Grapes, glorious grapes

Yesterday I went to Heilbronn with some of my ex colleagues. The southern branches of the company had arranged to meet up and I was invited too. There were 10 of us in all. We had booked a walk through a vineyard, complete with guide, followed by wine tasting at the Weindorf (wine village), an annual wine festival that started in Heilbronn last week.

The tour started with a bus ride up the mountain, during which a female guide told us all about the town and especially about its history of wine growing. It seems Heilbronn was bombed to death in December 1944, which is why it’s now full of not particularly pretty modern buildings. A shame as it could be such a pretty town, located among the mountains as it is.

On the mountain we met with a male guide who we walked back down with, pausing every once in a while for him to explain something to us. We also got to try some of the grapes. That there on the left is a picture I took of some before we plucked and ate them. Close to the bottom of the mountain we were taken to a small winegrower’s residence where we were able to try our first wines, one white and one red. The woman explained what we were supposed to taste but as usual it just tasted like wine to me. Supposedly the white one was meant to have a hint of bell pepper in it(!) but I couldn’t taste anything like that. To be honest I’m quite pleased… pepper flavoured wine really doesn’t sound appealing to me! We then had a tour of their facilities before heading down the mountain, into town and to the Weindorf. At the Weindorf we were given some bread and cheese then had the chance to try six different sorts of wine – two red, one rose (there should be an accent there but I can’t make wordpress do one) and three white. The rose one, called Musketto, was very nice, as were two of the white ones whose names I unfortunately don’t remember. After the wine tasting we headed to Lehners for some food. I ate Käsespätzle, a  speciality from this region consisting of small dumplings with lots of melted cheese. Very nice – if you’re ever in Baden-Württemberg definitely give it a try. And of course we drank wine – what else? It just so happened that the wine we chose was made by the same people we’d just had a tour with! It wasn’t one of the wines they’d given us to sample though.

By the time we’d finished eating it was nearly 10pm, time to head home. I caught a tram back with the other people who had come from Karlsruhe, finally arriving home at about 11:30pm. I had a quick look at my photos to see whether any of them had actually worked (screen on the camera is still broken) then went to bed, where I was thankfully not bitten. I’m still itchy from where the mosquito got me on Friday night!

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Tasty

So the evil mosquito, the one I failed to kill on Thursday night… he came back and got me on Friday. I woke up yesterday morning and the first thing I noticed was that the side of my hand was itchy. Turning on the light for a closer inspection I saw that I’d been bitten. Then over the course of the day I discovered six more bites. That’s seven all together! Little beast had a busy night.  And Jan, who was sharing a bed with me, doesn’t have one single bite! Apparantly I’m unbelievably tasty…
I’m just surprised I actually have any blood left!

I’ll be back later to tell you all about my wine tasting experience in Heilbronn. Right now I have to try and find someone to change Euros into 20 cent pieces for me. Jan’s washing machine still isn’t connected so he’s gone home to pick up all his dirty laundry to wash here….

Squeeee!

(WARNING: This entry is going to be a  long one!)

There was a mosquito in my room last night.

I had turned out the light and was snuggling down to get some well earned rest when I heard that distinctive mosquito noise next to my ear. Bloody things can’t just buzz like normal insects. No, it was that horrible high-pitched squeeee. Pathetic I know, but that sound terrifies me. I instantly sat up, one hand flailing around my ears in an attempt to get it away from me, and switched on the light. No way was I going to sleep with that thing in the room. And thus began the great mosquito hunt of 2008.

tasting blood
Tasting blood (Photo credit: Vilseskogen)

Unlike my boyfriend I can’t just squish insects with the palm of my hand (it’s disgusting! And what if it manages to get me while I’m trying to get it?), so the first thing to do was find a suitable mosquito squashing implement. A paper plate left over from my birthday picnic seemed perfect. Then came stage 2 – finding the stupid creature. Suprisingly, it didn’t take long. There it was above my bed. Lurking. Waiting for me to turn the light back out so it could squeeee it’s way past my ear again. Psychological warfare, that’s what it is! Well I wasn’t going to let him get away with it, was I? BANG went my paper plate on the wall. Naturally I missed. I always miss. So off I went again to find out where his evilness had hidden himself this time. It wasn’t so easy second time round, but after turning on the big light and pacing the room twice I spotted him on the wardrobe door. BANG! “Where is he? Did I get him?” Mr Mosquito was nowhere to be seen, but neither were any mosquito remains. Time for another patrol of the bedroom. After a few minutes of unsuccessful searching I decided to hope I’d managed to get him and return to bed.

Of course the evil git wasn’t dead was he. No, he was just hiding… waiting for the right moment.
As soon as I’d got snuggled up nice and cozy and was starting to doze off the high-pitched squeeee came again, right next to my ear. Aaarggh! This time my first reaction was to hide my head under the quilt. Then after a few minutes I slowly crept out, turned the light back on and reached for my paper plate. The bloody thing was nowhere to be found! I walked up and down the room, peered into corners… I even walked up and down on the bed to try and get a different perspective on things. No mosquito. By this time it was 20 to 1. Less than 6 hours til I had to get up for work. I went and lay down on the bed, this time keeping the light on and my eyes open, then when I was so sleepy my eyes were starting to close I switched off the light. I actually managed to get to sleep, for a while. Then I was woken up by shouting from the bar. Yes people it was bar night again. Sigh. And shortly after that… squeeee. Aaarggh!! Again I couldn’t find the bloody thing anywhere. After 20 minutes of searching I finally gave up and went to bed. The good news is that was the last squeeee of the night. The bad news is that the people in the bar chose that moment to turn the music up reeeally loud. It was after 4am when I was finally able to get some sleep. And I had to be up at 6:30. Wonderful.

If the bloody mosquitos would only wait til I was asleep before coming out it would be fine. Sure, they’d bite me and it would itch in the morning, but that would only be annoying. It’s not like I live in a country where I’m likely to get malaria. But that high-pitched squeeee just can’t be ignored.

One good thing about autumn being on its way… soon all the mosquitos will be dead and my room will be all mine again!