Friday, September 21, 2012

Tour Guide Martini Knitter!

I have to say for the past 10 days I have been quite the traveler around the 3 corners of Basel.  Here are the 3 places I had great time visiting:

Valentin Zusslin, Alsace Region

Over Vermouth’s MYP Celebration weekend, The Shaker’s Dad and his “Chick” (as we affectionately call her) and 2 of their friends were visiting from the US.  The Chick asked The Shaker before their arrival into Basel, if he could sort out a wine tasting in the Alsace region.  At our local wine shop that we frequent quite often recommended a winery named Valentin Zusslin in Orschwihr, France. (Click here for contacting info). We tasted some very nice Rieslings and Gewurztraminers.  They even had some nice light and fruity Pinot Noirs to taste as well.  I like the light and fruity red wines but The Shaker cares for a more rich/complex red like cabernet sauvignons or zinfandels.  The village, Orschwihr, is located about 30 minutes from Colmar; it’s small but full of wineries.  No appointments were needed to taste.  The tasting rooms in this village open in the mornings and then take a lunch break from 12 to 1:30 and then open again for the afternoon. 

We arrived about 20 minutes before the afternoon wine tasting openings so we had time to walk around this small village.

Just walking around

Grapes ... just growing along the side of the road

Grindelwald, Switzerland

Then over this past weekend we went to Grindelwald for a wonderful hike through the Swiss Alps to reach an “Alpkasefest” – Alpine Cheese Festival.  Grindelwald is located about a 30-minute drive from Interlaken.  We traveled with our newfound friends, Canadian-Yoga-Girl and her husband, Weekend-Warrior-Guy, and Basel Running Chica and her husband, Ned, (name refers to Ned Flanders of The Simpsons TV show).  We took the gondola from Grindelwald up the Alps to First (2168 meters) and from here we hiked for about 90 minutes (give or take) to Grosse Scheidegg to the alpine cheese festival. 

After we hiked for about 45 minutes, we paused to take some really spectacular scenic pictures, and while doing this, Weekend-Warrior-Guy pulled out a nice bottle of champagne to celebrate Canadian-Yoga-Girl’s birthday!  Then we continued on where we reached the “Alpkasefest.”  The festival housed about 4 or 5 cheese huts located very close to the Berghotel Grosse Scheidegg where we had lunch.  We tasted some really nice cheeses and one that was put over an open fire to give the cheese a nice woodsy/warm fireplace taste. 

I will admit I very happy that I have been swimming almost everyday for the pass several weeks, because parts of the hike were steep!  I was slow at times, but I know I could have been way slower if it hadn’t been for the daily exercising.  I did feel rejuvenated once we finished the hike.  My lungs felt clear and my skin felt great!  I will say this: Swiss air is good for the soul!

Just starting out

The Shaker

This is as close I could get.
But Weekend Warrior Guy got closer

The alpine cheese huts
Canadian-Yoga-Girl, a traditional Swiss guy
and me

The Alpine Cheese Festival

Staufen, Germany

Earlier this week, I went with a group of ladies, including Candian-Yoga-Girl, to Staufen, Germany for a historic guided tour.  We were met by Mephisto (from Goethe’s Faust); and, against my better judgment, I let the devil himself guide me through this beautiful city.  Staufen is known to be where Faust supposedly made his pact with the devil and lived and died in Room #5, on the 3rd floor of Gasthaus zum Lowen located in the center of town.  But unlike other guided tours, this one is unique as it’s a theatre production right there before your eyes.  Mephisto, and sometimes Faust himself as he appears from time to time along the tour, quotes some interesting facts about the village.  But it’s an outdoor theatre production live, and at times impromptu, because life is going on and sometimes gets right in the way of a great theater production!

Me and Mephisto
Photo courtesy of Canadian Yoga Girl :)

Side note: Our tour was in English by a fantastic performer named Bernhard Marx.  If you are planning to do this tour, it’s advised to contact Mephisto Tour to book a tour in English (info@mephisto  However, if you speak German, you may not need an appointment. 

The Martini Knitter

1 comment:

QuotingCarol said...

I love your life! Thanks for sharing.