Say ‘Gimmeldingen’.

LAST WEEK the almond blossoms came out.

Might not seem like a big deal, but when the Almond blossoms blume, people come out of the woodwork. Every year the appearance of the Mandelblüten signal the arrival of Spring, and the tiny town of Gimmeldingen (a district of Neustadt) host the season’s first wine festival.

Gimmeldingen is a district of – from what I can tell –  about 15 people, with about 50 square meters of paved  space.   Nonetheless, last weekend we learned that when the Mandelblütenfest is in town, every single citizen of Rheinland Pfalz descends on the place to celebrate the Spring season and toss back a few glasses of wine.  Gimmeldingen is, for it’s part, a quaint and picturesque town in a sea of grape vines.

(As a side note, Gimmeldingen is fun to say.  So fun, in fact,  that Melissa has replaced the word ‘watchamacallit’ with’Gimmeldingen’ in her vernacular, is in ‘Hey can you reach over and grab that, uh,  Gimmeldingen for me? Yeah, spoon. That’s what I meant. ‘

Man cutting cheese with a, uh, you know, a Gimmeldingen.

We drove around looking for a parking space for 20 minutes, walked to the town for another 20, then got lost in the crowd. When we found ourselves stuck in a throng of people  crammed into the town square  bobbing up and down to the rhythm of a Foreigner cover band (I ask you how –  after 30 years –  can it still ‘feel like the first time?’) we just about bailed out, but managed to escape to an ice cream stand and found some friends to enjoy a glass of Riesling with.

As a wine fest alone, the Mandelbütenfest is maybe not so impressive….except that this particular wine fest  it is the kickoff of the wine festivals….meaning that now, and virtually for every weekend here on out, somewhere up and down the Weinstrasse one can find a wine festival in action.

And it’s about time, because its been at *least* a few weeks since we dried out from last years fests.


Walk to Wolfsburg

ON THE OTHER SIDE OF TOWN, opposite of Neustadt’s famous castle Hambacher Schloss, lie the Wolfburg ruins.  It isn’t a spectacular castle, but it makes for a good hike and is only  couple of kilometers away, so that means it is a perfect Sunday afternoon activity.

We parked our car underneath the castle near  the town pool and hiked up…and up, and up, and up.  This week Melissa took up running with her friend and yesterday I sprinted through a workout with 5x400m sprints and 75 air squats mixed in, so today with each step ours legs were reminding us we aren’t quite as in shape as we used to be, but the walk was worth it.

The castle is position atop a hill that provided a fantastic view of the  Neustadt valley.  Some of the walls were precariously positioned,  short enough one one side for kids to climb upon and tall enough on the other to make a parent nervous.  Nonetheless, no one pulled a humpty-dumpty and we hiked down the hill all in one piece.  We also  got a few snaps of the kids in action.


The Trashy Neighbors

IN DEUTSCHLAND, FOR A FAMILY OF SEVEN GARBAGE DAY IS AN EVENT. It comes only once every two weeks, and garbage must be meticulously sorted and placed on the curb in a certain fashion. It’s not like Iowa, you can’t just plop your refuse on the curb every week.   Every other Wednesday night we spend 30 minutes or so carting the trash out of the basement storage room (where it waits for garbage day) and laying the garbage on the curb in preparation for the morning collection. Unfortunately, two weeks ago they moved the garbage day ahead by one day and we missed the memo, so tonight we set out a whole months worth.  In the interest of morbid curiosity, here is what that looks like:

So from left to right, here is what we just set out.

  • 13 bags of recycleables (yellow)
  • 16 bags of paper
  • 1 120L can of waste (mostly food, ew)
  • 1 extra blue bag of waste for when the can gets full
  • 1 big white bag of smelly goo in an unauthorized bag I found in the basement (should have opened and sorted but chickened out, stuffed it into the garbage can)
  • 2 bags of diapers, to be placed only on top of the garbage can
  • 3 bags of empty wine soda bottles.

By comparison, our neighbors set out one garbage can and 2 yellow bags. Win.