Wednesday, January 30, 2008

8 September: Dinner at the Weindorf

John and I walked with Evelyne and Eiko this morning because Gert went to judge a hunting dog trial. Evelyne is really disappointed that we are leaving soon and asked John if there wasn’t some way we could stay longer. He explained that it just wouldn’t work out with his job, but we joked that maybe he could find a job with another German automaker. Of course Evelyne took this very seriously and thought it would be quite grand if John went to work for Porsche so we could stay in Stuttgart. John had to explain that Porsche’s design department is very small and it isn’t the best place for a car designer since they only make a few different cars.

We had arranged to meet Beth and Axel at the Weindorf this evening for dinner. They were running late so John and I stood at the entrance to the Altes Schloss on Schillerplatz for a while, watching the world go by. I just love the festive atmosphere of the Weindorf at night, with the tents all lit up and everyone happy, laughing, eating, and drinking. When Beth and Axel finally arrived, Beth was shuffling along quite slowly and immediately revealed to us that she is 17 weeks pregnant! She was really sick over the summer and had a scare that required hospitalization. She was afraid for a long time that she was going to lose the baby, which is why she hadn’t told me earlier, and she is still getting around very slowly, trying to be careful. I knew she wasn’t feeling well back in July when we went to see the Harry Potter movie and it turns out she spent most of her time in Sweden in August recovering from that entire trauma. Fortunately she is doing much better now.

We found an open table in one of the tents and settled down in front of hearty plates of Maultaschen, Kartoffelsalat and potato pancakes with applesauce. John and I had glasses of Lemberger and Spätburgunder and Beth had Neuwein (the seasonal “new wine” which has not yet finished fermentation). John and Axel seemed to hit it off pretty well – Axel also works for Mercedes and his job was seriously impacted by the “de-merger” so they had plenty to talk about. It started sprinkling while we ate so we decided to stay put at our cozy table rather than go out to find someplace else to have dessert. John and I had small glasses of Kerner Spätlese and we all had the Apfelküchle mit Vanillesösle (apple fritters with vanilla sauce; written with the Schwäbisch diminutive “le”).

Beth and I were quite fascinated during dinner by the large group of young American women at the table behind us. We couldn’t help but notice how loud they were; it’s no wonder Europeans think Americans are noisy and obnoxious. I guess I've been here long enough to really start noticing these things. You could here these girls clear across the room! They were all flashing big diamonds and we guessed that they must be officers’ wives out for a night on the town.

We finally settled our bill with our waitress (she seemed relieved that this was the last big night of the Weindorf – she said it’s much easier to serve beer at the Volksfest, when you don’t have a million different wines to keep track of!), then strolled through the Weindorf towards the Rathaus. Beth was feeling hungry again so she ordered a dish of Schupfnudeln (potato noodles with sauerkraut and bits of ham). We eventually parted ways at the Rathaus U-Bahn station. All in all, it was a lovely evening!

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