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Published: June 23rd 2016
Why change a habit that gives you more time relaxing? So we continued our 10am start for breakfast while we gave some thought to a walk to the nearby town of Neef on the other side of the river just downstream.
With having breakfast so late we are now rarely needing lunch and so have we worked out an idea to keep our weight down having just 2 meals a day? Probably not when it comes to the nibbles and pre dinner drinks that must make up for one less scheduled meal per day.
Around midday we headed off to walk down the river and across the bridge to Neef where we thought we might explore the town for a wine bar with a terrace facing the river.
On the way we took a slight diversion to have a look at the oldest church in the town which dates back to 1144 and reportedly still has a renaissance altar from 1522 and a late Gothic painting of the Madonna.
However the doors to the church were firmly locked so our attempt to get a look inside was in vain.
Many of the buildings at this end
of the street that our apartment is in are from the 1500’s onwards and many have been refurbished inside to give them all the needs of modern living. The exteriors have been kept as close as possible to the way they were originally built.
Down on the river pathway we got back into the routine for listening out for the tinkle of a cyclists bell as they approached us from behind. This was one time when having eyes in the back of your head too would have been a distinct advantage!
And today the pathway was very busy with cyclists. Thankfully they were all getting along at a sedate pace today enjoying the scenery that they passed.
We spotted a shortcut to get up onto the bridge from the river path and took it without any difficulty cutting over probably a couple of hundred metres making us closer to that glass of wine we were longing for. Whether we would make it back down the shortcut on the way home remains to be seen.
Neef is a village about the same size as Saint Aldegund and with the locals working out in the vineyards on the
hillside behind the town there were just tourists, mainly cyclists, on the street that ran parallel to the river.
There were 3 or 4 wine bars with terraces with views over the river in sight as we entered the town but we headed for the busiest one which is usually a sign of good food, liquor and service. Plus this one had a special of the day of apple strudel which we thought would be a great accompaniment with the Moselle wine we were about to try.
The tables all had umbrellas protecting the patrons from the sun and we took one that had just been vacated and ordered the apple strudel and two glasses of wine. We did think about a bottle between us but the glasses came in generous sizes of 200mls and we did have to walk home too!
Gretchen had a reisling variant while I went for a wine I hadn’t drunk in years, the good old Muller Thurgur.MT had been popular in NZ through the 60’s and 70’s and it was probably the most produced white wine in NZ at that time and we used to drink in volumes back in those
days. Nowadays we can’t think where you can buy it in NZ except through a specialist wine store where you would possibly find it was from Germany anyway!
The apple strudel was delicious, crammed full of apple with a generous amount of cream and a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
The wines too were very good and the taste of the MT bought back memories of my youth and parties in fellow Bank officer flats in Wellington. This was of course all BC (before children).
We both agreed we could stay all afternoon and sup wine without too much difficulty but at some point we did have to face the walk home and walking was the only way other than try to hitchhike.
The walk home didn’t turn out to be too arduous until we decided to retrace our shortcut route which we now noticed coming from the other direction had a stern looking sign that said ‘Verboten’ which in anyone’s terms means ‘do not’
We ignored the notice and somehow managed to scramble down the bank and cross the road safely back to the river path and headed home still plagued by the tinkling
of cyclist bells from behind.
We had watched men working at the vines on the near vertical hillside this morning when we tried to get inside the old church and it appeared they were gearing themselves up to spraying the vines with an insecticide or something.
Now as we walked back to the apartment we watched a party of 4 men using a pump unit on the back of a ute heading up the hillside to spray the vines.
They stretched the hose, which didn’t seem to be too light, by carrying it over their shoulder all the way to the top of the vineyard some 100 metres from the roadside on a steep incline. They then proceeded to spray the vines without using any protection on their face or clothes. Could never happen in NZ!
Gretchen had a desire to taste a wine or two in the vintage wine cellar we had previously visited close to our apartment.
The guy who asked if he could help us the other day wasn’t there and instead there was a young woman at the counter with a red wine in her hand ready to help us. There
was no one else in the cellar for her to assist so Gretchen had her full attention and the selling process began.
We think she was a bit disappointed when Gretchen only purchased one bottle of wine and a gift pack of miniature bottles of liquers.But we left happy with what we had purchased and the young woman returned to her glass of red wine.
We were a bit later having dinner because of our afternoon out but the timing was really in line with the way the day had progressed for us. We finished off the day watching the barges and trains go by below us while we waited for dinner to be ready and supplemented the time with pre dinner drinks and nibbles.
Tomorrow we have to leave this little piece of paradise behind and head for France for the third time on the BBA V3 and what we hope will be a quiet part of the Champagne area south east of Reims.
PS:another of those great classics we have been longing to use is the theme for today.Enjoy the mighty CCR on Youtube
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