This blog is posted mostly everyday when we take a break from our usual retired Life as former full-time RVer's and travel overseas.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Sara N. Dippity Leads us to Oberwesel, Germany



Since it was Sunday morning I thought it would be fitting to begin this post with a photo of the church that is very near our hotel. The same church whose bells started peeling at an early hour and seemed to have their stop key broken. It’s why we always talked through the organ prelude at the church I grew up attending, as it seemed to go on and on forever. I am sure the current organist at that church has her own way of making everyone sit quietly while she plays the prelude.


The sign the beautiful young woman in the photo is reading said this was the oldest building in St. Goar, the stone part having been built in 1137. And in the US we think buildings dating from the early 1900’s are old. I seems the motto in the US is build it cheap, build it quick, and let the next owner keep it from falling down. We may be the throw away society in more ways than one.


What can I say, when I find a gorgeous looking model who can make any old thing look good in comparison, I use her in my photos. Take the stone carriage wheel bumper in this photo for example. Most people would pass it by without a glance, but place a beautiful young woman nearby and the eye is naturally drawn to it.


The sign above the door of this building says Unterwelt, i.e., underworld. Meaning the place of the dead where torture and torment are the order of the day. Below without comment are some photos of various areas outside the building.







I don’t know about you, but I found this last one to be the scariest of all. It is known as the closed eyed, offset head Appalachian Hill Monster, aka, vicious lindus.


We had a major thunderstorm come through town this afternoon which had all the shopkeepers madly rushing to get everything inside before it hit.


But it really wasn’t much of a storm at all.


The same spot last July from a photo on a nearby building. The water would have been chest high.


We didn’t let a little rain deter us from taking the train down to Oberwesel in search of a place to eat dinner. An explanation of this photo is necessary though. As we walked along beside each other in the rain Linda became more and more visibly upset. Finally she stopped, turned to me and said, “You keep bumping my umbrella, walk in the gutter where you belong.” Bob, who now knows where he belongs.

But then there was the other side of Linda, because as we were sitting on the bank of the Rhine earlier in the day she turned to me and said, “The next time we are here we could rent an apartment for a month.”  And that was coming from a woman who after our first time in Germany a number of years ago said she would never come back to Germany. This country is like that, the more times you are here the more you fall in love with it.


Sunday night in a small weinestube, and I mean a very small weinstube in Altstadt Oberwesel where there is far more to the story than the photo relates. They spoke absolutely no English, I speak a little German, but even so we had a fabulous time together, learning that her father fought in the German Army for four years on the Russian front in WWII. That her husband was born in Belgium and she in France. (Don’t ask, I didn’t understand that part) That he was 80 and she 79 and he has fond memories of the US soldiers giving him and the other kids chocolate bars at the end of the the second world war. That this was what they did on Sunday evening. And I should say not only them, but also many of their friends from town as a good time was had by all including Linda and I.



I can report the 2011 Oberwesel Spätburgunder red was an especially good wine, almost as good as Linda thought her 2011 Oberwesel Spätburgunder rose was. Having been lucky that she even allowed me to take a small sip of it, I can report that her rose may possibly have even surpassed my red. Possibly, but not quite.

This my friends is why we travel, because we never know what Sara N. Dippity has planned for us, but we love going around the next bend in the road of life to discover what it is.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

A Superfantastulisticextrawonderfuleeousious Day!!!!


I case you haven’t figured it out already we had a totally beyond awesome day today. Be prepared for a number of short videos as Linda the cinematographer was documenting everything. Good Linda (I Think).

Next a brief word about the “lengthy Bob word” in the title. I was really proud of coming up with a word that I thought best described the awesome day we had. I was so proud of it I read it off to Linda, remarking I thought it up myself. She glance over at me, looking over the top of her glasses and said, “Spell checker didn’t like it did it.” So much for any support from her for a new word in the English language. Disheartened Bob.


We begin the day with Bob standing out by the road taking photos.


It’s the attack of the roller blades! Okay, so it was just the arrival of the inline skaters that made up the annual Rhine on Skates event. They passed through St Goar this morning about 11:45 about three hours into their long day of skating. We were lucky to have front row seats for the event despite the crowds lining the route as you can see. There were some great photos taken by me as well as what seemed like hours of video by Linda.

Rhine on skates 2014

22 seconds of the five minutes they streamed past us.


One of two busses that were following along to pick up the dropouts, and there were already some on the lead bus.


Saturdays are when you see German grooms selling things to raise money as their friends have a great time with them. This group was on the train we took to the Winningen Moselfest.


Winningen is a small town on the Mosel and not a place American tourists frequent making it the perfect wine festival for us. They were having one in Mainz this weekend which attracts thousands of visitors meaning it wasn’t our kind of place. Getting off the train Linda asked me if I knew which way to go. Since everyone who had gotten the train was walking in the same direction we just followed them.

Winningen Moselfest 2014

We had a great time watching the band before the ceremony of the crowning of this year’s Wine Witch took place. It was apparent from the way the wine bottles were being passed around the band that by this evening they would be playing three or for tunes at the same time depending on which way their eyes were crossed.


A wine festival is about wine, so we bought our glasses, then our wine, trocken for me and halb trocken for Linda.


Linda found the perfect place to rest her tiny little behind so she could better enjoy Winningen’s finest.


The sign says it all.


The parade before the ceremony.

Winningen Moselfest 2014

The family cinematographer was doing her thing.



