Thursday, March 26, 2015

Eat, Drink and Be Merry in Staufen, Germany

It's no secret that I love to eat. I also gave myself permission on this trip to eat what I wanted and not worry about the consequences. And I think I did a pretty good job of it!

I have to finish out this series on Staufen by sharing a few of the yummy dishes we ate.
Eating in Staufen was a wonderful experience.

First and foremost we had to check out Cafe Decker.

Walking in the door we were met with glass cases full of wonderful pastries of every description. We wound our way through the bakery and up the back stairs to the covered roof top. A peaceful place to sit over looking the stream below while we waited for our coffee and dessert.

BTW if you take a walk along the river early in the morning you can see the  bakers at work through the windows under the roof top patio.

Cafe Decker, Staufen Germany

We were in the Black Forest so of course we had to try the Black Forest cake.

I've had Black Forest cake at home in the US but it just wasn't the same. If you're anywhere in the Black Forest region please try a piece of this cake!

black forest cake - cafe decker

Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte 

The cake was excellent but I have to say I love the coffee over here. I want one of these coffee machines for my house! We even stopped and got coffee at McDonald's on the autobahn and they had a coffee service just like this. We got a good laugh because we NEVER eat at McDonald's back home and we come all the way to Europe and where do we get coffee? McDonald's.
But I have to say that even at a fast food place the coffee was very good.

cafe decker coffee service

Next Stop - Lunch!

On the advice of some friendly ladies we met at the hotel we knew we'd have to have lunch at the 

Kornhaus cafe is on the square catty corner from the town hall. Reasonable prices in a family friendly atmosphere.

Kornhaus cafe

I can't even describe how good the pumpkin soup was. I've had pumpkin soup before but this was different. Milder and so creamy. Topped with real cream and sesame seeds. Oh my gosh. I want a bowl right now!

Kornhaus cafe, pumpkin soup
Kürbissuppe - Pumpkin Soup

John ordered the pancake soup. He said it was very good and I tasted a little bit and agreed with him. A rich beef broth with thin slices of crepes.  The only issue is that you have to eat fast so the pancakes don't get soggy.

pancake soup

Every meal was accompanied by beer (we're in Germany of course!) or wine. Staufen has its own vineyard rising above the town. 

vineyards above Staufen

vineyard above Staufen

They also have a bottling co-op where several locals produce and sell their own wine.  We stopped and enjoyed a sampling of the best Staufen has to offer.

wine tasting Staufen Germany

We couldn't pass up tasting a little schnapps at the Schladerer shop. Even our hotel had a distillery in the back room for making their own schnapps. I learned I can't drink schnapps. It makes my ears burn!

schnapps tasting Staufen Germany

We've come to the end of our time in this perfect little medieval town with its vineyards, castle ruin, delicious food and drink and friendly people.

When you do most of your traveling by foot you don't have to worry about drinking and driving!

So lace up and enjoy yourself!

If you want to see more of Staufen, Germany in the southern most part of the Black Forest check out my other posts...

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Wednesday Walking - Seaton Creek Historic Preserve

This is where I share the favorite place we walked this past week.

It's amazing to me how we keep finding these neat little places to walk right near home. Saturday we found just such a place. 

Seaton Creek Historic Preserve

Seaton Creek Historic Preserve is an 800+ acre preserve located near Thomas Creek. The preserve has 5 miles of trails that criss-cross through a sandy pine forest, a beautiful hardwood hammock, a marsh area, and by several slow moving creeks. Seaton Creek is part of the Timucuan Trail Parks Foundation.

The preserve is located not too far from a major Interstate highway and yet we didn't hear any traffic noise. Just  birds singing in the trees. It was so quiet it was almost eerie. We didn't even see any other people until we were leaving and we met another couple who had just pulled into the parking area. 

Seaton Creek Historic Preserve, Lace up and walk
One of several small creeks that meander through the park.

I actually did a double take when I saw this historical marker. Most battles fought around here are from the Civil War era. I was surprised to see this was the site of an American Revolutionary War battle. Apparently the southern most battle of the war. Who knew?

Site of the southernmost battle of the American Revolution
This area was the site of the Battle of Thomas Creek on  May 17, 1777. It is considered to be the southernmost battle of the American Revolution.

