huge cellar, but there was plenty of wine brewing going on.

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After the tour came the part we were all looking forward to… the tasting room! And it was just us… no other tourists there to steal our wine! 😀

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So right off the bat Christian asks us which of the wines we wanted to try off of their menu… There was no set list, just us picking a wine and him opening up a bottle. And the most amazing part of this whole process was that he would open a bottle, pour himself and the person closest to him some and then hand us the bottle to pour ourselves however much we wanted to try… DANGER!!! Oh my! There were SO many great wines… how could you not try a good amount of each?!

Their specialty is Rieslings and I usually don’t like them because they are so sweet, but in reality, Rieslings really aren’t suppose to be sweet. They are a semi-dry wine, but for whatever reason, Germany only exports the sweet Rieslings because that is what Americans expect when they drink a Riesling. But the Reislings in Germany are SO much better! They’re not super sweet or super dry; they are in a good middle ground. Yeah… DANGER!

Luckily when Becca and Oli set up the wine tasting a few weeks ago, they had ordered an appetizer plate for each of us since they knew we’d be tasting a lot of wine. After trying 4 or 5 bottles, it was time for the second most amazing thing… the FOOD! I can’t even begin to explain how freakin’ spectacular our plates were without showing a picture first:

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Look at that care and detail with the flowers and the grass tying up the beef roll! Clockwise from that is melon and prosciutto with a little piece of fruit stuck into it; meatballs with a dip; bread with a pesto spread; a baked pizza-like pastry; cheese and olives; and my favorite, the tomato stuffed with ricotta cheese… Need I say more?! It was such a fun and delicious little feast!!

As we ate, we continued tasting wines… mostly whites because that is the grape the region grows best, but we did have a couple of reds as well that were pretty decent. And the wine we saved to the end was called Reisling Eiswein, which is an ice wine! Basically that means that they harvest the grapes during the first frost so they are cold and slightly frozen. The end result is a very sweet, but not sugary, wine. Even I, who doesn’t really like sweet wines, loved it! It was pretty amazing.

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So, are you wondering about the final number of wines that we tried that day…? Grand total of bottles opened just for us… 14! Now that’s what I call wine tasting!

Needless to say we were all in a very happy mood when we left the winery 😉

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So happy that as we were waiting at the bus stop, we had some fun snapping silly pictures of us in the grapevine fields (courtesy of Jani, our paparazzi):

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Yeah… I have no idea what the guys were thinking in that picture…

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Jani is a lucky man… We had to get the paparazzi in a pic somewhere!

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Yes… very happy we all were! Especially Jani who went from this:

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To this (Oli is pretending… Jani is not!):

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On our way back to Mannheim, we stopped and had some beers and a little food and we came across a very interesting drink on the English menu:

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Sex with a bitch anyone?? 😀

As we got back to Mannheim, we walked past the university that Oli is working and teaching at:

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We then walked by this really cool monument that had the names of some of the Jewish people killed in the concentration camps during WWII:

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The names are printed backwards, but when you get up close and look through the glass wall to the other side, the names can be read forward. It was a really amazing monument… and it makes you get up close to read it.

And then we headed back to Oli and Becca’s apartment for our last beers of Germany… Drum roll…! Marty’s final number:

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50! He hit his goal! And my final number:

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42! Always the over-achiever, I am!

What an unbelievably fun last day to have with such great friends. We couldn’t have asked for a better way to end our vacation. We truly feel so blessed to have had such a wonderful and stress free trip… and on top of that, we were able to enjoy it was some of the most wonderful, fun, smart and hilarious people we know!

Spaulding Out!

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Salzburg and SOM booyaoww!

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Spaulding here and still sleepy since I only got 5 hours of sleep after that crazy Schuetzenfest in Biberach…Germans are crazy!  Let’s go hang out with the Austrians… and so we did!

IMG_0849After ridiculous seat finding and train changing from Biberach, we finally made it to Salzburg around 6pmish Sunday night.  Our hotel was on the outskirts of town (but only a 15 minute walk to Old Town) and was seriously the cutest and nicest place I’ve ever stayed in.  It had the feel of a  B&B, but the space of a hotel… It was so cool.

