This morning I got some great presents – BBQ tools and coasters in the shape of vinyl records. The big present is going to Rotterdam to see Nate Smith and Kinfolk in concert tonight. Off we go!
This past Sunday we celebrated Mother’s Day. Alice was particularly excited for it. It was a very food-filled holiday.
Alice woke up early while the rest of us were still sleeping to make Nutella French toast sandwiches, which were very tasty. She also got Clare a “world’s best mom” mug to match my “world’s best dad” mug. Although we seem to have forgotten to take photographic evidence, she also picked some beautiful wildflowers, which reminded Clare of how she celebrated Mother’s Day as a child growing up in rural Indiana.
After our first breakfast snack, we cleaned up and then started getting ready for brunch. Clare had requested huevos rancheros, so we made that. Our friend Thomas and Ulli joined us, and brought along their tortilla press. We also had mimosas and cappuccino.
Kaffee und Kuchen
After brunch, I prepared for the next meal – pie. It is strawberry and rhubarb season. I got fresh strawberries and rhubarb from the local farm stand, and made a tasty pie. I used a bit of whole wheat flour for a change, which gives it a different look, but it was still tasty. I also used some cheap margarine instead of getting expensive Crisco from Amazon. It turned out okay. Once it came out of the oven, we headed into downtown Würselen for CityFest, which was your average little street fair, with special food vendors, beer, political parties giving info about the upcoming election, a flea market, some bouncy houses, and live music. We walked through, then ended up in the city park for awhile before we walked back to enjoy coffee, pie, and cake (chocolate banana nut cake that Thomas made) on the balcony. (Alice found some friends at CityFest and decided to stay longer)
One of Clare’s favorite dishes is scallops. I got some fresh ones from the fish monger on Saturday, and prepared them in a simple garlic lemon butter sauce. I forgot to pat them dry before putting them in the pan, and almost ruined them by cooking them for too long, but Clare saved the day by suggesting I just take them out, drain the liquid, and put them back in for a minute. Spencer was a great help peeling potatoes and asparagus. Clare has gotten really good at making Hollandaise sauce, so she made some.
The celebration concludes this Saturday with a visit to the Aachen theatre to view a performance of Holst’s The Planets symphony
After a long day of travel and touring castle Eltz, we had a more relaxing day to spend in Koblenz. As usual, Clare found us an amazing place to stay. One of the things that really surprised be about Koblenz is how quiet it was. For a town of over 100,000 people I had expected it to be a little bit louder and more boisterous. I really enjoyed the calm and quiet though. We stayed in the Neuendorf neighborhood, across the Rhine from the fortress Ehrenbreitstein. There was a bakery within walking distance, so naturally I got us some fresh rolls. We had a leisurely breakfast, then set strolled along the Rhine for 20 minutes to get to the little ferry to take us across the Mosel to the German corner ( das Deutsche Eck),
Das Deutsche Eck was created by Kaiser Wilhelm II as a memorial to his father Kaiser Wilhelm I, who united Germany in 1871. The statue is the largest in the world of its kind, weighing 63 tons, and is 45 feet tall (just the bronze statue, not including the base). It was destroyed in World War Two, but a new statue was made and placed there in 1993, nearly 50 years later)
After gawking at the gigantic statue we got in line to take the gondola across the Rhine to the Ehrenbreitstein fortress. We ended up getting a combo deal which included the gondola both ways, admission to the fortress, and a one hour boat ride for only 23€ for the adults and 13.50€ for the kids. What a deal!
The fortress has been around a long time, and was considered to be the safest place for the Kurfürsten from Trier. Not only does it have really impressive massive walls, but it also boasts great views of Koblenz. After touring around for a bit we had lunch in the cafe there overlooking the Rhine.
There were many exhibits of all sorts in the fortress, including an art exhibit by Monika Kropshofer, who had these really cool pictures printed on a sort of transparent corrugated plastic, with one picture on the back part and a different one on the front, creating a 3-D sort of effect. We all found them very fascinating.
After lunch we took the gondola back across and the river and then enjoyed the one hour boat ride up and down the Rhine and Mosel around Koblenz. The weather was great and we sat up top, but at some point it suddenly got very windy – so windy in fact that the glasses and plates on the tables started flying away and breaking. So we enjoyed the rest of the ride from one level below.
Old town Koblenz
After the boat ride, Dave, Ellen, Alice, and Spencer went back to the fabulous vacation rental and cooked some dinner there. Clare and I toured around old town Koblenz a bit more, popping our heads in churches and shops, and enjoyed a couple beers at the beer garden by the German corner. Then we enjoyed a little picnic along the Rhine before heading back in for the night.
The next morning Dave and Ellen got an early taxi at 6 a.m. to catch a train back to Frankfurt, and a plane back to Denver. We walked about an hour to the train station to catch our train back to Aachen, which was once again delayed. We ended up catching a different train in Cologne than our original scheduled one, and got back around 12:30, which left a couple hours to relax at home before we had to take Alice to meet up with the scouts for their annual Troop games campout, which is her favorite. She brought along her trumpet to play some songs, and had a good time, though as always, came home exhausted.