Sunday, July 16, 2017

We're through being cool... a silver mine in the Black Forest

Bill and I are always looking for new things to try on our Sundays.  Recently, one of Bill's soon to be departed co-workers passed along a tip for us.  Not far from the cute little town of Neubulach is a silver mine, which also has an "asthma treatment" area within it.  I happen to suffer from asthma, which means recovering from colds and flu is a real bitch for me.  Unfortunately, the asthma treatment is not operating during the month of July.  However, from May to October, one can visit the silver mine.


Good mood music for this post...

Since I love walking into mountains, I figured it would be good fun to visit the silver mine today.  It's not far from where we live in Unterjettingen-- maybe twenty minutes, tops.  After a short drive through some pretty forested country, we arrived at the mine.


The grand sign.  We parked near here, but you can actually drive a bit down the road and park closer.  Parking costs nothing.  The walk down to the mine takes about ten minutes and is downhill.  That means when you come back, it will be uphill.  Keep that in mind as you decide where to park.



There are actually a few things to do in the area, as Bill is discovering.


If you want to, you can hike up the hill to the town or a mini golf course.


Or you can take a 45 minute walk on the Fledermaus (bat) trail.  We skipped the trail because I didn't feel like climbing hills, but I might try it on another day.  Looks like there's a nice creek you can wade in.


Helmets and capes are waiting for visitors.


I was a bit hungry on arrival, so we had a snack.  While Bill was ordering, I took a look at what was on display.  The shop has things for sale as well as exhibits.





Not a bad little museum!



We had beer, wurst, and broetchen.


Then we walked around the grounds as we waited for our guide.




Something for the kids to check out.

Finally, it was time to don our helmets and capes for the tour.  You might not think the helmets are necessary, but I'm here to tell you; all of the red helmets for adults were pretty scuffed up.  It's not from falling rocks as much as it is from low ceilings.  I'm only 5'2" and I had to duck a couple of times.  Bill hit his helmet a few times, too.


Bill reacts to my quip when he puts on his helmet...


"We're through being cool!"  (You probably either need to be a certain age or a big geek to get this joke...)


The cape is handy for keeping your clothes from getting wet.  Or for completing the Devo look.


On our way...


The mine has silver, but it also has azurite and malachite.  I should mention that this tour was done in German.  Our guide was a young lass who spoke perfect high German and enunciated very clearly.  I still only caught a small percentage of what she said.  That was a surprise, though, because I wasn't expecting to understand even that much!




You can spot these little guys throughout the tour.




I got a kick out of this one.

The silver mine tour runs for about 40 minutes.  I enjoyed it, even though it was in German and my German sucks.  On the other hand, I recently started doing Duolingo again and the word "tief", which is used a lot during this tour, was one of the vocabulary words.  So I will probably never forget that word because it was used in a practical instance.


Since we decided not to try the bat trail, we headed back to the car...  It was an uphill jaunt to get there, but at least my muscles weren't sore.

Very close to the mine is a the cute town of Neubulach.  Bill managed to find us a Brauhaus.  Because of our snack before the mine tour, we weren't wanting any food.  But we did stop in for some beer, which is apparently brewed on the premises and is very good.  Since we live close to the Brauhaus Roessle, we'll have to come back.  They have live music sometimes, too.



The bartender was friendly and efficient.  We sat inside, although there is a nice biergarten area outside.  Food is offered without pause.  


Bill checks out the choices.


They offer seasonal beers, but the one for July wasn't available today.


Halloween maybe?


I had a Kellerpils...


and a hefeweizen.  Bill had a fest beer.


I was charmed by this cute little town.  It reminded me of rural France.



We'll definitely have to go back and discover more about it.


They even have this...

The silver mine was very interesting.  We learned that this area actually has a number of mines, some of which are evidently open to visitors.  While the tour was in German, it was still pretty neat to see the inside of the mine and the surrounding nature.  I can't believe we've been living in the Stuttgart area for a total of five years over two tours and just heard of this place last week.  Kudos to Bill's buddy, Tim, for pointing this attraction out to us.

If you're looking for a kid friendly activity for a Sunday, the silver mine might be a good bet, even if you have to exercise your budding German skills.








Fischmarkt festing, wine tasting, and steak...

Yesterday, Bill and I were sitting around talking about how we wanted to spend our Saturday.  Although I'm almost totally over the sickness that sidelined me a couple of weeks ago, I still have an annoying lingering cough.  We were looking at visiting a mine near us that is recommended for people with asthma, which I supposedly have.  It turns out the mine isn't open in July.

Then I realized that the Hamburger Fischmarkt will be over as of tonight.  I do love my fish, even if I don't always love crowds.  The Hamburger Fischmarkt, which is held every year in cities all over Germany, is always pretty crowded, but there's good food, music, and plenty of booze.  We headed to the Herrenberg train station, since we knew parking could be a challenge.  Stuttgart is also hosting the Jazz Open festival right now and there's also a culture fest going on.

