Our third tour to Germany was another fun adventure and packed with activities, lots of eating and drinking, of course, but also some lovely walks and cultural immersion. Munich, a vibrant and great city was our last stop, before we all headed of into different directions, London, Salzburg and back home to Santa Barbara and Solvang.
After arriving in Munich, I somwhow hurt my knee , thank goodness my friends Rudi and Charlotte are here they just took the whole gang downtown Munich for dinner while I am in the hotel lobby drinking the leftover wine from our daily happy hour. They promised to carry me to my room if I am still here, passed out on the couch, when they get back! Life, you never know what can happen from one moment to the next. I was going to write a daily blog,and I never got around to doing so, it took this to at least write about today. Despite this mishap, we did have an extraordinary lunch at the Royal Bavarian Braeustueble at Tegernsee with the backdrop of the Bavarian Alps. The place was packed with hungry people in traditional Bavarian outfits, celebrating Mother's Day, First Communion and just life itsself.
My group, April, Dan, Nancy, David, Don and Jennifer (who I believe is really my little sister!) have been a joy to be with and I am grateful I got to show them a "Taste of Southern Germany". They are fun, kind and just great people all around.We arrived in Munich yesterday during the opening festivities of a very important soccer game, this means fans sreaming like banshees, people dressed up as penises????? sorry, no really, crazy as we stood in the middle of Marienplatz just watching in amazement. Sorry, the Bavarian team lost! We had lots of fun asking people where the street was in which the restaurant, Pfistermuehle is located, and even though we were already in the street, people had no idea where it was. Dinner was nothing short of fabulous starting with individual pots of orange and carrot creme fraiche to spread on whole grain mini rolls to the risotto with herbs, the wild garlic soup, the perfectly cooked venison with juniper berry sauce and the woodruff gelee with strawberries, all served on beautiful Villeroy and Boch china. Life as it should be.
Previous day, still in the Kaiserstuhl region of Baden we had an exquisite 3 hour lunch at Schwarzer Adler restaurant accompanied by delicious wines from the region. Before lunch we were treated to a private tour of Franz Keller Cellars with the largest Bordeaux collection in Germany housed in three tunnels carved into the mountain, each close to 300 meters in length, follwed by a tasting of over 20 wines Franz Keller winery produces and only one of those we didn't care for much. My goal was to show my guests that Germany has more to offer than beer, sauerkraut and sausages and I think I have succeeded.
We all met in my hometown of Freiburg, all with some hurdles, a train trip that took way too long because of an accident and others trying to return a rental car to a place with no signs that took two hours. We started our adventure with a great dinner at Gasthaus Kreuz in Kappel, outside Freiburg. It's strawberry and white asparagus season in Germany now and there is plenty of it everywhere. We explored the fantastic city of Freiburg, starting with an appoingtment at City Hall where we met Frau Ruch, the international respresentative for the City of Freiburg.We left Solvang souvenirs for the Mayor and Mrs. Ruch. We explored history, stores, and Freiburgs famous supermarket Migros. From the downtown area of Freiburg we hiked into the forest and had lunch at St. Valentin, overlooking the suburb of Guenterstal where I grew up.
From Freiburg we left with our driver Marc to Badenweiler, a lovely spa town, another delicious local dinner with a hilarious waiter whose name we missed, let's call him Fritz! We spent the next day at the thermal spa swimming in the giant pool, getting massages and getting to know locals who were eager to taste us on wines and other local delicacies.Needless to say we bought wines everywehre..at ridicoulusly (ok, how the heck do you spell that???) low prices hoping we could kill several at our nightly happy hours. I must report, we are way behind with at least 10 bottles left for the next two days...help someone!!!
One of the highlights of this trip for everyone was meeting my cousins Karlheinz and Rosmarie Guehr, who I hadn't seen in over 30 years. They and Karlheinz's wife Hilla invited us to their farm where they raise pigs and grow grapes for a private tasting of local wines and lunch of ham, potato and green salad and strawberries, followed by a tour of the village of Munzingen and the local wine shop where we did our duty of supporting the local economy by purchasing more wine.
My friends also got to meet my lovely sister Marlene in Todtnauberg on top of the Blackforest where..again we had delicious dinners at the small family hotel we stayed at and spent one day hiking the rim of the forest and vistiting Germany's highest waterfall. In addition we all deighted in the local specialty besides ham.... Blackforest Cake..yum!! My dear friend Brigitte came to visit a couple of times, I only regret my friends didn't get to spend more time with her and her neverending funny spirit and humor.
Funny, now I am sitting here still in the lobby of the hotel wondering if it is ok to ask the front desk person if she could find a roll from breakfast with cheese, because I am getting kind of hungry, but she seems a bit uptight, should I. On the other hand an evening of now food wouldn't hurt at this time, plus I do have a box of chocolates in my room!!!There is food everywhere here all the times, but people also ride their bike a lot and walk everywhere, basically it is food heaven, you can get everything from sausage, burgers, sandwiches, greek, turkish, shisha pipes around the corner, chocolate, cakes, coffee, latte, espresso everywhere, chic food, doener kebabs,molecular, gewuerztraminer jelly with your foie gras, neverending bread and cheese, dairy products with no end, fresh fruits and veggies from everywhere on the continent., miles of cold cuts....do I need to go on??
I love this country, but I look forward to sunny California and fruitsalad for at least two weeks! A soul happily torn between two continents!Thank you to my group, my friends, my family, my children who I miss the most...and m,y wonderful staff who all make it possible for me have this privilege of being a world traveler.Funny.....I feel no pain right now!Rudi, Charlotte, Jennifer, David, annyone if you are out htere and you get this on your fancy phones...bring back food, I'm starving!Love, B