Friday, January 8, 2010

January 8, 2010: Rheingau tour

January 8, 2010: (Dieter): After a hearty breakfast of porridge with pistachio nuts, cranberries, raisins, and molasses syrup (and a few full-corn buns with Nutela), Tante Karin drove us down through the Rheingau, to the Kaiser’s ‘dankmal’ (stone statue to honor all those who have died in wars since 1880’s). Karannina and Alexander entertained us with a Rhein River dance under the ‘dom’ or “tempel’ overlooking the vineyards of the Rheingau – spectacular (the dance and the panoramic view). We then explored the old city of Rudensheim, with its many cobble stone ‘fussgang’ (pedestrian walkways) and buildings dating back to the early 1400’s. Opportunities to be romantic are challenging with children, but thanks to our children and aunt who pointed out mistletoe in a doorway, we took full advantage of the moment. Disappointed, we found most of the shops and museums were closed as Weinachtsmarkt was over with its next season of tourism beginning in June. I was probably the most disappointed as I searched in vain to find an available WC – there were many, but all were locked up until June 2010 ☹. It didn’t help to be reminded as we walked by small fountains spilling over with water or leaking gutters releasing melted snow on the walkways – all reminding me of the urgency to find relief. The gang enjoyed one small Christmas shop, which was open were they enjoyed the various handcrafts, from wood to wheat while I continued my quest. To my delight, we found a quaint restaurant open and fully equipped with a WC ☺. Ah, relief at last and a new ability to enjoy my surroundings. The restaurant served the famous Rudesheim brandied coffee, a visual, auditory and gastronomical experience never to forget. It began with the ‘oberkelner’ (head waiter) placing 4 lumps of sugar in a fancy cup, followed by a hot bathed bottle of Rudesheim brandy poured over the lumps of sugar. A flame ignited the cup contents creating a blue flambĂ© which melted and caramelized the sugar. A wonderful hot and freshly made German coffee extinguished the flambĂ© and was dressed with a cap of whipped cream and freshly ground dark German chocolate. This whole procedure took at least 5 minutes, with every passing minute increasing the aroma and desire to enjoy the tastes. Amazing! Sweet, hot, an inner warming, as we all tasted of the magical brew. This was followed by a potato soup (pomme frit for our children), and pancakes (cottage cheese and wild cherry for us and chocolate ones for Karannina and Alexander). Karannina and Alexander discovered a huge 'connect 7' game. After a cozy ride in Aunt Karin’s BMW along the Rhein River, we arrived back in Erbenheim, were hunger drove us to a large supermarkt REAL. Here the children enjoyed weighing produce and getting the prices in the form of barcode stickers. We discovered many different types of cheeses (no coloured cheeses as in Canada). We ended our evening with fresh fish bake and delicious warm German potato salad.

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