Saturday, March 25, 2017

A walk at Monbachtal and lunch at the Schönbuch Bräu Brauhaus in Calw

We had absolutely beautiful spring weather today.  The sun was shining and the temperatures were very mild.  Bill and I decided today would be the day we took a walk at Monbach, a beautiful creekside walk near the town of Bad Liebenzell, which is about a half hour's drive from our home in Unterjettingen.

We arrived at Monbach at about noon.  There is a Christian mission there, where people can rent a room or a holiday house and enjoy nature.  There are also walking trails where one can communing with nature.  Although we left our dogs at home today, we could have brought them with us.  I'm kind of glad we didn't, though.  Monbach is a very beautiful and serene place and not having them with us gave me the chance to get some photos of a very handsome heron.

Besides walking, visitors can enjoy kayaking and mini golf on the mission grounds.  There's also a sportszentrum near the Monbach area which includes an ice skating rink.  I haven't been ice skating since about 1980, but I caught myself thinking I'd like to stop there sometime and give it a try.  Maybe it's like riding a bike... or maybe I'll end up breaking my ass.

Parking at Monbachtal is free, although it's not particularly plentiful.  Below are some photos from our walk, which ended up being almost three miles.


These little signs were at the beginning of the walk.  They explain the flora and fauna you might encounter on your walk.


The walk had a lot of what looked like pasture areas for livestock.  We didn't see any cows or horses today, but there was plenty of electric fencing.  I don't think it was working today, but I wasn't about to test it for myself.



This particular trail was for bikers, so we had many bikers passing us as we walked.



There were a few of these, as the path was next to railroad tracks.  One train passed as we walked and we could barely hear it.  They're probably for drainage, but I bet more than one person has peed in there.  I am not among them, though.




I brought my new camera and played with the settings a bit...



I managed to zoom in and get several shots of this handsome heron, who was hunting for fish.  We also saw a guy fly fishing in the creek.


Information on fishing.


This is a snack bar on the grounds.  It's mostly ice cream, soda, and the like.  There's also a larger cafe near the mini golf course.  We decided to go to the Schönbuch Bräu Brauhaus in Calw, which is on the way home.


Many Americans living near Stuttgart are familiar with this brewery and its chain of restaurants.  Like many Americans, Bill and I have been to the Brauhaus in Böblingen several times.  The one in Calw is probably closer to where we live.  Today was our first time visiting.

There is a large public parking lot outside of the restaurant.  Most of the time, you have to pay to park there.  On Saturdays after 1:00pm, parking is free.  There are signs informing people of this, but Bill missed them.  A helpful local smiled and reminded Bill of the time, but he'd already paid.  It's really cheap anyway.  I think Bill said he paid about 50 cents for a ticket good until Monday.


Bill checks out the specials.


The menu is the same as the one in Böblingen.  On Monday nights, they have all you can eat spare ribs.  On Wednesdays, they have burger night.  We might have to come back for the ribs.


We decided to have the Weizenbock currently available on tap.  It weighs in at about 7% ABV.  Weizenbock is traditionally offered during Lent, so it was nice to get to try it.  Weizenbocks were brewed in the Middle-Ages at monasteries.  They were the only source of energy that monks were allowed to get during Lent.  




I decided to have the Schweinshaxe, something I enjoy but rarely order because it's always way too much for me to finish.  I was hungry after our walk, though, and having missed it at Funzel last weekend, I decided today was a good day for a pork knuckle.  Bill went with the Schweinebraten, which is never a disappointment in these parts.  Our waitress was very friendly and spoke English.


My pork knuckle came with farmhouse bread.  It was very fresh and tasted like it was made with beer.    I only ate one piece, though, because I knew I was about to be hit with plenty of protein.


And here it is in all its glory!  It was delicious, but I have enough leftover to last the rest of the week!


Bill's dish came with spaetzle and red cabbage.  His lunch wasn't impossible to finish.


I cracked a dirty joke to get Bill to make this face.


Cheers!


I confess, part of the reason I didn't finish more of the pork knuckle is because I wanted a piece of Black Forest cake.  Bill and I split this, which was a wise decision.  It wasn't too heavy or sweet, so it turned out okay.


This is the inside of the Calw version of the Brauhaus.  I think I prefer it to the one in Böblingen.  The inside reminds me a little of a church.  There's also a nice outside dining area.  ETA: A German friend tells me this used to be a gym, hence the high ceilings...

Our bill was about 36 euros.  Bill rounded up to 40 euros.  Our kind waitress wished us a pleasant stay in Germany and seemed surprised when we told her we live here.  I promised her that I'm working on my German.  


See the sign that says "Nette Toilette"?  Last time we visited Calw, I noticed them all over the city.  I did some research and learned that Calw is a city that participates in the Nette Toilette program (nice toilet).  Local businesses get paid to allow non-patrons to use their bathrooms.  It's a win/win/win.  Visitors are less likely to pee in the alleys and the city doesn't have to equip the city with public toilets.  Businesses get more traffic and potential customers, as well as money from the local government.


All in all, it was a pleasant visit... well worth the trip!

We had a really nice visit to Monbach today.  The weather was amazing.  I was reminded of how many nice areas there are around Stuttgart, just a little ways beyond the city.  We need to visit Bad Liebenzell and Calw more often.  Both are very pleasant places to spend an afternoon.

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