Sunday, January 25, 2009

Two Old Broads Abroad
Part 5, Bavaria
We spent a total of 8 days in Karlshuld. We did that eating thing everyday.
And I had planned on coming home thinner due to all of the walking!
Our second day there ways….Ta-Da (drum roll) Sunday, Flea Market Day! We met her cousin Leonard, the King of Potatoes, at the pretzel stand. From there we followed him to Ingolstadt. Leonard is known far and wide, you thought I was joking with the “King of Potatoes” thing?
When we arrived at the flea market, he parked his car in the middle of the street. We did too….no one would bother us or our car, we were with the King!
This flea market was a HOOT! Inge bought at least a dozen steins and crocks, and I found some wine paraphernalia. You just never know when you will need some paraphernalia. The day was going much too fast. We went to Leonard’s house, where Inge’s cousin Fini had Liver Dumpling Soup (what I wouldn’t have given for some of Ludvig’s curried pumpkin soup!) and then she brought out homemade desserts you wouldn’t believe. This woman works in the potato fields, cooks for all of the help, looks like a million bucks and is a pastry chef! I felt so inadequate. So I ate another piece of cake. We staggered home around 5:00pm because we needed to get ready for dinner. I wonder if Playtex still makes those rubber girdles we used to wear in high school?

I think the most memorable night of our stay in Bavaria was spent in a little town called Sinning. Leonard and Fini’s daughter lives there. Fini picked us up and we drove to Margit’s. From there, the four of us went to a little Inn because they were having a Bavarian band that night. Oh Boy! Did we eat and drink and sing and laugh! Most everyone was in traditional dress, lederhosen and dirndls. I practiced my German again by ordering ein dunkel, and the band started to play. These guys were so cute, but the cutest one was the tuba player, he wore long underwear under his lederhosen, after all, it was fairly cold out! The whole evening turned into one giant party. One old German even professed his love for me, but like a good girl, I went home with the one that brung me!

On Tuesday, Hertha drove Inge and I part way to Munich. We boarded a train for the last half of the trip. As the three of us left the underground station, we climbed the stairs and I found myself in the heart of the square where the Glockenspeil entertains the crowds. Unfortunately, we were never in the square when it did it’s thing, but I’m sure it would have been amazing.
Our first stop was the Hof Brauhaus. We ate, we drank, we had a great time.
The food was good, the beer was good, the music was good. And of course, I had to consider the amount of history that has taken place there! WOW!
Hertha ordered a particularily interesting dish for her lunch. She refered to it as a Farmer’s Bowl. What she ate was a bowl full of every kind of animal body parts they could force into one pot! It looked fairly disgusting, but she seemed to enjoy it.
After lunch, we had just enough time to do some shopping before we met up with a tour company for a tour of Munich and the Olympic Village. The tour lasted about 2 ½ hours. 70% of the main part of Munich was destroyed during World War ll. As they cleared away the rubble, they removed it to a spot north of town. It took years for this to be accomplished. As a matter of fact, the last vacant lot left from the war damage was just built on in 2000.
Everything that has been rebuilt, was reconstructed as close to the original as possible when it was a building important in history. However, Hitler’s house (the Brown House) was not rebuilt, nor was the large synagogue. Most old government buildings are now art museums, housing some of the world’s most famous collections.
We made our way to the site of the 1972 Olympics. This is where Mark Spitz won his 7 gold medals. The area is beautiful, the architecture amazing.
But everyone seemed to be taken by a bright green hill. It was huge, beautifully landscaped, with long walkways and the greenest grass I’d seen since Austria. Beneath that grass and the walkways lies the huge pile of rubble removed from the bombing of Munich.
We rode up to the top of the Olympic tower and looked down on the village below. There were the dormitories used by the athletes. Among them was the building that housed the Israeli athletes that were murdered by the Palestinians at the close of the ‘72 Olympics. So much of the history in Germany is sad, it seems strange all of the terrible things took place in such a beautiful city.
At the end of the tour, we returned to the city to do a little more shopping, and I was in need of a cola light mit viel ice! We found a McDonalds. When I placed my order, the kid told me I didn’t want it mit viel ice! I said “Oh yes I do!” He explained to me that it would give me a sore throat! After handing the cup back to him several times, I finally got my ice. We were pretty darned exhausted on the ride back to Karlshuld, but it had been another great day.

The next day we learned about the peet moss, the potatoes, and how suddenly a storm can happen. I now have an umbrella that looks like one of those from the cartoons….you know the kind, inside out! What a wind! But we didn’t let it stop us. We had cemeteries to visit. Inge’s parents rely on her to visit all of the graves of relatives on both sides of the family. We did this in Bahlingen also. Inge would stand behind each head stone, smile and I would take her picture. These photos were proof of her visit to the cemetery.
I’m sure she mailed them to Mom and Dad as soon as she got home!
We were invited to another cousin’s home for cake and coffee, which was delicious. Then, sure enough, out came the Rolls, and Pretzels, Sausages, and Cheeses, and lots of beer! I knew I was gaining weight by the minute!
By the time we got home, all I could think of was a cup of tea and a good book. The wear and tear of traveling was beginning to take its toll on me. Oh good grief! Tomorrow we had another castle to tour!

