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A week in Germany

We stayed in a basement apartment in Kappel, beside the Rhine about 30 miles south of Strasbourg (about 45 miles by road). The village is attractive enough, though outshone by nearby towns, Rust and Ettenheim. Our hosts were genial, the apartment was spacious, comfortable and clean, its kitchen well-equipped; the wifi fast and reliable. We found local supermarkets and pharmacy to meet our day-to-day needs, and cooked our own breakfasts and most evening meals. Later in the week we were grateful for the cool of the basement during the hot (>30C) afternoons. There was a wide choice of things to do within an hour’s drive: we didn’t do most of them.

We spent one very full day in the Europa Park in Rust, Europe’s second largest theme park. The park is laid out in areas themed by country, with architecture, food and greenery varying accordingly, and is very attractive: pretty and clean, with lots of trees, shade, seats, and running water. It wasn’t too crowded (we were there on Tuesday), the queues moved quickly, and the rides were worth the waits. We rode a variety of rollercoasters (Silver Star, Wodan, Poseidon, Blue Fire, Euro Mir – there were more), and some of the gentler rides too. We watched high quality juggling and acrobatics (there were about twelve different shows to choose from). We ate good food (especially relative to similar parks we have visited in UK and US), reasonably priced by local standards. There was more than we could do in a day, and we would happily have gone again, or let daughter go for a day without us, if she had chosen to (she didn’t). It was very good value: for comparison, a day in Disneyland in Paris costs half as much again.

One day we visited Durbach, a very pretty town and local centre of German wine, with a dozen or so wineries, though the wine for sale was almost all the modern ‘trocken’ styles which we did not buy. We ate our picnic lunch at the edge of the forest. We discovered and tasted eau-de-vie made from Jerusalem artichokes, which alas was to neither of our tastes; but bought some bottles of older wines from Schwoerer. We finished with drinks on the terrace of Schloss Staufenberg at the top of one of the hills, with astonishing views over the vineyards. I drank a cocktail called ‘Hugo’, which seemed appropriate a few days after Sasquan.

One day we crossed the Rhine on the car ferry, to Alsace Lorraine, to drive the wine road through the astonishingly pretty villages between Strasbourg and Colmar. Lunch in a restaurant with a fine display of stag skulls mounted on the wall. Friendly folk happy to talk to us about wine, whether we bought or no. We tried wines in eight or nine shops and wineries, and came home with bottles from four, all Gewurtztraminer, most of them the ‘vendage tardive’ style made at the end of the harvest for a sweeter, richer wine: Leipp-Leininger from Barr; Wolffer from Epfig; and in Dambach la Ville, from Ruhlmann, and Diefferthal’s traditional wine cellar with its ten huge wooden barrels still in use.

One day to Todtnau in the Black Forest, varying the routes there and back again for full appreciation of the most beautiful, highest, greenest hills I have ever seen. Morning walk and climb to the pretty waterfall (I took a photo of my foot for a new LJ userpic). Lunch in the town square with Black Forest Cherry Cake for dessert, and more taken away to eat later. Afternoon riding the ski-lift that rises high above the town, and the 2.9km toboggan that runs down again beside it.

One morning to the nearby town of Freiburg im Breisgau, with its huge, beautiful Munster, modern shopping malls, and stunningly attractive produce market. We saw a group busking with a dulcimer, and I bought a new hat. Home to eat a late lunch of the week’s leftovers, but out again later to beautiful Ettenheim for an evening stroll, and home again to Kappel to stroll round the corner for supper at the local bierkellar.

At each end of the week a day’s travel: from London to Dover, a rest on the ferry to and from Dunquerque, and intensive motorway driving across France and Germany to and from Kappel, on clear roads in beautiful weather.

It was a week, spent somewhere we had never been. We coped with German and French roads, shops and prices. We saw many beautiful and interesting sights. We met friendly people, some of whom spoke a little English, and some of who pretended to understand our little French. We ate some good food, drank some nice wine and beer, and hung out in pleasant places with each other, the internet, books, and DVDs watched on the large-screen tv. We came home with some wine and beer, some fruit, a backpack and a hat. We had a holiday. It was nice.

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
muninnhuginn
31st Aug, 2015 17:58 (UTC)

Sounds lovely and I've enjoyed your photos.

emmzzi
31st Aug, 2015 20:27 (UTC)
Good. You are long overdue some nice!
eleyan
1st Sep, 2015 08:53 (UTC)
That sounds lovely. The photos looked like they belonged on a calendar. Very pretty places. And you certainly got better weather.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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Caroline M

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