What a way to start the day, huh? Turkey bacon breakfast sandwich, coffee with my favorite Viper Pilot. Ja, bitte.
Living in the Mosel valley, we have the opportunity to drink a lot of wine. Grape vineyards are everywhere and there is no shortage of festivals this time of year to celebrate its goodness. I love the stuff, so you don’t have to ask me twice, but even the Viper Pilot, who has never enjoyed the delicious grape juice before, likes the wine here. This past weekend, we drove with our friends to Bernkastel-Kues to the Middle Mosel Wine Festival, the largest and most well known of the Mosel wine fests. It was only about 30 minutes from where we live and the countryside is very similar to where we live but further into the Hunsrück mountain range. The ruins of the Landshut castle loom over picturesque Bernkastel. The castle was constructed in 1277 but was destroyed entirely in 1692. You can still go up and climb the tower, and the courtyard is now a restaurant. We didn’t make it up there, though I’m sure it wouldn’t disappoint.
When we arrived into the village, we parked by the carnival. As we were walking towards the craft fair and town center, we had to pause and watch in shock and awe at this ride. Check out this tilt-a-whirl…NO seatbelts?! Those kids look like they are holding on for dear life! I just don’t feel like that would be allowed in the states. Play Ground Safety Administration (I just made that up, does that even exist?) or whoever would have a hay day with this.
The streets were crowded with a plethora of local food and wine vendors. There is no open container laws here, so everyone was carrying a bottle of wine, or six, and having a jolly good time. We gobbled down bratwursts and giant soft pretzels like it was nobody’s business. The Viper Pilot had gelato for dessert and we most definitely tasted the various wines from the area. The wine was insanely cheap — I think we paid 13 Euro for two bottles. We made sure to purchase 4 bottles before we left so we could stock our growing wine cellar at the house. It’s always nice to have handy when company comes.
For the record, German brats are so much better than anything, anywhere. We took a river boat cruise down the Mosel river for about an hour. It was a gorgeous day, the sun was shining and there was a nice breeze off the water. And the views were stunning. Isn’t God so good?
|With our friends Helen, Stephen, and Caroline on the boat.|
|I love this one of the boys and the baby.|
|This water skier went zooming past us and we were shocked when we realized he was standing on a chair. Random.|
After the hour long relaxing boat ride, we went back to the fest where we dove into the heart of the festivities. There was a instrumental band playing tunes from Grease the musical (of which I totally rocked out to…“greased lightning, go greased lightning“…and don’t worry, everyone else around me was too, well, at least the brave souls) to traditional Germany oompa music. Big burly men wearing lederhosen stood around, tipsy from the wine, with arms links swaying and singing loudly. I mean, come on, can you get any more German than that?! I love it all. I just can’t get enough of this.
|Town center where the bandstand was.|
The village is so quaint and offers a glimpse into a bygone era. I absolutely love the romantic narrow streets with charming shops and boutiques. It dates back to the 9th century and is exactly what comes to mind when I think typical Germany with the half-timbered structures. There is a popular building near the town square, and it is an attraction because it is leaning. I feel like this is something out of Harry Potter.
A common thing at these festivals are wine glass necklaces. You can purchase them in the gift shops, and they are a great keepsake, too. They are also a great way to dump wine down your front when you forget that you have wine in it and let it hang. But I don’t know anyone who has ever done that…
There was a group of ladies sitting in the square who were cooing over Caroline. These women were a riot and kind of reminded me of the Purple Hat Ladies, but they were decked out in fruit and toucans. Crazy banana ladies! I sneakily snapped a picture of them, they were just too cute.
After some Italian pizza, we mozied our way back across the river to find a seat for the fireworks show. It was a little crowded, but Caroline and I kept busy waving “Hallo!” to everyone we saw. Literally, to everyone!! And everyone was sweet enough to wave back. Caroline and I, by the way, are best buds.
|The gorgeous view from the bridge over the Mosel river.|
|Caroline and Alex being goofy waiting for the fireworks.|
|The fireworks were shot from the castle,and it looks incredible glowing up on the hill.|
So rumor had it, these fireworks are supposedly the very best fireworks…ever. I heard this time and time again and I’m like, “Psh. Yeah, right. We’ve got the 4th of July — there’s no way anyone can top that.”
Boy, was I wrong.
I’m not normally one to photograph fireworks because I’m usually too caught up with the thrill of the colors and the sounds, but I couldn’t resist. The show lasted for probably 20 minutes and I must say, the only thing missing was music because the show was that synchronized.
Pretty sweet. I was totally impressed. I think this festival is my all-time favorite. I realize that I have only been to two since we got here and we still have Oktoberfest this month but this was so much fun. And yes, we are going to Oktoberfest.
On Sunday, we drove up to Koblenz to give IKEA some of our hard earned Euros. We needed rugs, light fixtures, etc. for the house. We are totally pumped that our household goods shipment arrives this Friday! Next weekend is going to be a busy one, but we are so excited to start unpacking!! I hope that you all enjoyed your long weekend as much as the Viper Pilot and I did. Stayed tuned for a couple recipe posts and a guest post later this week!