The palmetto is a fan palm that is native to southern Georgia and all of Florida.
It grows profusely in sandy soil and at the base of pine and hardwood trees. It was abundant in the preserve and allowed to grown naturally. It's the bane of most Florida homeowners who work diligently to get rid of it. Doesn't usually work as they come right back! The reason that most homeowners don't like the palmetto is the belief that they make a perfect home for snakes. 

True or not I don't know but we did come across this little guy on the trail.

He's just an innocent little garden snake minding his own business. We let him cross the trail in front of us and take shelter in a palmetto before we continued on.

Beside the snake we also encountered lots of birds and mosquitoes. 

If you want to hike Seaton Creek trails beware there are no restrooms or water fountains. Bring your own water and don't forget the bug spray!

Seaton Creek Historic Preserve is located at 2145 Arnold Road, Jacksonville, Florida. (right down the road from the Pecan Park Flea Market!) You can walk or ride a bike. Dogs are welcome as long as they're on leash. 

Lace up and take a walk in the woods!

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Maple Hill Hop

Friday, March 20, 2015

Gasthauf Zum Hirschen in Staufen, Germany

Our first taste of Staufen came after arriving at our hotel the Gasthauf Zum Hirschen. It took us much longer than we thought to make our way from Neuschwanstein Castle to Staufen and we arrived late. But it didn't matter.  We were greeted with a warm welcome, sent up to our room and told to get settled in and come back down for a little something to eat and drink.

Beer and onion pie was the perfect end to a very long day.

Hotel Zum Hirschen Staufen Germany Lace Up and WalkHotel Zum Hirschen Staufen Germany Lace Up and Walk

Even though it was late the small restaurant  on the ground floor of Zum Hirschen was crowded. It appeared to be a friendly bunch of locals. 

Hotel Zum Hirschen Staufen Germany Lace Up and Walk

John and I shared a slice of onion pie. It was like a frittata with bacon and cheese and onions of course. A great late night snack.

Nancy, Charlie, John and I shared an apartment on the top floor of the hotel. Two bedrooms and one full and one half bath gave us privacy and the common area was a perfect place to plan each day's adventure. 

Hotel Zum Hirschen Staufen Germany Lace Up and Walk

Hotel Zum Hirschen Staufen Germany Lace Up and Walk

The bedrooms were small but comfortable.

Hotel Zum Hirschen Staufen Germany Lace Up and Walk

Views from our apartment.

Hotel Zum Hirschen Staufen Germany Lace Up and Walk
This is the view looking out the bedroom windows. Beautiful view of the vineyards and the castle ruin on hill.

Hotel Zum Hirschen Staufen Germany Lace Up and Walk
This is the view from the living room window. Such a variety of rooftops.

Table set for breakfast

 I think it was almost my favorite part of each day. 

Hotel Zum Hirschen Staufen Germany Lace Up and Walk

This is pretty much what I had for breakfast every morning on this trip. 

A wonderful, crusty hard roll with lots and lots of butter and jam, along with radishes, cucumbers, coffee, juice and an occasional egg. 
I have to say I'd never eaten cukes and radishes for breakfast before but it was an interesting addition to the morning meal.

Hotel Zum Hirschen Staufen Germany Lace Up and Walk


We ate dinner at the hotel outside on the front patio. It was a relaxing, casual atmosphere. 

Zum Hirschen has been in the same family for three generations.  

Hotel Zum Hirschen Staufen Germany Lace Up and Walk
Dieter along with his wife Isabelle run the hotel. Very nice friendly people.

Hotel Zum Hirschen Staufen Germany Lace Up and Walk
We are a happy group of traveling companions.

Hotel Zum Hirschen Staufen Germany Lace Up and Walk
Veal Scaloppine with Lemon

Hotel Zum Hirschen Staufen Germany Lace Up and Walk
Tangy Potato Salad 

Hotel Zum Hirschen Staufen Germany Lace Up and Walk

Hotel Zum Hirschen Staufen Germany Lace Up and Walk

Gasthaus Zum Hirschen is located on the main pedestrian street in Staufen's old town. Just a few buildings down from the town hall and the town square. 

