Sunday, April 5, 2015

Our Easter outing...

Like a lot of Americans, I was wondering what we'd be doing for Easter.  Easter is a big weekend in Germany and a lot of places shut down on Good Friday and Easter Monday.  Easter is always on Sunday anyway, so a lot of places would be closed regardless.  

We didn't go anywhere yesterday because the weather sucked.  I didn't even manage to get dressed and I spent most of the day drinking cocktails and playing Facebook games.  I was determined to make up for that today.  First off, I had Bill make reservations at the Waldheim Restaurant, since one of the family members who runs it was kind enough to tell us they'd be open on Easter and they were advertising asparagus, which is now in season.  Next, I decided we needed to visit the Mineraltherme Boeblingen

We had one o'clock reservations, so I got all gussied up...


I decided to look at the sun while I took the photo...  Beats my usual pseudo-sexual look, right?  Maybe not.

After beagle proofing the house, we headed toward Boeblingen.  The Waldheim was doing a brisk business.  We were seated in a small dining room with two other tables of Americans. 


It was a little like sitting at the kids' table at Thanksgiving, but we didn't mind...


Bill sure looks spiffy in his new sweater.  I may have to steal that from him.


We both had Weizenbocks...  at first the waitress didn't understand what Bill wanted, but soon all was clear.

The Waldheim Restaurant was offering a special menu for Easter and an asparagus menu, along with their regular fare.  I had been jonesing for asparagus earlier this week, so I ordered it with pork medallions.  It came with lots of Hollandaise Sauce and parsley potatoes.



One bite of this and Bill could tell I was loving it.  The asparagus was really excellent.  Last time we were here, we didn't get into asparagus, but we did enjoy it on a Space A trip to Germany and Austria in May 2012.  


Bill had the special wild boar with spatzle, red cabbage, and some kind of berry sauce.  The wild boar was succulent and excellent, but I think I liked my dish a little better.  Cabbage does a number of me and makes me unpleasant to be around.


I catch Bill enjoying his meal...

We decided to order dessert.  After careful consideration, I chose the Waldheim Eis, which was chocolate ice cream, whipped cream, and Eierlikor (egg liqueur).  As you can see, Germans take their ice cream seriously and it was delivered with much fanfare.


This was very yummy, though... and the waitress said it is her favorite dessert...

The folks at the table next to us saw the desserts and noticed as I took a photo.  When the waitress came back, one man at the table got all excited.  He told the waitress he'd have what I was having.  Unfortunately, he didn't realize the ice cream had alcohol in it and was apparently sensitive to it for medical reasons.  I watched him cringe as he tasted it.  I felt kind of bad for him.  He asked me what the liquor was and I told him.  The waitress confirmed it.  Maybe I should have warned him, but since we didn't know each other, I figured it wasn't my place.  


Bill had the warm Vienna style apple strudel.  It came with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream.  

The guy who had accidentally ingested alcohol came over to chat with us when it became obvious Bill knew some of the same people he did.  He was very nice to talk to.  Turns out he's a chaplain and has only been in the area for a few months.  He and his wife seemed to be enjoying themselves, though, along with several folks who appeared to be good friends.  That's one thing I love about living abroad.  You often end up meeting more people because many Americans are here for the same reason and know a lot of the same people.  You recognize people who are from where you're from and you kind of bond.

I doubt what happened today would have happened in a place like San Antonio.  I still know folks from my Peace Corps years in Armenia that I doubt I would have met if I hadn't lived abroad at the same time they did.  We just wouldn't have run in the same circles.

Our total bill was 61 euros.   That included two excellent lunches, three beers between us, and two desserts.  The Waldheim Restaurant will be in Boeblingen until May 25th; then it will close until July as the owners relocate to a new place in Renningen.


The parking lot had mostly cleared out by the time we left.  We even saw some snowflakes as we ate.

After lunch, we went to the Mineraltherme.  Last time we visited was in 2007, when we were here last time.  Bill and I really enjoyed going there during our first Germany tour, but never managed to go back after we found a house.  I had been wanting to go back there for a long time, so Bill finally relented.  Parking is free and plentiful.  You should bring a towel and shower shoes if you want them.    


On the way to the Mineraltherme...


For obvious reasons, I didn't take a camera into the pool area.  For 11 euros per adult, you get 2.5 hours in the Mineraltherme, which has several heated and unheated saltwater pools, a sauna, and a solarium.  For the uninitiated, it can be a little tricky visiting for the first time.  The signs are all in German, after all, as one would expect them to be.  But they give you a watch-like disc that you wear on your wrist and that serves as a time keeper and lets you buy food and beverages without a wallet. 

Bill always has a good time when we go anywhere there's water, but he's shy about his body.  Of course, in Europe most people aren't too shy about baring themselves.  If I may be candid, I would also add that Bill's body is definitely nothing out of the ordinary or anything to be ashamed of, especially compared to some of the people I saw today.  We Americans should take a lesson from Germans and not be so shy and embarrassed about nudity.  They honestly don't care what you look like and frankly, it's very liberating.  One of these days, I'm going to brave public nudity... or at least try a textile free sauna! 

We spent our whole time in the pools, watching people make out and a few brave souls getting into the cold water plunge pool.  We saw one poor kid with a prodigiously bleeding nose.  I felt very sorry for him, but at least he had someone helping him.  I'm not really sure what happened, but I'm guessing it involved horseplay.  

After a couple of hours of fun in the Mineraltherme, we emerged feeling very relaxed. It was a little tricky figuring out how to exit, but with help from a staffer, we were able to turn in the wrist bands and make our way home.  I now feel like taking a nice long nap.

I have decided I need to go to the Mineraltherme much more often, even if it means I go by myself.  I love that place.  I need to book a massage, too.  Germans really know how to relax.  I just try not to think about how many people might have peed in the water.

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