Germany – to Speyer and the Pfalz: “Umleitungen” and wine

From Eberbach on the Neckar, we continue to Speyer and the German Wine Route in the Pfalz.


Meeting our  friends from Russia near their “Fewo” in Speyer

This is our third day in Germany. We have arranged to meet my Russian teacher and her husband to take them around the German Wine Route in Pfalz (Palatine).

Our Russian friends have booked a Fewo in the city center of Speyer. Ursula laughs: “You do not know, what “Fewo” means? This is easy, it is a “Ferienwohnung” or “holiday apartment”!” – Yes, right your are… “Fewo” stands for “Ferienwohnung”. Germans are great at inventing abbreviations.

On the map, it looks easy to find this “Fewo”, but then we get blocked by road constructions and dead end streets. Uff. Finally our friends hop into our Swiss car.


The dome of Speyer – I was here fifty years ago – I am again impressed

We visit the dome of Speyer… these Romanesque twin towers can be seen from far.


I was here fifty years ago with my mum. I remember having suffered from a fierce headache on that day. The dome healed my headache. Again now, I am impressed by the sober and harmonic architecture. I learn that at this place the Celts had already built a sanctuary and the Romans build a Christian church around 360 A.D. The current dome goes back to the 11th century. It served as a model for other Romanesque churches in the Alsace and in Germany. Over the course of the centuries the dome has been amplified, changed, destroyed, rebuilt and renovated. In the middle of the 20th century, its old Romasque structure has been restored (Source: “Der Kaiserdom zu Speyer”, Jaeger Druck, 1978).

This is the central nave – grand and calming atmosphere – cool on a hot day.


The crypta with its columns and arcs remind me a bit of the mosque in Cordoba…


We say hell0 to Rudolf von Habsburg (he became king of Germany in 1271, when besieging Basel). I notice the aquiline nose and the strong jaws of the Habsburgians.


I would like to stop the clock and stay in this church… but time cannot be stopped.


The German Wine Route – sooo many road blocks… what are you doing to the tourists?

Our Russian friends want to see Neustadt, Maikammer and St. Martin. They are our guests and hence their wish is our command. What an adventure! The German Wine Route is lined with road blocks… we keep on landing in front of stop signs and barriers… interestingly without any indication of alternative routes. We try again and again – one route after the next – always the same result – stop and a barrier, and that’s it. With and without GPS. Our Russian friends learn the word “Umleitung” (deviation or in Russian “объезд”). It takes us quite some time to get to Neustadt and to Maikammer. Finally we arrive, taste some wine, and our Russian friends buy some bottles to take back home. August Ziegler was a nice wine grower in Maikammer.


We have dinner in Kallstadt and then take our friends back to Speyer. Before going to sleep in the Kallstädter Hof, I relax with a glass of Riesling from the vineyard Saumagen.


A hot and sunny day in Kallstadt and around – we walk through the vineyards and later visit two selected wine growers

On our fourth day in Germany we explore the area around Kallstadt that is located on the northern part of the German Wine Route. We follow the Riesling path and walk through the vineyards “Saumagen” and “Annaberg”.


It IS hot, this must be good for the grapes. The Romans had brought the tradition of wine growing to the Pfalz, as the ruins and the reconstruction of this rustic Roman villa shows.


We come across one of the vineyards of the Brothers Rings living in Freinsheim – I later buy three bottles of Riesling from the vineyards Nussriegel and Steinacker.


We also visit the highest vineyard in the Pfalz. We are welcomed by a dog, then by the wife of the house.


In the kitchen we meet a friend of my uncle Gerhard and share a glass of wine with the owners. The friend of my uncle says: “He has taught me so much about wine, and please give my regards to the Kallstädter Hof.” The world is small.  I buy a bottle of Riesling Basalt and a bottle of Riesling Buntsandstein (variegated sandstone).

Yes, I have family relations in Kallstadt. For centuries my family has owned the winery “Eduard Schuster”. Due to lacking succession it has been sold and now became the Weingut am Nil. “Nil” is a tiny vineyard near Kallstadt. The new owners have given the winery a new purple design.


In the courtyard there is a restaurant where we have an apéritif. The choice of wines has been streamlined and the labels match the purple appearance.


On one hand I am sad, but on the other hand, I am happy to see the modern marketing style which indicates that the new owners care and add fresh blood to the traditional Schuster winery.

We have a great dinner in the courtyard of the Kallstädter Hof, and the next morning we continue to the Pfälzer Wald.

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