We walked around Old Town that night and it was purely magical… all the lights were on and the town was just a night stroller’s dream.  No one was around and we had the streets to ourselves.  We tried to capture the feeling, but pictures can only do so much.

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The next morning we got up early so we could enjoy breakfast and then head out to the Sound of Music tour we had booked the day before.  OMG!  Did we enjoy the breakfast!!!  Anything and everything you’d want to munch on was available… We have found that the  typical German and Austrian breakfast consists of bread, cheese, meat, soft boiled eggs and perhaps some museli (and of course coffee and/or tea).  This breakfast had that and more!  Homemade fresh breads and pastries (STRUDEL!!!), spreads, stinky cheese (but yummy cheese), veggies, fresh fruit, cereal, juices and much much more.  It was AMAZING (as if you couldn’t tell from the paragraph and a half description:)!  We could have eaten there all day!

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After breakfast, we got picked up by our tour guide, Peter, for the Sound of Music tour.  There were 6 of us in a mini van (4 of us from the USA and 2 from Japan).  This tour was really great because not only did we get to see places from where they filmed scenes for the SOM (that’s right, I’m abbreviating it), but we also got to see the country side, which was absolutely breathtaking, and something we might not have seen if we had stayed in town.

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We also got do some fun things like riding a luge!!  There were no real directions on how to do it, they basically just threw us on a cart and we got dragged up to the top of the hill.  I wasn’t even sure how to stop and go until I was literally going down hill!

Marty had fun filming his trip down:

For the SOM fans, we got to see the gazebo where the song “16 Going on 17” was filmed, the gates and drive where Maria sings “I’ve Got Confidence in Me” and where they escape from the Nazis, the outside of the house where the kids and Maria fall into the lake, the lane where all the kids hung out of the trees, the fountain and stairs for “Do Ray Me” and the church where they got married.  And all along the way we got stories from our guide about the differences between the real story and the Hollywood version.

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After the tour, we did some more walking around town and then ate some dinner and called it a night.  It was a really fantastic day of touring around Salzburg and its outer areas!

Peace out!

Ann (AKA Spaulding)

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Me So Sleepy, But Me Love Me Some Munich

Erdinger Spaulding

Spaulding here… We are on a train on our way to Biberach and I’m blogging just to stay awake!  We arrived in Munich and everything has been great so far.

Our flights have been pretty great and the travel day wasn’t too bad.  We are so excited to be in Munich!  I absolutely love this city and the thing I’m looking forward to the most is the beer gardens.

The beer here is the best!  Erdinger, Augustiner, Spaten, Paulaner… We can’t wait to drink them all!  We’ll be starting a beer count, we’re at 1 so far and have many more to come!

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Keep an eye out for our beer counting post.  😀

In Munich, we took a one hour bus tour around the city center to get orientated with the city.  Both Marty and I were falling asleep on the bus… it’s hard forcing ourselves to stay awake until bedtime, but it’s the only way to get on a schedule.

Pretzel SoupAnyway, we ended up walking around in the Marienplatz and getting some lunch.  My new favorite soup, pretzel soup!  It was so good!  It’s a beef broth with bacon bits, crispy onions and chunks of the fluffy pretzels. Yum!

A-LobsterAfter lunch we walked to the Viktualienmarkt which is a large market of food, crafts and a beer garden.  We took some cute pictures with some sites around town… A lobster statue, a lion statue that looks exactly like Maya (one of my cats), neat restaurant signs and beautiful old buildings.

Human RightsWe did some people watching, took pictures and even ran into a human rights rally that was going through the streets.  We didn’t quite understand what they were saying, but their were people and police everywhere!

After a walking tour of the main parts of the city, we had to meet up with our trusty sidekick, Robby.  We made the train by the skin of our teeth!  Robby literally almost ran into us as he was running to the train and we were running to meet him.  We’re on our way to Biberach and we’re meeting up with Robby’s mom, Magda, and having some dinner and a beer and then heading back to his grandparents’ home for bed.  I’m really excited for that!  😉  Sleep is going to feel SO good!

Much more to come tomorrow at Schuzenfest!!!

Signing off… Sleepy Spaulding

Sleepy Ann