I told Linda my camera slipped. She thought otherwise. I said it was a photo of the lady’s foot. Linda thought otherwise. I said I wouldn’t do it again. Linda said I had better not.

Winningen Moselfest 2014

Watch for the oops just before the video ends.


The wine witches emerging from their wine barrel carriage. I would have thought they would have flown out on a broom handle. Maybe the mostly empty wineglass in her hand tells the story.


Wine King and Wine Witches.


That we had a great time doesn’t even touch the surface of how much we enjoyed the festival. It was small enough that we could see and hear everything. It was traditional, being the oldest wine festival in Germany. And it was a German festival, not one that attracted hordes of foreign visitors. In fact we only heard a few words of English other than our own the whole time we were there and that was when I was buying the glasses and our wine.

But the best part for me was the the fact the blood that flows through my veins originated in part from this area of Germany as this is the region where my 4th great grandfather lived before he came to America in the mid 1700’s.


She who loves desserts got her last wish, a banana nutella crepe, as we departed Winningen. Come to think of it she got all of her wishes today. Thank goodness she knows a guy who speaks some German.


You may notice that I was carrying our wine glasses in my daypack while she was carrying the crepe. Bob and Linda, living another pinch me day.

Friday, August 29, 2014

High Above Boppard, Germany



The Rhine Valley town we are staying in, St. Goar, can be overrun with tourists in the afternoon. Early morning is an entirely different story. It was interesting watching the various businesses and restaurants getting ready for the day, setting up tables and putting merchandise outside.


One of the best things about being here, sitting on a bench watching the river traffic on the Rhine.


Even better is getting on one of the many boats that take passengers up and done the Rhine.


Of course there are things that can make the trip even more pleasant. In this case it was the cherry strudel Linda bought in town before we boarded the boat.


I noticed Linda was taking photos during the trip, so I didn’t take many as she takes better scenery photos than I do. That is if she takes scenery photos. At least you get a nice close-up of the water of the Rhine.


Obligatory Rhine Valley photo with castle.


Photo of beautiful young model with flowers.


Our destination was Boppard where we took the chairlift to the top.


My no hands, no feet photo.


Linda’s death grip photo with feet clamped to the footrest. And now that I look closely at the photo, is it possible she has bent the bar? Or is it just a distortion in the photo? It’s distortion in the photo. I think. I hope. Bob who will from now on be known as the - yes dear, and/or, what ever you say dear - man. Anything not to rile Linda now that I know what she is capable of. Concerned Bob.


I just know what Linda is going to say (read me the riot act about) what I wrote regarding the previous photo. To hopefully temper my punishment here is a photo of my beautiful, brave, young, attractive, daredevil wife taking a photo while riding the chairlift. Repentant Bob.


Meanwhile in the chair behind us, John and Judy were both showing off with the “look ma, no hands”, technique.


The great bend of the Rhine.


Stumps, all of them upside down. Maybe it is a stump cemetery?


Tonight’s wine tasting was at a winestube right next to our hotel in St. Goar. The wines were mainly local wines from the vines growing above St. Goar. There were five wines. There were five lousy wines. There are four visitors to St. Goar who will not be drinking the local wine.


Figuring nothing could be as bad as those wines we had just sampled, at a nearby restaurant I ordered the local specialty, stuffed pigs stomach, for dinner. I’ll just say that like the local wines, I won’t be having any more of the local special dish.


Linda also had a problem with her meal, overly salted green beans. She, however, knew just how to overcome the looming hunger pangs that would result from insufficient food intake – DESSERT. Smart and Satisfied Linda. And being the kind hearted loving wife she is, she let me have what she didn’t eat. Lucky Bob.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

To the Rhine Valley



Shortly after 7:30 we left our hotel home for the past few days and walked up the street to the Savigyplatz S-Bahn station.


The Berlin Hbf (main train station) was built after the reunification of Germany and is a most amazing place. This photo doesn’t do it any justice but at least I thought to take one while we were there.


Waiting on our train. We were taking an ICE (Inter City Express) from Berlin to Frankfurt, then changing to local trains for the last segment of our trip to St. Goar.


A group of First Class passengers having a relaxing trip. We had bought these tickets shortly after they first went on sale three months ago and paid a fraction of what a ticket bought in the last several days cost.


We had 20 minutes between trains at Frankfurt, so we bought sandwiches to eat on the last leg. I did say sandwiches didn’t I, except this doesn’t look like a sandwich. The dessert queen actually had a small caprese sandwich before she opened a second bag containing the above. I was allowed to eat from the bottom, however the top with the big chunks of chocolate on the surface was declared off limits. Obedient Bob.


After getting to our hotel in St. Goar, one of the ones frequented by Germans rather than Americans, which also makes it the best kind to stay in, we took a short train ride to Bacharach. We have stayed in this town a number of times over the years and it was almost like seeing an old friend. I really like walking along the old town wall with the trains roaring by a few feet away. I guess you could say I am not a person who comes to Europe to visit art galleries. I have nothing against those who do, but Linda and I have our own way of traveling, and this is part of that way.


A wide space between two buildings, a few tables and chairs and an evening of fun.


It was a weinstube and they had an assortment of wines you could taste.


As with any wine tasting we liked some of the wines better than others.


Linda would probably say something if I were leave out the photo she took of her assortment.


Good wine should be pared with good food, and was our food ever good. It was just another fantastic day as we switched tour companies, leaving Berlin by Bob behind for Robert’s Rhine Route. You want the best it costs, but you get your money’s worth is what I always tell my customers, or will now that I just thought of it.