Friday, 14 December, Cochem to Kusel
Left about 1045 and took the slow roads, headed for Thallichtenberg.It was about freezing as we walked around our former “home” castle: Burg Lichtenberg. We came here often during the 5 years we lived in Kusel, just a few miles away.
We had a light lunch in the beautiful Berg Restaurant. I just had soup to warm up but I shared part of Himself’s Hawaii toast (grilled ham, cheese and pineapple on toast). We told the manager this had been our favorite place when we lived in Kusel. The chef, Peter Emrich, brought our food and stopped to talk. He said he’d just started his apprenticeship at age 15 in 1982. We reminisced a bit.
I’d started a sketch but it was too cold to finish outdoors.
By then it was about 1430 and time to check in at our hotel. It’s just outside Kusel, in Blaubach, and is the nicest one in the area. It’s called Reweschnier which is a sort of beetle.
After getting settled, we drove in to Kusel. We parked at what we remembered as the town festival grounds (big dirt lot) across from where we lived. It’s now a paved parking lot. We walked across the river on the foot bridge and down Roebelweg to #29, our former home. It looks much the worse for wear. In fact, there was a pile of rubble in the parking area which seemed to indicate it is being renovated. An older man came out and we spoke with him, telling him we’d lived here 1981-86. He has rented there since 1988. There are 5 apartments but he said he’s the only one living there now.
The upper left three windows was our apartment.
Then on to the center of town. We stopped at what was my favorite bakery. We had warm drinks and shared a Käse kuchen (cheese cake). I passed a stationery store and couldn’t resist. I remembered it from when I lived there, over 30 years ago. I ended up buying 2 more Lamy pens in colors I like: yellow and the limited edition Petrol which is not available from Goulet anymore. They were just under 20 Euros, which is a bit over $20 but that included tax. They had a Lamy door handle!
Then up to the market square and the Christmas market, which was just setting up for the weekend.
The Kusel Christmas Market was made up of food and glühwein stands all operated by local clubs and groups. I stopped at the Rotary one. Talked to them a bit and told them I’d been a Rotary Fellow. Gave them my thanks as it changed my life (that’s when I met Himself, for one thing!). Later, as I walked by, they called me over. The wanted to share wine with us and gave me their little “15 minute Christmas” bag. Very sweet.
Saturday, 15 December, Kusel
It’s Himself’s birthday. When I wished him a “Happy Birthday” when he awoke, he said, “It isn’t yet. I’ve done the math”. Typical! 🙂 He was born in the morning Pacific time, so it won’t be that time until early evening here.
He’d mentioned his Birthday, so they left a small paper with a birthday greeting in English on the breakfast table! We were the only ones there at 0830 for breakfast. Either there are no other hotel guests or none eating at that time. Instead of a breakfast buffet, there were plates of items on our table.
Our host had recommended that if we wanted to see the St. Wendel Christmas Market, we should go today. So about noon we left for the 40 minute drive. Parking was a challenge as we parked about 1 km away from the center. On the way back, it was a long walk up hill.
This Christmas Market is huge, especially for what is a small town. I think it must have been as large as Heidelberg’s. We walked around for about 2 hours and didn’t see it all. I didn’t see anything I wanted to buy, though we did get a bit if food. I had Käse späztle, a sort of mac and cheese but German noodles.
Nearly every market had at least one staff roasting fish on planks over an open fire.
Urban Sketchers Seattle are sketching at a garden center this weekend where there is a reindeer. I saw reindeer, too.
After warming up and resting in back at our hotel, it was time to drive over to Burg Lichtenberg restaurant for Himself’s birthday dinner. When we made our reservation yesterday, the manager had warned us there would be a large, noisy group of Americans having a Christmas party. They were military but no louder than any large group of people talking to each other. At least until they started cheering over the door prize raffle.
I took some night photos around the castle.
Sunday, 16 December, Snow in Kusel!
On Monday, 17 December and Tuesday, 18 December: the way home
The snow was mostly gone and it’s started to rain.
On Monday afternoon, we made our way to Frankfurt, where we stayed overnight in an airport hotel. We practiced our route from the hotel to our departure terminal. For 5 years, I flew periodically out of this airport but nothing looks familiar now, 30 years later!
Our flight home was on time and uneventful. Except this is the first time in years, maybe decades, I’ve boarded a flight from the tarmac!