Nick and I are having such a great time that it's affecting my output of blog entries. 😊 Since I'm already way behind on what we've been doing and seeing, I'm just going to leave you with a quick synopsis of the past week.
In my last blog I mentioned that we were going on a quest to find the Kaspar Herke Winery, a winery that is owned by Nick's distant relatives. The task actually proved to be a lot easier than we thought. Working off of a tip from the staff at our hotel, we took a quick taxi-boat across the Rhine River to a town called Rudersheim. From there we were able to grab a short train to Oestrich-Wenkel, a small town that nobody we talked to had ever heard of. The crew at the winery was hard at work finishing their bottling for the year, so we waited until they were finished to fill them in on the purpose of our visit. Once they found out that Nick was family, they welcomed us in for a private tasting of their best wines, mostly whites because the Rhine River Valley is "riesling country". Lukas, the 22-year-old future heir
of the winery, was happy to give us a tour, and he even let us taste some Pinot Noir right out of the barrel! When all was said and done we had made lifelong friends and were invited back to help with the fall harvest.
The following day was spent with more family. Nick's mom, Karen, has had a pen pal in Germany since she was a very young girl. Even though she hasn't been to Germany for a visit, her pen pal Christine was ecstatic about the chance to meet Karen's youngest. Christine picked us up at the train station in Hagen, and immediately took us to her house to meet her husband and two daughters. For us it was really nice to spend an evening in a real house with a real family, and actually eat a real home-cooked meal. The family was so welcoming. We're hoping to make it back for another visit within the next few years.
Next stop was in Belgium for two nights. The city of Brugge is a small and quiet one, so we put away the guidebooks and basically let ourselves get lost. Nick and I enjoyed a
tour of the Brugse Zot Brewhouse, where our tour guide informed us of the many heath benefits that one can get from drinking their beer. We also tasted an array of Belgium chocolates, and a waffle. Yum... 😊
Amsterdam is our final stop in the mainland of Europe. We're staying on a house-boat, called the Passenger Ship Avanti. It's basically a floating hotel with tiny rooms and lots of character. The "captain" is a young Englishman, named Jesse, that makes a kick-butt breakfast.
Yesterday we took a walking tour of the Red Light District, very interesting, and wandered through the city. Today we are planning a more structured walk that includes the house of Anne Frank, a flea market, and one of Willy Nelson's old hang-outs. A friend of mine from high school is meeting us for dinner, then we have a date with our suitcases... Our mission is to make them worthy of air travel for our flight to Manchester tomorrow.
Hope you enjoy the pictures!
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