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Thread: A Compleat Goof visits Europe

  1. #1
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    Default A Compleat Goof visits Europe

    The whole Fam Schrammily is headed over to Europe to visit my daughter in Germany and my wife's family in Stirling, Scotland. If any of the folks on the board from that side of the pond would like to try to connect, I'm sure I can set a dinner or an evening aside for mead. Drop a note here, and we can make some plans.
    It's time for some woodshedding, Willie Mae. The blue light was my blues, and the red light was my mind.

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    If only.

    But if you're ever in the Sacramento area, I'm there.

    Have a great trip!

  3. #3

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    Hello Ken -- I remember some years back you were talking about wanting to make that trip to Scotland to visit with your wife's family, glad to hear you and yours are on their way!

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    Dan McFeeley

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    (The people's spirit is raised through culture)

  4. #4
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    Thanks Jenn and Dan. I get a great feeling every time we call Jean's cousin and hear the brogue. I'm guessing it is the same for you, Dan. It's really great that things like Skype allow us to keep in touch regularly without breaking the bank.
    It's time for some woodshedding, Willie Mae. The blue light was my blues, and the red light was my mind.

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    I'm living in Ramstein-Miesenbach. What area are you going to be in Ken? I'd love to hook up if we can work something out. Two mad Michiganders rampaging around Germany. LOL

    I've got a couple of really nice Dwojniaks I brought back from Poland here with me too. I'd absolutely love to crack one with you given the chance.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by sandman View Post
    Two mad Michiganders rampaging around Germany.
    Uh oh. That sounds dangerous.

    Have fun Ken!
    Brad Dahlhofer
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  7. #7
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    Default Home again

    The trip was an outrageous gas, but I must admit that it was not so much about mead as it was about having a cool family vacation. We saw Freiburg and environs, Konstanz, Colmar in Alsace, then all over Scotland - Edinburgh, Loch Lomond, Skye, Loch Ness, Stirling, and finally a night in Frankfurt before heading home. We had to save like pikers for a couple of years, and we'll be paying for a couple of more, I'm sure, but it was a great experience.

    Best meal: Lunch at the Taverne Alsacienne in Colmar, which was phenomenal. I had the cod with creamed carrot sauce over rice - divine. The desserts were so good I finished them all, after doing clean up for the rest of the family. We were told that wine list is excellent, but after that many sips at Z-H (see below), another bottle would have surely meant we would sleep through our stop on the train home. A dinner at an Italian place in Stirling gave it a run for its money, but really, not quite.

    Best Beers: Jever on tap (at a place whose name I can't remember) in Freiburg, along with cask ales - Caledonian 80 (great) and Bitter and Twisted from Harviestoun (better still) in Scotland. My daughter let me whiff and taste several of her Weizens in Germany, and they had nose for days. It was great to have German beers in top-notch condition.

    Best Pub: The Malt Shovel on Cockburn Street in Edinburgh - the ales above, along with a decent, but refreshingly reasonably-priced Scotch selection, and a friendly and knowledgeable staff. Just up the hill on your left as you walk up from Waverly Bridge to High Street. Worth finding. The steak pie at the 1314 Tavern in Bannockburn was the best of the trip.

    Best Wines: The morning's tasting with Paul McKirdy at Zind Humbrecht. He was patient, generous and very learned. They are completely bio-dynamic. The late harvest wines were so lengthy I can practically still taste them. Z-H have taken heat from the "more-acidity" wine set and some reviewers since Olivier took over, but the stuff was very good. It will be interesting to hear what the big names have to say about the 2008's. They may not love them, but I did. I could not keep myself from picking up a Riesling and three Gewurz's. Maybe I don't know what I'm talking about, but I do not think I will regret it.

    Best Scotch Whisky Shop: The Royal Mile on High Street in Edinburgh. Stunning, and a must visit for any true Scotch aficionado. Mind-blowing on first blush, but you won't really understand how much is there until you engage the staff, who were busy but willing to help. True scotch lovers will leave without any folding money, and then dent the plastic measurably. More labels that you will never see stateside than you can imagine.

    Best Cathedral: The Münster in Freiburg, which is impressive from the outside, but even more beautiful in the interior. And there is a Leonidas chocolate vendor right on the Platz. If that doesn't make for a pleasant afternoon for you, you have some agonizing reappraisal to complete.

    Best tour guide: Jean's cousin Kit, who was funny and sweet and gracious. She tried valiantly to get us up to Crief to get some crystal in a nasty snow storm. She's a gem.

    Best family: Mine.

    Other things I appreciated: Schokocroissants, and a zillion pastries. The only cars we got in were cabs, and I never drove an inch. The trains in Germany notify you on the display if they are a minute late, but they're not. The shower fixtures were outstanding in some of the hotels, with separate on/off and temperature controls, (you can set the temp and leave it where you prefer it) and I want one like that.

    Things that just couldn't be avoided: The weather in Scotland was positively polar. We climbed to the top of the Wallace Monument and froze our tookuses and several fingers off. Same for every castle we visited - cloudy, with sleet or snow, freezing cold, and blow-you-off-the-turrets windy, save Eillan Donan which was sunny... and freezing cold. The sun came out occasionally in Scotland, but very rarely for more than 10 minutes at a time. No wonder they invented Scotch.

