Katy stands at the bottom of the vineyard overlooking Bacharach and the Rhine River. The quote is taken from theTitle of Achim Ries' book in which he tells the story of leaving his Berlin city life to take over his parent's wine estate in the Mosel (even though this is the Rhine!) - I loved the sentiment, especially since travel helps our roots go deep!
Girlfriend Go-To | Embrace the Jet Lag and book a few days pre-tour.
Traveling halfway around the world in less than a day is pretty amazing! Jet lag, on the other hand, is kind of a bummer. You just don't feel like yourself, you want to sleep when you need to be alert, and you lay awake blinking at the ceiling at 2AM, which is frustrating. May we suggest you do yourself a favor and allow a day or two to on the front end of your tour to adjust to local time? You'll start the tour with your feet on the ground, your head not in the clouds, and ready to roll! If at all possible, consider bookending your tour with a day or two before returning to reality. It will definitely make the final dinner good-byes less sad (and truthfully, everyone who's packing to leave the next day will be privately jealous of you!)
JOY (noun). The emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying; keen pleasure; elation."
"As we drove to the airport, we spotted a car with the license plate #YES2JOY. Serendipity! This will become my breath prayer. This will be my theme. This will be my invitation. To say "Yes" to Joy! Yes to goodness. Yes to growing. Yes to enlarging my view of me and the world! Yes to being willing to have the ground of my life tilled so that it can be beautiful and fruitful. And, Yes to the grace of friends to have on the journey!" - Kristi's Travel Journal
Giggling over the heady freedom of being grown women (sans families, though we love them) for 17 days? #YES2JOY! Plunging into the anticipation of the luxurious experience of the Friedrichsbad Spa in Baden-Baden (sans clothes, though we love them)? #YES2JOY! Hurling ourselves daringly off the side of a Swiss Alp (sans fear)? #YES2JOY! The absolute gift and wonder of friendship, shared experience and growing together (sans drama)? #YES2JOY!
Pre-tour : Jet Lag Control in Iceland
Just the facts Ma'am
How long we stayed: 24 hours. Iceland Air offers free Stopovers on fares to Europe. (The discounted ticket neatly covers our lodging for the night.)
Where we stayed: Bed & Breakfast Airport Hotel (basic, inexpensive and car rental on property).
Where we ate: Kaffi Duus fresh Icelandic fish, by the small boat harbor in Keflavik - yum!
Highlight: Blue Lagoon (make your reservations ahead of time! And don't bother packing a suit. It's super-easy to rent one, with a robe and flip-flops on site.)
The Verdict: we think that, quite possibly, soaking in the silica-laden waters of the Blue Lagoon with a glass of Prosecco just might be the best way to conquer jet lag ever invented!
Pre-tour Day 2 : Bacharach, Germany (via Frankfurt)
Just the facts Ma'am
How long we stayed: 2 nights
Where we stayed: The Rhein Hotel
Where we ate: Stuber's Restaurant (on the patio and so delicious!); Hotel am Markt in St. Goar
Highlights: Bacharach walking tour (using our Rick Steves Guide), Rhine River Cruising on the K-D line, Tasting carousel of local wines at Bastian's Weingut zum Gruner Baum
The Verdict: Charming, approachable Bacharach was a perfect home-base for our Rhine River exploration.
A wonderful meal that we'll recall with smiles for a very long time. All afternoon the clouds have been darkening and we feel the first small drops of rain splatter as we finish our Bacharach Town Walk. Soon, we are seated on the Rhein Hotel's covered terrace overlooking the Rhine River with the train tracks just on the other side of the patio.
With the guidance of Mindot, our host, we order Stuber's 3-course tasting menu. He convinces us to add a starter of Spargel, the fat, white asparagus that are in season right now. We splurge on his expert recommendation of an "aged" bottle of local 2013 Ratzenberger Riesling grown in the very vineyards we had walked through earlier in the afternoon. Mindot explains that it takes a talented wine maker to craft a white wine that ages well, and this one does not disappoint. It marries with each course beautifully.
Lightening flashes, thunder cracks, the rain pours down in the warm night. As boat traffic moves purposefully up and down the river, every so often we feel the thrill of being so close as a train whips up the air and roars by on it's way to Koblenz or Mainz.
The flavors from Andreas Stuber's kitchen are exquisite - offering fresh, locally-sourced interpretations of classic regional cuisine. (Mindot points, "That boar meat was raised down the river, this honey is from over there, the ricotta from there.") Seeing Chef Andreas share dinner with his wife and two sons, served family-style, as they sit at table next to ours lent a sweet, intimate feel to being guests at this hotel.
Soon, the storm passes and the evening becomes soft in the gathering dusk. We settle in to the joys of a good meal, the pleasure of easy conversation, and clink our glasses in celebration, gratitude, and anticipation for all that lies ahead.
Pre-tour Day 3 : Bacharach, and the Rhine, (and yummy wine)
Our pre-tour days are done. We are re-packing, trying not to be too giddy with excitement. Truth be told? We ARE giddy as we anticipate the official beginning of the tour tomorrow. #YES2JOY