Sunday, May 18, 2014

Quick Trip to Germany

A couple of weeks ago Dan had a work trip in Germany and Zahara and I decided to join him. I had a commitment back in the UK before Dan's trip was done though, so Zoey and I only went for a couple of days while Dan stayed on and worked.

St. Goar

We stayed in a town called Mainz on the Rhine river. The town is small, but very cute, and we came at a great time. Not only was the weather fantastic, but the Mainz wine festival was taking place right outside our hotel. There were around one hundred vendors selling local wines. I am normally not a big fan of white wine, but these were incredible. Served chilled, the wines were crisp and fruity. I took Zahara to bed while Dan stayed out with our friend Brock. Combined they tried more than 10 wines, and he said all were fantastic.

We also happened to be in Mainz when old town was holding an open house of sorts. There was live music; cheese and wine; and a fashion show. I love stumbling upon random parties.

We spent a whole day touring the Rhine by train and ferry. We took the train from Mainz to St. Goar; the ferry to Bacharach; and the train back to Mainz. We followed a Rick Steves' tour in a book we borrowed from the library. I definitely recommend a day on the Rhine--especially if you're  as lucky with the weather as we were. It could not have been a nicer day.

St. Goar was even smaller than Mainz, but it had some amazing views. We hiked to the top of the hill to the castle. We decided not to go in (we've seen quite a few castles by now!), but we loved the view.

We had just enough time to stop for a tea and cake before heading off to the ferry.

During the hour-long ferry, we were treated to stunning views and a bit of commentary over a loud-speaker, but we mostly turned to Rick Steves to tell us what we were looking at. For such a small part of the river, there sure were a lot of castles. Interestingly, in the middle ages, each castle's owner was a robber baron of sorts. Owners would each tax boats crossing the river, making a fortune for themselves. People were so sick of this river robbery that they began advocating for a unified state, which would ease the amount of taxes they paid for crossing the river.

Once we arrived in Bacharach we met up with my friend, former co-worker, and guest-blogger, Chelsea. She's currently living in Germany and was only a couple of hours away so she drove in to meet us. It was so wonderful to see her again! She had never been to Bacharach before either, so we had fun exploring. While there, I had one of the best meals ever. Germans are really big into eating seasonally, and it was white asparagus season. That may not inspire much excitement in you, and it didn't in me either until I had white asparagus* with smoked salmon in a hollandaise sauce. Unfortunately, we were too busy stuffing our faces to take any pictures, but it was incredible.

What a fun-filled couple of days!

*Did you know that white asparagus is essentially green asparagus that is deprived of light? Farmers have to cover the stalk with dirt as it grows so that only the tip is exposed. It is highly manual work, which explains why the asparagus is so much more expensive. The taste isn't even close though. It's so buttery and smooth.

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