    Time to start saving again. Must.. go... back...

    KDS
    It's time for some woodshedding, Willie Mae. The blue light was my blues, and the red light was my mind.

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    Sounds like the perfect holiday, Ken! I'm hoping to visit Norway this summer, and while I don't think I'll have quite as much fun as you did (I HAVEN'T been saving for the last two years!), it'll be my first trip to Europe and I'm looking forward to it.

    I hope you took a lot of photos!

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by ken_schramm View Post
    Things that just couldn't be avoided: The weather in Scotland was positively polar. We climbed to the top of the Wallace Monument and froze our tookuses and several fingers off. Same for every castle we visited - cloudy, with sleet or snow, freezing cold, and blow-you-off-the-turrets windy, save Eillan Donan which was sunny... and freezing cold. The sun came out occasionally in Scotland, but very rarely for more than 10 minutes at a time. No wonder they invented Scotch.

    Time to start saving again. Must.. go... back...
    I know what you're talking about -- these Celtic lands get into your bones.

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    (The people's spirit is raised through culture)

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    My daughter just let me know that the bar in Freiburg with the Jever on tap was Schlappen. Fantastic. And they had a good line up of other beers. Who couldn't love a bar named for a fly-tying material?

    Yeah, Dan, Scotland was infectious. But you have to love fried foods and things made with potatoes or flour. And peas. It's cool to be in a foreign place where they speak a language remarkably similar to English. Seriously, when Jean's cousins really got the conversation going, it was like running a continuous translation of my own tongue. It's a little freaky when you feel like you need to explain that your slow responses are the result of having to wait for the words to ricochet around in your skull until you finally recognize them.
    It's time for some woodshedding, Willie Mae. The blue light was my blues, and the red light was my mind.

  11. #11

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    Funny, I've been making an Irish nested egg recipe lately, calls for a mound of mashed potatoes, brushed with an egg wash, baked, add a tablespoon of peas, top with an egg and bake 'til the egg is done. Great stuff!

    Funny thing about the accent -- when daughter Rachel and I were in Inishowen last summer, I didn't have any trouble understanding the folk out there. To me, it was English with that delightful Northern Irish uplift to it. Some time after we got back to the states, Rachel told me there were times she couldn't understand what the Irish out there were saying.

    Bet it was the same with your wife. :-)

    I can almost predict your next mead recipe -- something like "Paint Your Face Blueberry Melomel." :-)

    Not so long ago, I read M. Scott Peck's book "In Search of Stones," and noted that he felt that areas in Scotland were the most beautiful on earth. I wouldn't disagree with that, but maybe suggest that he should broaden that to include Donegal in Ireland.

    You're hooked. Now that you've seen it, you'll always feel the pull. :-)

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    Dan McFeeley

    "Meon an phobail a thogail trid an chultur"
    (The people's spirit is raised through culture)

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    Indeed, Jean's been listening to it her whole life, and it doesn't phase her in the least. She had no problem understanding, and fell into the phraseology readily. So did I, to some extent, but Jean didn't have to listen as reflectively.

    Funny thing; Scotland looks and feels uncannily like Kodiak Island, and I feel the same sense of belonging there, too. Kodiak, like Ireland, is known as the Emerald Isle. Now if you could just grow cherries there...
    Last edited by ken_schramm; 04-04-2010 at 09:22 PM.
    It's time for some woodshedding, Willie Mae. The blue light was my blues, and the red light was my mind.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by ken_schramm View Post
    Indeed, Jean's been listening to it her whole life, and it doesn't phase her in the least. She had no problem understanding, and fell into the phraseology readily. So did I, to some extent, but Jean didn't have to listen as reflectively.

    Funny thing; Scotland looks and feels uncannily like Kodiak Island, and I feel the same sense of belonging there, too. Kodiak, like Ireland, is known as the Emerald Isle. Now if you could just grow cherries there...
    Ha ha!. Hope you had a good trip Ken (I can recall when you posted about it at WaH).

    Accents? Ha! Well you're lucky that you've only really had to deal with "1" of the stronger ones........

    The phrasing? well if you'd had time, to visit say, Central Liverpool, or South Yorkshire, or the Black country, or the Hartlepool area, then you'd have got more strong accents with lots of colloquial phrases (bad speaking buggers a.k.a. incomprehensible - unless that's where you're from ).

    I've heard it said that the "best" english in the country, is actually spoken in the Inverness area.

    As for the food? Scottish food tastes wonderful, sticks to the ribs and is very "comforting" (a.k.a. stodgy) in the cold weather - but damn, you can feel your arteries hardening by the mouthful.

    Square sausage, tattie scones, white pudding, haggis, Scotch whiskey

    Congratulations on making the trip anyway, it's not as bad over here as a lot would have you believe.......

    regards

    fatbloke
    here's me home brewing blog (if anyones interested....)
    and don't forget
    What the large print giveth, the small print taketh away! Tom Waits.....

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by ken_schramm View Post
    The whole Fam Schrammily is headed over to Europe to visit my daughter in Germany and my wife's family in Stirling, Scotland. If any of the folks on the board from that side of the pond would like to try to connect, I'm sure I can set a dinner or an evening aside for mead. Drop a note here, and we can make some plans.
    If you make it down to the Midlands, drop in! I live in the centre of Northampton.

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