Friday, April 20, 2018

Olive Restaurant in Nagold...

We had such marvelous weather all week that I was itching to go have dinner al fresco.  So tonight, Bill and I decided to visit the Olive Restaurant in Nagold.  Although we've lived near Nagold since 2014, this was our first time visiting this Greek spot.  I first noticed it last fall when we visited the Waldachtal Restaurant and then when we went into the Black Forest a couple of months ago.  I could see they had a great Biergarten and today's weather definitely called for that.  And I was in the mood for ouzo, too.  Off we went.

The Olive Restaurant is located on the western outskirts of Nagold.  We pass it when we go to the Black Forest.  Since we don't always go that way when we head west, it's easy to see how we missed this place for the three years we lived here before we had seen it.  The last time we passed it was when we went to see the wolf and bear park last month.  I remember making a mental note to go there the last time we passed it.

Tonight, we parked in their small lot, noticing that the restaurant is also a small hotel.  We walked in at 6:30pm.  A few people were already there, enjoying the covered Biergarten.  I was actually very impressed by the Biergarten.  It's quite large and even boasts a swingset for the kids.  It looked to me like they hadn't quite squared away the garten for the warmer weather, but I was glad to see it open tonight.

The front of the Olive...  

We had a seat and checked out the menu.  I've been following this restaurant's Facebook page, so I know they have some impressive looking food.  But I wasn't that hungry tonight.  We ordered our usual sparkling water and red wine.  Curiously, they didn't have any wine in the menu, but we could see people were ordering it, so we just asked for dry red wine.  We ended up with a half liter of something.

Happy Bill.  I think the weather agrees with him.

They also brought us ouzo with ice in it.  I was immediately reminded of Raki, which is a Turkish thing.  

Bill decided on souvlaki and I went with my usual gyros.  Both dishes came with salads and fries.  I noticed they had fancier dishes that came with "tomato rice".  

Salad.  Not long after we ate them, the lady who brought our entrees accidentally knocked over Bill's water.  It was no big deal and they were quick to clean up the mess.  At least there wasn't any broken glass involved.

My gyros, well seasoned and loaded with raw onions, which I didn't eat much of...  I prefer my gyros lightly onioned.  

Bill's souvlaki, which was tender and juicy.  He really enjoyed it.

While we were eating, about four firetrucks came screaming through the roundabout right outside, along with at least three ambulances.  I have no idea what was going on tonight, but it appeared to be a pretty major incident.  Bill wondered if a factory caught on fire or something.  There were that many emergency vehicles!

We decided we were too full for dessert or coffee, so we called for the check.  The bill came to 37, 30.  At one point, the proprietor asked us if we were American.  We admitted to being American and said we live here.  He said he lives here too.  All of this was said in German, which seemed pretty cool, to me.

The entrance to the very nice Biergarten at Olive.  It looked like they had a number of regulars.

Now that my curiosity is satisfied, I can say that I'd return to Olive in Nagold.  I don't know when that will happen, though, because I have an ever expanding list of places to try... and lots of places I need to visit again.  But if you're near Nagold or live in the area, I can report that this is a nice place.  And in the warmer months, the Biergarten alone makes it well worth a stop.  And your kids can play while the food is being prepared.  

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Bratwurst in Bebenhausen...

I very nearly gave in to the urge to stay in and read a book this afternoon.  But then Bill said he wanted to go out and do something.  I had been wanting to visit Bebenhausen Monastery for awhile, so I suggested we go there.  It turned out to be a good day for a visit to this monastery, located in a peaceful valley on the outskirts of Tübingen.  The GPS sent us through Herrenberg and Holzgerlingen to get to the kloster, not our usual route to Tübingen.  As the gorgeous monastery appeared on the horizon, I gasped in awe.  It really is a beautiful place.

It turned out Bill missed the turn for the parking lot, so he drove up a hillside and managed to find a lone parking spot right next to the tower pictured below.

The "Schreibturm"...

We passed this little garden area on the way to lunch.

