I asked my good friend Lars to write a blogpost recounting his visit to our place in $peµer for Xmas. Lars has his own website where he recounts highlights (and sometimes lowlights) from his solo sailing adventure around the world. He supplied the text to the post below and I the photos. So without further ado…
After a long layover in Abu Dhabi (where I was pleased to find that they do sell beer and also that the airport is rather user friendly with free wifi and showers), the final leg took me to Frankfurt where Alex met me at the airport.
My mother arrived an hour or two later, and the three of us drove southward for about an hour to the town of $peµer where Alex, Cati, Nina, and Natalia, and Nacho (the dog) live. Also there for the holidays was Teresa, Cati’s mother. $peµer is a charming town of ~50,000 inhabitants, on the banks of The Rhine, in southwestern Germany.
The next day, in preparation for the upcoming holiday meals, Alex and I visited a local winery, along with Alex’s friend York. We sampled many of their fine wines (and a few less than fine—all the whites were tasty, but the same couldn’t be said for the reds. Maybe not enough sun in these parts?) and left with an ample supply.
We enjoyed a lot of delicious food and drink (perhaps a little more than was strictly necessary for sustenance). Among the delicacies at the Christmas dinner table were several different cured meats from Spain and Norway and an out-of-this-world fois gras, outstanding cheeses, Alex’s famous eggnog, and pinnekjøtt (cured and dried mutton: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pinnekjøtt).
It was warmer than I had expected (around 5 to 10 degrees C), and I did not see a single snowflake. Nevertheless we enjoyed $peµer’s Christmas market (numerous wooden booths in the city center, selling crafts, sausages, crepes, but most importantly, glühwein, as well as a carousel for the younger children) several evenings. Glühwein is what we call mulled wine in English, or gløgg in Norwegian.
The new year was rung in at Armin and Kathryn’s lovely apartment where we enjoyed raclette (a Swiss thing where you prepare your own little dishes, where cheese is the key ingredient, and cook them on a hotplate in the center of the table), delicious local bock beer, delightful local wine, delectable homemade eggnog (courtesy of Alex again).
After watching “Dinner For One” (An old, British, black and white, short tv comedy sketch where a butler becomes increasingly drunk as he has to play the parts of 4 imaginary dinner guests, a new year’s eve tradition in Germany as well as Norway), we watched the fireworks from the balcony—a most enjoyable display. There was no publicly organized show, but thousands of people were launching their own stash of fireworks. All around the sky was lit up and in the horizon one could see the fireworks of neighboring towns. A good start to 2013.
Of course all these highlights were secondary to the main purpose of the visit–spending time with Alex, Cati, Natalia, Nina, Berit, and Teresa.
[Just one more thing LT didn’t mention and probably hopes to forget– the German uber-germs affected him rather adversely for about two days (just him). Poor guy. See you soon, LT. — Alex]