Six Wheels in Germany – September 2021 (Month 90)

Our honeymoon?

As mentioned last month, Klaus and I got married this month and I wrote a separate blog post about it… Reader, I married him

We would not be able to have our honeymoon this year due to my new job so we started planning it for next June. And we decided on a road trip to Italy. We couldn’t possibly do this in a Skoda Octavia or my Smart Cabrio so it seemed a good plan to buy ourselves a suitable car. As Klaus had his whole life desired to drive the BMW 2.8i six-cylinder engine, and you can drive one of these clad nicely in a BMW Z3, he started thinking about buying one as a fun car. We visited two and drove them both and ended up with our wonderful 21-year-old blue one, named Zuzanna.

Photo by Klaus

We also needed to rent another garage for it, as it had a Saisonkennzeichen (part-time tax and registration) which is equivalent to it being SORNed in the UK, so it has to be off the road from November to March each year. As it is a convertible it needs to be in a closed garage really, so after struggling to find anything we eventually were lucky with an underground garage in Kempen, where we were able to rent a garage space. It’s near the Lidl where we do our shopping sometimes, about 5km away from our home so we can walk there to collect the car if we wish,.

Niederrhein in the mirror
Riding with the top down

We took ownership of the car at the beginning of September and decided we ought to try it out on the first weekend after our wedding and take a short road-trip honeymoon of one night, also taking the opportunity to visit Klaus’s father.

We booked ourselves into a Jagdschloss (a hunting hotel) just outside of Darmstadt and planned to drive there and back on scenic routes, rather than the motorway.

So we set off on the Saturday morning enjoying the sunshine with the top down after the first half hour (the roof was still a bit wet at the beginning as the car had overnighted outside our flat).

We started on the Autobahn but once we reached Köln we headed onto A-roads instead (which are B or L roads in German).

Helen driving too!

We knew from our experiences with Leo that you need a baseball cap in a convertible… so we were well organised.

We had made ourselves a picnic lunch of cheese, salami, cucumber, houmous, olives and tomatoes and sat on a bench in a quiet park area to eat them. I also had a flask of tea of course!

We continued on and I realised I needed the loo after half an hour so we diverted to the town of Unkel beside the Rhein as it had public loos.

Scenic street in Unkel

I was rather tempted by the ice cream stall in Unkel but fortunately had left my purse in the car so we headed on along the Rhein. We had been driving down the East side of the Rhein which is the less-used route for bike tours but crossed over at Koblenz so we were now driving along roads where I had cycled loads of times.

Driving past the vineyards

We decided it would be good to stop for cake at St Goar overlooking Loreley, so in due course we motored into St Goar and found a likely-looking spot.

View upriver at Loreley

The cake selection was “in Ordnung” as the Germans say!

After our tea and cake we continued along the Rhein until Bingen where we headed away from the river towards Darmstadt on new roads to me.

Our hotel, the Jagdschloss, looked impressive.

Photo by Klaus, Jagdschloss Kranichstein

Our room was actually in a new annexe but was comfortable and looked out over some parkland.

After a bit of a relax it was time to go for our evening meal. We dressed up for the occasion!

Wedding dress reused with an Indian shawl which was a gift from my friend Rashmi

There was a wedding taking place so the main restaurant was closed but the bistro was open and served very good food. We enjoyed a slow meal sitting outside on the terrace with the wedding celebrations in the background. Klaus had a three-course wine journey which was very good!

The next morning we went to the breakfast area for a cup of tea/coffee (no breakfast for us) and various wedding guests were explaining how they had had food poisoning (something to do with raw tuna). They were clearly well enough to eat breakfast though, so it was a relatively short-term thing. But they said they knew 20 people who had become ill.

After breakfast it was time to set off on the scenic route to Mannheim to visit Klaus’s father, but driving via the Odenwald.

It was another lovely sunny morning and the roads were great.

We really enjoyed driving along speedy roads over hills and through valleys with various villages in between.

We arrived at the Rheinterrasse in Mannheim where Klaus’s father was meeting us for lunch. We had a good lunch there (Klaus had his favourite local dish, Wurstsalat) and then went back to Klaus’s father’s flat for a short while. Klaus took his father for a spin in Zuzanna.

We then bid goodbye and set off, again on quieter roads, this time taking the Bergstraße Route heading north.

We stopped for coffee/tea and cake in Heppenheim.

It was very hot outside and I had fancied an ice cream but the ice cream place was short-staffed so not serving outside tables. So we sat at a Bistro and enjoyed cake.

On the way back to the car I saw this impressive yarn-bombed bike.

After Heppenheim we took the motorway home as time was marching on – we ended up being in the car for about six hours that day which was probably enough. We decided for our real honeymoon next June we will do 250-300 kms per day maximum which will give us time to stop and see things, as the speeds are quite low when going through villages.