Thursday was a very hard day, particularly on Inge. We had a full day of driving ahead of us. Our trusty PT Cruiser sped down the autobahn towards Neuschwanstein, another one of old nutty Ludvig’s castles. I possibly might have gotten us off of the autobahn too soon, but it turned out to be a beautiful drive! Part of the drive took us back into Austria for a short while, and yes, it was still the most beautiful place in Europe.
When we arrived at the castle area, we parked the car and bought tickets to ride a horse drawn carriage up to the castle. We shared the ride with a brother and sister from Texas. The brother had been there several times and told us we should take the walking path on up to the bridge before we took the actual tour. It sounded like a good idea at the time. Now close your eyes, picture two middle aged American women, both over weight........

Photograph courtesy of from N3PO

and out of shape, climbing a path that is at least a 45 to 50 degree uphill grade! And Inge was smoking! People coming down the hill were actually laughing at us! We gasped, we staggered, we had leg cramps you would not believe! We made it half way and said, “forget this!” We collapsed along the pathway, caught our breath, and went to get in line for the tour. Inge needed a cigarette, of course, so she went to a smoking area, leaving me to take photographs. Suddenly I hear her yelling at me. We were about to miss our tour, and the next English tour would not begin for several hours! Already exhausted, totally out of breath, we raced as fast as we could, through the gate, through the door, and there before us was a winding stairway…UP! I swear I had black spots floating around in my eyes by the time we caught the tail end of the tour. I could barely hear the guide with Inge’s gasping right beside me! If I could have gotten my hands on her cigarettes without starting another war in Germany, I would have thrown them over the side of old Ludvig’s castle!

It turned out to be a wonderful tour, and the history of Ludvig just kept getting better and better! What a nut. But as I stood looking out one of the windows way up high in the castle, I saw why he would build there. It was breathtaking! Inge and I were living proof of that! It turned out we had to run up a total of 30 steps to catch the tour, then immediately were led up an additional 62 steps! All together we went up 120 steps, then down 120 steps!

The drive home was extremely long and hard. We two old broads were not in good shape by the time we hit the evening rush hour around Munich. It was after 8:00pm by the time we arrived back at Fini’s for dinner. So far, Inge had driven every mile of this trip, she had to have been exhausted!


Here are 2 recipes that are typical German fare. I fix them for our harvest event at the vineyard when we celebrate Oktoberfest. Naturally we serve Somerset Ridge Oktoberfest Wine with our Brats, Sauerkraut, Red Cabbage and German Bread!

German Potato Salad
Serves 8
6 cups diced peeled potatoes
10 slices bacon
small onion, diced
1/2 cup cider vinegar
4 tablespoons water
6 tablespoons white sugar
2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 chopped fresh parsley for garnish.

1. Place the potatoes into a pot, and fill with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, and cook for about 10 minutes, or until easily pierced with a fork. Drain, and set aside to cool.
2. Place the bacon in a large deep skillet over medium-high heat. Fry until browned and crisp, turning as needed. Remove from the pan and set aside.
3. Add onion to the bacon grease, and cook over medium heat until browned. Add the vinegar, water, sugar, salt and pepper to the pan. Bring to a boil, then add the potatoes and parsley. Crumble in half of the bacon. Heat through, then transfer to a serving dish. Crumble the remaining bacon over the top, and serve warm.

Braised Red Cabbage
Makes 8 servings

1/4 cup butter or margarine

1 medium onion, thinly sliced

1/2 medium red cabbage, thinly sliced (about 1 1/4 pounds)

1/4 cup water

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper

2 carrots, grated

3 tablespoons cider vinegar

1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds

1.Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, and saute 5 minutes or until tender.

2.Add cabbage; cook, stirring often, 2 minutes. Add 1/4 cup water, salt, and pepper; cook, covered, 10 minutes or until cabbage is crisp-tender.
3.Stir in carrot, vinegar, and caraway seeds; cook, uncovered, 5 minutes. Serve warm.

Casa Somerset

Check out the blog for Casa Somerset, a new Bed and Breakfast just down the road from our vineyard. It is going to be absolutely beautiful!

On the blog you will see "Chef Kay" listed, click on it to see photos and read about Mike and Christine Hursey's, Casa Somerset's owners, day at our harvest this last September.

Come to Somerset Ridge Vineyard and Winery

Go to http://www.somersetridge,com/

for hours and directions

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