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Friday, March 30

Hiking in Kitzingen

Many of my posts are long overdue, forgive me? The comment section was missing and I couldn’t get myself to write one more post until I had that fixed. Every so many weeks, I looked for ways to fix the problem but couldn’t find a solution. Finally, I found it, on the design/settings page, it.was.right.there. But it was easier to find after I reformatted the layout design, hence the new look.

Anyway, I am back. I hope to post regularly but a nudge here and there will help tremendously. So don’t forget to leave a comment and tell me to write and share if I disappear again. Please?

Late fall last year when the trees were changing colors and the air was becoming cool and damp, we decided to go on a hike to Kitzingen. Kitzingen is a small village along the train route to Wurzburg. We planned to go there on a Saturday morning with a picnic to hike for few hours and to return in the evening. What followed was anything but that.

We arrived, we hiked, we saw beautiful vineyards, we picked some grapes off the vines (that wouldn’t be used for the harvest because the frost had settled), we picnicked and we drank. Once we saw the vineyards, we knew there’d be places around that would sell local wine. Upon searching the old city for 30 minutes in circles, we finally came upon an unassuming place tucked away behind barnyard doors. I only checked the place because I heard people talking, loudly. It was a gem and I am glad we stopped in. We had 3 glasses of wine there and bought couple bottles for home. Instead of saving them, we opened one (with the owner’s wine opener) and headed for our train home. Fully equipped with an open bottle of wine and another one in our backpack, the train ride that ensued was not only fun and comical but also grand. This is all part of living in Germany, I say.

I didn’t know anything about Kitzingen before and I am pleased we went for that hike. It was gorgeous with temperatures in 50s and the sun shining in all its glory. The wine was typical German wine- a tad sweet and briefly aged. And although I look forward to trying the Riesling from the Mosel region, wine from the Romantic Road region is fine in a pinch.

Monday, March 26


A best friend came to visit and it couldn’t have been more perfect timing. She was here for exactly one month and it was just what I needed in the dead of winter. We were experiencing the cold front in late January and February so a friend to go out with for hot chocolate and drei im Weckla was nice. She is also a chef by education and an amazing cook so it was great to be able to cook dishes with local ingredients found here. And in addition to lots of cooking and eating at home, we also had few trips planned. One of the trips was to Mallorca. It was a girlfriends trip. We were in the Balearic Island for 5 days and it was a delightful escape from the -20F temperatures in Nürnberg. However the first couple of days in Mallorca were cold as well because they were also suffering the cold snap that mainland Western Europe had but after the 3rd day the weather was full of sunny days and mid 60F temperatures.

One thing I learned during our trip is Mallorca is the land of citrus fruit. While hiking, we saw “citrus estates” as I called them because it was land filled with just citrus trees. These included Clementines, oranges and lemons.

We stayed in Valldemosa, a mountain town 30 minutes by bus from Palma (the main city). Our host at Es Petit Hotel de Valldemossa was very kind and helpful. And nothing beat starting the day with freshly squeezed orange juice with a hearty Spanish breakfast at a Bed & Breakfast. The only concern we had was being 30 minutes away from Palma made scheduling tricky. We often traveled to Palma by bus (departed every 2 hours) to travel to other cities.

Food wise, I tried a lot of fresh seafood that I was hoping to eat and we both thoroughly enjoyed the local lamb and pork dishes. One thing that I tried was the squid and tomato stew. It was sautéed garlic and onions with potatoes and sliced squid cooked in rich tomato sauce. Definitely memorable. As was the calamari (sliced squid that’s breaded and deep fried); both times I had it, it was cooked perfectly. (It’s very easy to overcook squid but clearly the Mallorcans know what they’re doing in the kitchen.) She doesn’t eat seafood so ordered mostly meat or vegetarian dishes and was happy with her food most of the time. La Bodega was a restaurant we tried in Palma. It looks like a large wine cellar with bottles from many Spanish regions. The menu, service and décor are fancy and the price reflected this much. I ordered a fish main entrée and she ordered a lamb, both were cooked magnificently. But what we both loved at the restaurant was the homemade aioli served with bread. I think between the two of us, we probably ate 8 rolls of bread dipped in aioli.

There were couple restaurants we went to that didn’t live up to the high expectations we had but this kind of thing is bound to happen when traveling. For instance, a pinxtos restaurant in Palma that sits off the beaten path from the tourist routes was just average with its small plate offerings. The menu was lengthy but unfortunately the food wasn’t overall impressive.

We also bought many bottles of olive oil from locally grown olives. It was neat to walk into a small, private olive oil producer’s shop to buy olive oil from him. We also stocked up from local grocers that supplied some veggies, mostly oranges, cured meats, sea salts and olive oils.

One day, we traveled to Santa Maria and Binisalem, the area with the most wineries on the island for wine tastings. We enjoyed the local wines but agreed they aren’t top shelf wines and good enough to be house wines.

The most unforgettable part of the trip was when we hiked to various towns and soak in the scenery. Mallorca is a beautiful island with views of the ocean in all direction so for a girl that loves water, this was bliss. One time when we were hiking from Soller to Fortnalux, we got off the trail and were lost. We asked one of the many car drivers that were driving up the mountain for directions and he helped us find our route by walking down part of the way. In that hike down, he mentioned he had been to California to see Pamela Anderson, which we thought was comical. When we found our route, he went back to fetch his car and said good bye with a “peace sign”. We now know Mallorcans most commonly associate the US with Pamela Anderson and the 60s.

Overall a great trip with a friend that I am thankful to have in my life. Now that I’ve seen Mallorca, I would say it’s time to explore other islands of Europe.