However, we enjoyed Mini Honeymoon 1 so much we are planning to do some more before the real honeymoon. Watch out for Mini Honeymoon 2 in October…

Convertible for Cake

Klaus of course wanted Lara to have a chance to travel in Zuzanna so we travelled in two cars to our favourite café, Bauerncafé Büllhorsthof in Winnekendonk (I followed behind in the Octavia).

I had my favourite Pfirsisch Schmand Kuchen

Lara had Oma Gerda’s Apfeltraum

And then Klaus surprised us all by going for something different, the rich chocolate cake (which he said was wonderful).

He took Lara straight home and I picked him up later from the underground garage where he had parked Zuzanna again.

Fritz’s Birthday

Friend Fritz who lives near Willebadessen invited us and some other friends to celebrate his birthday.

We had originally planned to stay overnight but in the end because of looking after Poppy it worked out easier to drive back that evening. That meant that it would be 5+ hours of driving, so Klaus put his foot down a bit when it was safe to do so….

Kilometres per hour, not mph!

It was lovely to see Fritz and Biggi again and also to meet some other velomobilists and also some of their Tandem friends.

Fritz had made a wonderful cake:

It went very well with cream!

I had made a selection of items, which were displayed on this etagere. I made chocolate shortbread biscuits (although with granular brown sugar rather than caster brown sugar so they were a bit crunchy), some mega-potent brownies and then the bottom layer was a low-carb Apple Streusel.

Helen’s Etagère

We had to regularly top up the etagère as people seemed happy to eat lots of cake. Of course!

In the evening we had a very tasty barbecue with some great local meat. We also had home-made bread (Fritz has real expertise at this!), potato salad and coleslaw, so not very low carb for Klaus and I but we really enjoyed it.

We had to leave before 9 so we weren’t back too late and zoomed home. It is a shame for Klaus that I do not drive at night (I don’t see very well at night) as otherwise he could have enjoyed some wine but safety comes first!

Cycling for Cakes

This month I did very little cycling, although Klaus had a week off work and took himself out every day for a ride, a couple over 100km.

Anyway, this is what I did (red is trike, green is velomobile or walking, blue is running):

Although I haven’t done much in the way of cycling this year, we did rediscover a lovely café/wine bar in Wachtendonk which we used to visit but had forgotten about.

One evening Klaus and I decided to cycle there and as Gudula was free she came with us. It’s just 10km away which doesn’t really burn off the cakes, but they taste so good it doesn’t really matter!

I chose Stachelbeer Baiser, Klaus and Gudula Eierlikör
A close-up of the Eierlikör

And then the following Sunday when I woke up and stood on the scales I had magically reached my goal!

And I had achieved this in eleven months, as you can see below. When I started dieting I only recorded my weight when it was a reduction from the previous figure, rather than minor ups and downs. In mid-June after our summer holiday we got the new scales which automatically add the weight to the app, thus yellow where I slightly increase. But the 21 Day trend line gives a good idea of the general direction.

I posted this on Facebook and chum Ralf asked where we were going for cake to celebrate. So I suggested Hinterhof and invited him along. He said yes, as did Gudula and Frank, and Lara who was with us, so we had another visit to Hinterhof in Wachtendonk and some more great cakes! We had 2 trikes, a velomobile, 2 e-bikes and 1 normal bike in our little group meandering our way to Wachtedonk.

Himbeer Mascarpone
Apfel Schmand
Plum Cake

We have really enjoyed rediscovering Hinterhof and will undoubtedly visit it again over the next months! Now I have reached my goal weight I can eat more cake!

Excitement in Escheln!

We live in the small hamlet of Escheln/Bendheide where not much happens a lot of the time… but one Saturday evening plenty was happening!

We decided to go out with Poppy for a walk just before dark and on our way round the block we saw these balloons.

The one on the left had landed in a field of cows (which they possibly didn’t originally realise as the cows were all at the far end of the field) and the other one had landed on the Asparagus Beds belonging to the local farmer.

The silver balloon lifted slightly to get off the asparagus but still flattened a fair few plants!

The people in the balloon in the cow field didn’t get out as the cows ran over to the balloon – they were very curious.

Most of the population of Bendheide/Escheln was out observing, along with their dogs, so it was quite a festive atmosphere!

The silver balloon partly deflated and the silk landed on the fence which had some barbed wire in places – I hope it wasn’t damaged. The other balloon stayed firmly inflated due to the cows.

The cows were very curious but the farmer soon came over and suggested they moved the balloon to the next field – a mixture of flying and dragging worked OK.

Eventually the balloon hopped over the fence and it could start to be deflated for packing up. We continued on our walk so didn’t watch that aspect.

A couple of days later Klaus was looking in some old photos and saw that he had seen the same balloon (the forklift one) landing just round the corner three years ago!

Cakes this month

I have included lots of cake photos above of course but there were also some other occasions when we enjoyed something sweet.

There’s not much more to report from this month. I have continued enjoying my new job and learning more all the time. I’ve continued cycling to work most of the time, I just cheated and took the car on one very rainy day. My colleagues are great and it’s so nice to have a non-stressful job. Oh, and I bought my first candle (with staff discount):

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