If you're in the Black Forest and make it down to Staufen I highly recommend Zum Hirschen. We hope to go back one day. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Wednesday Walking - Close to Home

This is where I share the favorite place we walked this past week.

We didn't have to venture too far from home for this walk. Less than a mile from our house is Bethesda Park a city park that features a popular 20 acre fishing lake. I've been to this park twice. Not to fish or walk but to attend weddings at the lodge and  pavilion by the lake. Who knew there were miles of trails zig zagging through the woods?

It's funny how something can be so close and we've never really checked it out. Sunday we took a nice long walk around the lake and through the woods. The weather wasn't too bad but it's apparent with the temps in the eighties that summer is on the way. Oh how I dread our long, long hot summers...

The lake was beautiful and the woods were quiet. Plenty of birds, squirrels and unfortunately a few ticks to be seen. (Not as many as our walk through the woods at Jekyll) Thankfully we didn't bring any home with us!

Bethesda Park, Jacksonville florida

A view from the trail across the lake to the boardwalk.

I'm glad we took the time to check out this little jewel of a park so close to home.

Lace up, take a walk and discover something close to home! 

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Thursday, March 12, 2015

A Walk Through the Vineyard to Castle Staufen

Apparently castle ruins are pretty normal throughout Germany. For us though they're a new sight and  provide an interesting destination. As if the town of Staufen wasn't perfect already they have a castle that sits in ruins on a hill, surrounded by a vineyard, overlooking the town.

It's a lovely walk up. 


 There's that word again! This was a running joke while on this trip. 
Everything was just a 15 minute walk up.

Castle ruin Staufen Germany Lace up and Walk

The castle on the hill was built in 850 and given to Lord Staufin in 1111. In 1634 right in the middle of the 30 Years War it was nearly destroyed by the Swedes. Amazing that parts of it still stand.
Staufen Germany castel lace up and walk

It was so interesting to see the vineyard on the side of the hill. If we had hills in Florida the first good rain would have washed everything down. Those grapevines must have so pretty strong roots.

vineyard staufen germany lace up and walk

OK I'm not sure what to even say about this guy. 
He's guarding the entrance to the path through the vineyard. A little too much fruit of the vine maybe?

Staufen Germany lace up and walk

This was the view of the castle from our hotel room. So pretty.

staufen germany path through vineyard

There was two ways to get up to the castle. The path straight up and this one that meanders back and forth up the hill. Nancy and Charlie choose to go straight up. John and I took off meandering. It was a nice walk. Steep but not too bad.

Staufen Germany castle lace up and walk

It's unbelievable to me that you can just walk up to someplace this old. Walk around at leisure, climb the stairs, walk around the walls. No guards, no admittance fee, no cameras watching you! 

Staufen Germany castle lace up and walk

A beautiful view of the town of Stuafen from the top of the castle. I love the variety of rooftops.

castle staufen germany black forest

Nancy and I enjoy a little rest while the guys explore.

Of course I'll have to tell you about the food in Staufen. But I'll save that for another post!

Lace up and go exploring!

Check out these posts to see more of Staufen
The Legend of Faust and the Pack With the Devil - Staufen, Germany


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Wednesday Walking - Wacissa River, Wacissa, Florida

This is where I share the favorite place we walked this past week.

We've probably driven through the tiny town of Wacissa two dozen times in the last few years as we headed for the Gulf.

This time thanks to Geocaching instead of just passing through Wacissa we veered off  onto a road we'd never been on and this is what we found.

Waciss, River, Florida lace up and walk

The headwaters of the Wacissa River.

The river is located in Jefferson County on SR 59 southeast of Tallahassee. It's fed by 12 springs and flows for 15 miles. Made us wish we had our canoe and a little more time.

We parked and took a walk. Absolutely beautiful!
Wacissa River, Florida
A perfect placed to sit a while.

wacissa river florida lace up and walk
You could take the plunge from the old diving platform or the rope swing.
wacissa river florida lace up and walk
Or do like we did and take a walk along the wooded banks of the river.

Have you ever detoured from your normal route and found an adventure?

Budget Travelers Sandbox

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