As many of you know I am involved in Texas Airedale Terrier Rescue (TART). I do a very small part but every little bit from many volunteers helps. Long story short, I met a lady through the Facebook TART page that I am the administrator for. I volunteered to handle the FB page when we were in the running for the Animal Rescue Site contest.
People from all around the world helped us to win a weekly prize of $1000 last month. One of the wonderful people involved is Ursula Obermann from Germany owned by an Airedale named Ina. We chatted a bit by e-mail and she told me that she lives about 44 miles from Karlsruhe and I would be welcome to come visit her. We made plans including train schedules, etc. and on Wednesday Cheryl and I went to visit.
The region that Ursula lives in is known as the Deutsche Weinstraße, or German Wine Route. There are vineyards everywhere- perfect rows of grape vines as far as the eye can see within the Palatinate Forest area. The town is Bad Dürkheim and is also popular as a spa town. Of course we were there to meet Ursula, Ina, and do a little sightseeing so we did not partake of the Salinarium or spa stuff.
We arrived in the town of Neustadt an der WeinstraBe by train at 9:50am and walked up the steps to where Ursula was waiting with Ina the Airedale. There was a funny moment when Cheryl asked me if I knew what Ursula looked like and I said no but I knew that I would recognize Ina. As we were having this conversation, I looked directly in front of me and saw them. Who else would be meeting us at this exact time in this place with a dog that looked similar to my Bentley, right? Anyway, hugged, I introduced Cheryl, got some puppy love, and then headed out towards Ursula’s hometown.
On the way there we stopped and picked up delicious German pastries at the bakery in her neighborhood. We enjoyed a tasting party of sweets and coffee at her house a little later and I had a teensy taste of very good German wine. Cheryl declined saying it was a bit early for her but I figured what the hey. We went out to Ursula’s beautiful courtyard afterwards and Ina entertained us.
Oh yeah- before we went to the bakery and house we stopped by the Gradierbau Saline. This is some info I found online about the saline online from this link: http://www.virtualtourist.com/travel/Europe/Germany/Land_Rheinland_Pfalz/Bad_Duerkheim-77093/TravelGuide-Bad_Duerkheim.html. Info below copied directly from link.
It is created by these massive wood structures called salines, or salt evaporation works. Built out of a wooden encasement filled with blackthorn twigs, salt water pours over the twigs from the top of the saline. As gravity pulls the water down in small trickles, the water is nebulized and creates the marine air. Even on the hottest of days, a walk past the salines will refresh you with the cool air produced by this structure.
Bad Dürkheim’s saline, or Gradierbau, is 333 meters long, making it the longest saline in Germany. It is located at the Kurpark in the center of town, the location of the annual Wurstmarkt or wine festival each September. It is free to walk around and enjoy.
Here are a few pics from our stop there.
Here are some photos from Ursula’s courtyard with Ina.
After a while we loaded up and headed out to be tourists. We stopped first at the Limburg Abbey.
After walking around the ruins of the monastery we loaded back into the car and drove to one of the beautiful vineyards. The grape vines are just starting to wake up so no green is showing yet but I expect to see some new growth when I go back to visit next month. These are some Roman ruins amongst the particular vineyard we walked through. The pics that follow are of Villa rustica Weilberg ( a Roman country estate) in Bad Dürkheim-Ungstein.
There are more pictures but I will share them at a later time. We then walked back to the car to load up and head back to the train station. I could have stayed there forever. It was quite beautiful and the weather couldn’t have been any more perfect.
We walked around the town a bit and Ursula told us some background on this fountain. Here is a link to read about it if you are interested: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elwetritsch. It is an interesting local myth about a birdlike mythical creature called the Elwetritsche.
We walked around while we waited to get some Turkish sandwiches for take out and marveled at the pretty half-timbered buildings and quaint shops.