It was about 1:45pm when we arrived, so we felt it would be prudent to get lunch before exploring Bebenhausen.  I have a tendency to get "hangry" and a lot of restaurants take a "pause" after 2:00.  

There are several traditional Swabian restaurants in the town.  We stopped at the first one we came to, Gasthof Sonne, which is billed as a "laid back gasthaus".  The had the Biergarten open and plenty of people were out there enjoying the warmer weather and hazy sunshine.  We took a seat and prepared ourselves for a very typical German lunch.  There was a sign outside that read "warm food" all day on  Sundays and holidays.  But there was also a sign that read that they only serve coffee and cake after 2:30.  I'm not sure which one was accurate for today.

Bill looking impish, probably because I told him I'm about to come after his eyebrows with tweezers.

Beer makes everything better.

This restaurant serves very typical Swabian fare.  It's very hearty and tastes good, but it will fill you up.  We both opted for sausages.

Bill had the "Linsenteller" (lentil plate) with beer sausages, spaetzle, and lots of lentils.  He probably won't be hungry again for awhile.

I had bratwurst with potato salad and a mixed salad.  The salad had a really nice dressing on it.  It was kind of like mustard vinaigrette with a twist.  I was sad when a little gravy ended up on my new turquoise shirt.  I need to start carrying a bib with me.

More people came into the restaurant as we were finishing up.  At one point, a party of three asked if they could sit with us.  We actually had three chairs open, although one was at the end of the table and my purse was on it.  I had forgotten I put it there.  Then someone else motioned them over to share their table.  A few minutes later, a young couple came in looking for a table and asked if they could sit with us.  We welcomed them.  They heard us speaking English and apologized in fluent English for not realizing we're Americans.  Actually, I took that as a compliment.

They wondered if we'd understood their request.  We said we did.  Then they asked where we're from and we told them.  We also told them we live here.  I was impressed by their language skills and embarrassed by my lack of language skills.  But we probably do okay for Americans...  Bill called for the check, which came to about 31 euros.  Service was friendly and professional and the food was good.  Yeah... after a total of five years living here, I have the German comprehension skills of a toddler.  But I'm slowly getting there.  

The outside of Gasthof Sonne.  I'd go back, even if it does get lukewarm reviews on Google.  I noticed at least two other restaurants in this little town, one of which was connected to a small hotel.

We walked back to the monastery and quickly found the entrance, which is situated in a small gift shop that has everything from whisky to cold water for sale.  Admission costs five euros per adult.  There is also a family ticket available.  You walk into the kloster and there's a "rundweg" that takes you through the monastery.  It's very beautiful and peaceful inside.  There are signs explaining what you're looking at, but almost everything is in German.

Littered with coins!

Graves of abbots.

Dormitory room... or "cell".

Washroom in the dormitory.

Straw mattress?

This was what I was waiting for.  I love walking into European churches.

We finished walking around the monastery, then visited the WC, which is clean and free of charge to use.  Then we walked around the grounds.  It was a beautiful day to tour the area, which is coming alive with spring.

Lots of fish swim in this fountain.

A good view of the parking lot Bill missed.  There's a larger one further down the road, obviously for buses and overflow.  There's a brief but pleasant walk from the larger lot.  Parking is free of charge.

To my shame, this reminded me a lot of Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Virginia.  I spent four summers working there.  Of course, Germany for real is way better than fake Germany in Williamsburg.

For another two euros, you can tour the palace kitchen.  I recommend taking the trip, especially since there is information in French, English, and Russian.  It was the only part of the monastery that had information in languages other than German.

Some old style "modern" appliances.

If we'd wanted to, we could have spent more time strolling around the beautiful grounds.

One last shot before we decided to head home.

We took a different route home, driving through Tübingen instead of Holzgerlingen and Hildrizhausen.  Basically, my Mini got a nice tour today.  I put the top down and probably annoyed people with my music.  It was nice to get out.  I'm glad I resisted the urge to stay in and read.

I would highly recommend a visit to Bebenhausen, especially when the weather is so agreeable.  It's a very beautiful place, even if parking is a bit obnoxious.  And what better thing to do on a Sunday than go to a place where God is the cornerstone of life?