City of Sekt and Roses

Hello from yet another hotel room, this one in the Toronto, Canada suburb of Vaughn. Big D, Fletcher, and I made the trip from Germany to the US, spent 10 days in Virginia, and signed a lease on a townhouse in Old Town, Alexandria. Since our move in date isn’t until the first week of May, Fletcher and I are here in The Great White North with Big D while he takes a class to master yet another aircraft. Stay tuned for details on what will be our new hometown…

But while I’m here, I am really going to try to finish up posting about European adventures.

Etville is one of the first little towns we explored in the Rheingau and it quickly became a favorite. We included stops there whenever we hosted out of towners, we attended plenty of fests hosted by the town, and when I needed a pick-me-up because one of Big D’s deployments was extended, Tricia knew a stroll there was just what I needed.

Eltville celebrates 22,000 examples of 350 different species during its Rose Festival each June.

Rosenstadt Eltville

Rosenstadt Eltville

Eltville

In 2010, we celebrated Tricia’s birthday at Piccolo Mondo – a restaurant frequented by Sean Connery when he stayed in the town while filming in In the Name of the Rose.

Tricia & Big D

Eltville

Later in 2010, I was lucky enough to pick grapes during the harvest at Weingut Eberbacher Hof:
Weingut Eberbacher Hof

Team Virginia-Straße

a small part of our harvest

Even when the roses are gone, Eltville is beautiful:
Eltville

In spring 2011, we enjoyed a guided walking tour of the town:
oldest cobblestones in Eltville, Germany

Eltville, Germany

Crooked little house in Eltville, Germany

We were back again that fall with Big D’s mom:
the Rhine in Eltville

And in the spring of last year? You guessed it: more roses!
Eltville

I’m not going to say things at the Eltville Sekt Fest got a little wacky, but….
me & Grayson Barbara

Michael me & Grayson

I think its fitting that I took this photo in the Hattenheim neighborhood on my last visit to the area:
Ahhhhhh!

Prost!

I am so glad that in July, Jen and Tricia coordinated a trip to the Drindl and Lederhosen factory outlet in Stuttgart so we would be properly attired for fest season. And somehow, we all ended up with matching outfits. Big D wasn’t in town for the shopping venture and as it turns out, he’s away now, too. So, I am technically the fifth wheel, though my friends would never make me feel like one.

As luck would have it, this year was Wiesbaden’s first ever Oktoberfest, which provided a chance to take our new gear for test run last weekend. After just a few hours in the tent that night I realized that chinching my dirndl A.) is painful and B.) makes ‘the girls’ look huge (they are not.)

Despite the fact that breathing was difficult, I had a great time. We laughed, drank, ate chicken and danced (on the table!) to songs you’d never expect like Smoke on the Water and Sweet Home Alabama.

I know it looks like a permanent structure, but trust me – it was a tent!

Untitled

This weekend in Stuttgart was so much fun – We had two large reserved tables and I think there were fourteen of us! We never got a big group photo but there are tons of fun pictures like these:

Tricia, Jen & me

me & Gary

Jen & Lee

The tent had chicken decorations throughout:

Stuttgart Volksfest

This post wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the song that is sung between every second or third other song: ein_prosit

The whole crowd sings the lyrics:
Ein Prosit, ein Prosit
Der Gemütlichkeit.
Ein Prosit, ein Prosit
Der Gemütlichkeit!

Followed by an invitation to keep chugging:
Eins, zwei, drei, g’suffa!

And then everyone chants:
Zicke, zacke, zicke, zacke!
Hoi, hoi, hoi!
(As it turns out, it’s not just from The Man Show!)

I Googled around to see what Gemütlichkeit meant after our first weekend’s adventures – it seems you can’t translate it directly to English but the closest words are “coziness”or “good cheer.”

Thanks to our matching outfits Jen kept saying, “We look like we’re getting the band back together!” So when we ran into this group of matching guys, we stopped them for a photo.

Stuttgart Volksfest

I commented that if we were a band, we’d be like the singing sisters on Saturday Night Live, and I’d be the one with the tiny hands…and then I thought of this all day:

After I posted pictures on FaceBook, my friend Ed said we looked like a missing scene from National Lampoon’s European Vacation and offered this:

I keep trying to think of reasons why the five of us need to get our gear on again since it’s so much fun!

Tricia, Lee, Gary & Jen

More photos from Stuttgart Volksfest are on my fickr page.

Stuttgart Volksfest

A toast, a toast
To cheer and good times!
A toast, a toast
To cheer and good times!
One! Two! Three! Drink up!

Polski Festiwal Ceramiki

Every Army wife has at least one piece of Polish Pottery. And the longer I’m around, the more I acquire. Is it issued to us? Feels like it. I’ve received some pieces as gifts, I’ve won some items at Spouses’ Club events and I bought a piece or two somewhere along the way.

It seems like forever ago, but its only been two years since our group all lived in the same neighborhood. We called ourselves The Ohne Kinder (German for “without children”) but found out the neighbors were calling our little clique “The Evens” since we lived in apartments two, four, and six. We are scattered now, and one of us (not me!) is a new mom. I miss the old days, when we were together and had fun adventures like taking a road trip to Bolesławiec, Poland to shop at the annual Ceramics Festival.

The first day had us in many different shops, each with its own overwhelming selection options…
compemplating purchases at our first stop

So much so, that occasionally we just sat down and sorted through it all…
Tricia and Angel

The town has some super cute features, like this:
Angel, Jen, me & Tricia

We stayed in a fun castle in the country, where we saw local kids riding in a cart pulled by a horse. They were thrilled and we enjoying seeing simple things making people happy.
Kliczków Castle

We explored the city the next day, where I was surprised to see Solidarity flags flying – we were there on the 30th anniversary.
Bolesławiec, Poland

Bolesławieckie

The festival featured more than just pottery – I bought a lot of gifts and a treasure or two for myself.

Chicken Run at Bolesławieckie Święto Ceramiki
(35zł is about $11 US)

And the whole town turned out for a late afternoon parade.
Ceramiczna Parada

watching the Ceramiczna Parada

I’m headed back in November. Let me know if you want anything!
at the festival

More pictures from our trip are on Flickr.

Midnight is where the day begins

Hochheim, an adorable nearby town, hosts a Wine Festival right in the rows of its vineyard every July. We had a great time last year:

I think there was some pinching going on?
(Angel, Jen, me, Big D, and Tricia, who I am pretty sure was pinching his butt?)

Hochheim

And I was really looking forward to visiting their festival for a glass or twelve of wine again tonight. Sadly, the weather is not cooperating one single bit. I won’t complain too much, though – I’m enjoying a cool evening with a good bottle of wine, a candle giving a nice glow to the living room, and the sound of rain watering my tomatoes and other plants outside.

Earlier, I was a bit bored and thought I’d give a Pinterest recipe a try. I had everything on hand for these Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies and they’re already a favorite. Easy to make, easy to clean up afterward, and easy to share with neighbors!

lemon poppyseed cookies

lemon poppyseed cookies

My plan to hand off all but two of them (I’m really trying to eat healthy and work out – somehow, all of my clothes are shrinking?) was foiled, though. I passed plates of cookies on to five different households but by the time I got home, my neighbor Sarah was already reciprocating with Banana Nut Muffins. Gotta love living in Army Housing!

Here’s hoping the weather clears up – we’ve got to get to the Wine Festival and still have time to hit a Beer Festival this weekend, too. Oh, Germany…