Hi from Rick: Convalescing with Schmaltz
|The serene and sleepy Mosel River Valley is a perfect place for recuperating from a hectic travel schedule.|
After researching a string of big cities (Bergen, Oslo, Stockholm, Helsinki and Tallinn) I was physically and mentally exhausted. I felt like I needed to actually convalesce. In fact, I almost vowed to schedule a weekly day of rest in my future travels. (We're not designed to ignore that commandment.)
When I think convalesce in Europe, certain places come to mind: Ærøskøbing in Denmark, Walaker Hotel on Norway's Sognefjord, Varenna on Italy's Lake Como, Hallstatt in Austria's Salzkammergut Lake District, and Beilstein on Germany's Mosel River.
The nearest of those places to me was Beilstein, the Mosel River's "Sleeping Beauty town." Without good road access until recently, it never really got any modern development. Today it's just grape vines, cobbles, fancy door knockers, the smell of dank back alleys, and Mosel River views. Midday, its charm is trampled by too many tourists. But early and late, it's a dream...just right for recuperation.
I spent an hour before dinner sipping my sprightly white wine and relaxing on the terrace of Bielstein's Hotel Lippmann. Jonas, who runs my hotel, serves wine and not beer. He explained that people who would stay away because there is no beer are people they don't want anyway. He serves homemade bread with tubs of Schmaltz (greasy pork lard). I asked him if he knew Barry Manilow. He said he did. I said, "Schmaltz is to butter what Barry Manilow is to music." Jonas said, "Ja, schmaltzy." That kicked off my soothing convalescence in Beilstein.
If you're looking for an opportunity to recharge your soul before the end of the year, this month's Tour News features three week-long, winter getaways filled with the rejuvenating sights, sounds, smells and tastes of off-season travel. You'll also get the skinny on our just-announced online scrapbook contest for all those fun people who have taken tours with us in 2009.
Thanks for traveling with us!