Sunday was a pretty relaxed day. Hans and Mary went to church and I stayed home and did some reading and took a shower. Hans had the great idea to go to the local Italian restaurant to have Spaghetti Carbonara (LONG story and inside joke with a long history), so we walked into town and had a relaxed and enjoyable meal. The carbonara did not disappoint (although I did have penne instead of spaghetti to mix things up just a tiny bit), and the chocolate ice cream at the end of the meal was wickedly rich and delicious. Since we had such a big meal, that ended up being the major meal of the day, with some light snacking the rest of the day. It rained during the afternoon so that eliminated the possibility of going for a longer walk. Sunday evening it’s time to watch Tatort after the news.
Monday after a light breakfast we hopped in the car for our excursion to Saarland because there were a couple of places I wanted to check out for a future trip. Saarland borders France and Luxembourg and is a fairly small state. En route, we took the Autobahn A6 past the Ramstein AFB. Our first stop was the small town of Merzig, which was celebrating its own version of Oktoberfest. (Oktoberfest is held in September through the first weekend in October partially because the weather is usually warmer and sunnier…. HA!) There was also a clothing market set up along the pedestrian zone in the old part of town (which consists of one street – it’s a small town). We parked near the old church of St. Peter, which is the oldest church in Saarland, dating back to 1200. The altar has a stunning almost byzantine-like depiction of Jesus and the organ is also unique. I also stopped by the Tourist Information office and gathered several brochures and information from the helpful person at the desk.
Once we left Merzig, we drove to Mettlach (home of Villeroy and Boch porcelain manufacturing) and then up the hill to the small town of Orscholz so we could view the beautiful Große Saarschleife, or big bend in the Saar. One of the best ways to see the nearly perfect turn is by taking the fairly new Baumwipfelpfad trail, a stunning trail during which you walk among the treetops until you reach the cliff overlooking the Saar. At that point you make 6 gentle turns until you’re afforded a spectacular view of the Große Saarschleife and the surrounding area. There are few buildings to interrupt the scene, which adds to the beauty.
From there, we drove back through Mettlach and Merzig and headed to the capital city of Saarland, Saarbrücken. We spent enough time to have coffee and cake and find some fresh pretzels and “Lyoner” sausage at a local butcher to take home for supper. Lyoner are named for the city in France, and have different names in different parts of Germany. The Saar version is a bit larger and is usually eaten warmed up (see pictures).
Dinner was great – pretzels were fresh, the sausages were delicious, and the Bratkartoffeln (fried potatoes and onions topped off a perfect meal. We watched a Bavarian criminal series (I understood maybe 60% of the dialog because the actors spoke pure Bavarian dialect, but I could still follow the storyline) and called it a day.
Tuesday was pretty quiet – accompanied Mary to the Edeka grocery store and took a brisk walk around town between rain showers. At the grocery store I couldn't believe how much Halloween stuff there was. 30 years ago you couldn't find anything like that, let alone pumpkin carving kits! Mary made another classic German meal with Schnitzel, roasted vegetables in white sauce (carrots and parsnips), and Salzkartoffeln (boiled potatoes). I also made plans for an overnight excursion to Bremerhaven to visit the German Emigration Museum. Most Germans who left by ship for the United States left from Bremerhaven and a fairly new museum is dedicated to all those who made that journey.
Pictures, left to right, top to bottom
1st row: Hans and Mary's home; Rockenhausen; Lyoner meal, on the table
2nd row: Halloween and Fall decorations; Rockenhausen; preparing Lyoner
3rd row: Hans & Mary slicing potatoes; Große Saarschleife
4th row: both pictures: Große Saarschleife
5th row: Mary on Baumwipfelpfad trail; Orscholz; Merzig
6th row: Viewing platform - Baumwipfelpfad; Rockenhausen; Carbonara meal
7th row: both pictures: St. Peter in Merzig, Saarland