We parked at the Herrenberg station and I was immediately confronted by some very charming political statements painted on the walls.  Sometimes graffiti is interesting because it can be a commentary by the people.  Suffice to say, there are people out there who were not impressed by the G20 and let it be known all over the walls.  In the interest of keeping my blog post rated PG, I will not post the pictures here.  Maybe I'll put them on my regular blog.

There was a large "hen party" that arrived at about the same time we did.  The large group of women had matching t-shirts and whistles, which they proceeded to blow several times before and during the ride to Stuttgart.  We were sitting near the front of the train and could hear them all the way in the back of the car.  They sounded like they were having a lot of fun, although maybe not as much fun as the hen party we ran into in Luxembourg back in 2012.  That party featured a woman wearing a rubber phallus on her nose, adult diapers, and an old lady's dress.  There was also a guy wearing women's lingerie and a sign that read "I love penis." on his back.  That was funny, but what was funnier were the nuns who were in the same car and the Asian tourists who wanted a picture.  And the hen party revelers happily obliged.



Stuttgart was busy yesterday!


The Fischmarkt was also very busy.  As soon as we entered the market, we were almost swept away by a current of people walking around, checking out the food booths.  There were all kinds of fishy delights available, everything from smoked salmon to fried shrimp.






As you might expect, the focus is on eating and drinking.  We took a seat at a table and a waiter soon appeared to take our drink order.  We asked for a couple of Jever Pils.  Jever clearly invests a lot in this market.  If you want food, you have to get it yourself.  I sent Bill to find us something fried.


Meanwhile, I focused on the beer.  These .3 liter glasses were four euros each-- actually three euros with a one euro "pfand".  For those who don't know, the "pfand" is money you pay to ensure that you bring back the dishes and glasses.  You get the euro back when you bring back the glass or plate.


I had to include at least one shot of my disinterested husband...  ;-)  


And he's always a provider!  He found us some fish croquettes and shrimp.  Both came with super fresh bread and a delicious garlic sauce.  The shrimp were a hit with me.  I liked the fish too, although they brought back memories of eating fish sticks in the late 70s.


Bill enjoys the fish... and we listen to the hawkers selling fruit, wurst, and cheese...


I was tempted by the crepes.  They smelled delicious!



Pickles!




On the way out, we stopped by a stand selling wine.  We had a couple of glasses of champagne.  Then I realized we could walk a ways away from the market and taste some other wines.  We headed to the markthalle, where there is a wine bar called Der Weinhandlung Kreis.  



The wine bar is actually a tiny place, but they always have good music played on vinyl and tasty wines.  If you want, you can have a small snack.  We didn't want.



He had red.  I had white.  And I also tried another glass of champagne, one I had not heard of before.


I got a kick out of the Guns n' Roses t-shirts I saw yesterday... and the acid washed jeans!

After we stopped for wine, we needed a bathroom.  We had to walk through the culture fest to find one.


I love big signs that advertise WCs.


This festival actually looked pretty interesting.  They had food from different countries, live music, and lots of things to buy.  I think I might have enjoyed that more than the fish market.  With the Jazz Open also going on, Stuttgart was teeming with people!


On the way to the WC, we spotted a wine bar we had not seen before.  We briefly considered tasting more wine, but then looked at the time and realized our dogs were waiting for their dinner and a pee break.


But next time we're in downtown Stuttgart, we will have to drop by.




More scenes from the summer culture festival, which ends today.  They had some really nice food booths there, including one with Cuban delicacies.

We got home from our festing at about 6:00pm, realizing we didn't have much in the way of dinner fixings.  I got the bright idea to go to Tommi's Bistro, since it had been awhile since our last visit.  We were the only ones there at about 7:00pm.  The sous chef was hanging out at the bar, playing on his computer.  Nevertheless, we both enjoyed our steaks and, by the time we left, there were two other couples dining.


I had my usual rib eye and wild potatoes.


Bill had a rump steak and pommes.  These were both the smaller cut at 200 grams.  Our waitress last night was awesome, as usual.  She did her best to upsell, although we were both a little too full.  It occurs to me I could use more roughage in my diet.


On the walk home, I noticed someone with a brand new American style two car garage.  I took a photo for posterity.

Tommi's is going to be closing for the month of August, but is open for the rest of July and after September 1st.  All in all, we had a great time yesterday.  I do enjoy the fish market, although one visit a year is probably plenty for me.  Last year, we didn't go to the fish market, but we did see Van Morrison during the Jazz Open.  Maybe next year, we'll catch another show instead of eating fried shrimp (although they were delicious!).  It's a real treat to live near a city where so much is going on and we don't have to drive to get there.

Today, we're hoping to visit a silver mine.  Stay tuned for the write up.