Our First Day in Gemünd | Trip to Europe

The day before, Tom had found out that we could have breakfast at the bar and cafe just up the hill from where we were staying. We arrived at this restaurant about mid-morning, after a much needed night's rest. Once again we were reminded of the very different European practice typical in restaurants. No one seats you, and there are no signs saying what you should do. Rather, we found a seat at a table of four and waited. There was a waitress who was tending the bar and the other customers. After about 15 minutes, she came and took our order. We ordered off the menu, but when we asked for Brötchen (bread rolls), we were told that there were none. We could have toast, instead. We also ordered eggs. Michael, the guy with a small van from the Netherlands was having breakfast at another table, but we didn't ask him to join us. What finally arived was Brötchen (she said she found some), cheese wedges in tin foil, jam, and cold cuts. She also brought a boiled egg in an egg cup. With our tea and coffee, it actually was a good breakfast.

Another item that we did have on the agenda was singing. I mentioned in the introduction that the three of us have been singing for a long time. Whenever there is a family get together—graduation or holiday—we usually haul out the guitar and sing our standard repertoire of songs in three-part harmony. When Vicki and Tom were in high school, I worked out several arrangements with guitar accompaniment. The Beach Boys "In My Room" and "Graduation Day" and Peter, Paul and Mary's "San Francisco Bay Blues" are probably our best songs. Over the years our repertoire has shrunk from about 10 songs to the present three or four. However, we STILL have to sing "Graduation Day," and Vicki's husband, Jerry, has been kind enough all these years to chime in with the last note for that song. The first time he did it to surprise us, but we thought it was so funny that he's now expected to do his duty. So I took my guitar all the way to Europe in the hopes of getting some practice for our still not named trio.

That morning Vicki and I wanted to go on a walk after breakfast. However, Tom volunteered to restring the guitar instead of going for the walk. So Tom stayed in the apartment (also recovering from last night's celebration), while the two of us went out to explore the field behind the condo. You can see our row of condos to the left. We were on the top floor of about the third or fourth building down in this row. The road that we walked skirted the top of the hill behind the condos, then went down toward the valley and came back across the field to the bottom of this picture. To the right is a picture of Vicki just starting down the dirt road at the top of the hill. It was a very beautiful landscape, with yellow and pink flowers and some kind of tree that had orange berries all over it.

When we got back from our walk, we decided to do some exploring of the town. To tell the truth, since we spent several days in Gemünd, I can't remember all the exact details of our day. I do remember that it was Sunday, and we were told that everything closes up tight as a drum on Sunday. That turned out to only be partially true. To the left is a view of part of Gemund from a road that goes up into the hills. You can see church steeples and how the wooded hillsides make for interesting views in any direction. On the right, the camera was looking in the opposite direction. The wooded hillsides are even more prominent in this picture. I think we spent the middle part of the day just exploring the downtown and surrounding area of this resort town. In fact we spent several days enjoying this place.

One of the things we liked about this and several other German towns was the fact that the business area was pretty much closed to automobiles. Once in a while we would see a car, apparently with special permission, drive through the pedestrians. You can see the main commercial street of downtown Gemünd on the left. There were a lot of neat shops and restaurants: delicatessens, pastry shops, butcher shops, and bakeries. One place that Vicki spent a lot of time at was the Löwensahn (literally, the Lion's Tooth, or, in English, the Dandilion). This was a children's clothes shop, and there were some adorable outfits there unlike anything you could get in the U.S.A. She bought several outfits for her new grandchildren, and I think Tom did some grandkid shopping too. You can see the Löwenzahn in the picture to the right.

There was a "Salzburg style" restaurant down at the foot of the hill of our condo complex. It sounded interesting, and so about three in the afternoon, we went down to explore it. An attractive lady in maybe her late thirties was our hostess and server. We were ushered through the indoor restaurant to a dark wood deck that overlooked the valley we were in. It really was a tranquil and lovely view. In this part of Germany there are lots of green tree covered hills and orange-roofed houses down in the valley. That is what we were looking at. We came back to this restaurant a couple of more times at different times of the day. The deck always seemed to be well populated with natives and tourists. I suppose there were about 20 seats in all. There were large, colorful paper napkins and placemats at each place. I had soup and a dessert, Vicki had a cheese and fruit plate, and I think Tom had an enormous breaded pork cutlet. We sipped our tea and beer and enjoyed the late afternoon. We also chatted with our hostess, and I was able to practice my German a little bit.

I think we continued to explore for a while after lunch. We might have driven back to Schleiden to see if there were any shops open, and found them mostly closed. Whatever the case, we were really glad that we were in Gemund and not Schleiden. Gemund has more things for tourists to do, Schleiden is just like a village with the kind of shops that people need for everyday activities. One of the days we were shopping, we stopped for a mid-afternoon drink at a little outdoor cafe. In these pictures, you can see the three of us having a drink. The picture to the righ shows Tom and Vicki sitting on a park bench in the little park facing the river that ran through the town. There were ducks and swans, trout and other fish in the river. There were also "works of art" in the river. Apparently some local artists put some modern type constructions and sculptures there. In the background of this picture you can see the Hotel Friedrich. We ate there twice and the food was really good. One item you saw on the menu a lot was Curried Turkey Breast Strips. I had that at two different places.

In this picture you can get a better view of the Hotel Friedrich. It was a very traditional restaurant. There was a salad bar, although by no means the same as the U.S.A. Germans seemed to eat more raw vegetables, and there wasn't such a great variety of salad dressings. The most common one was like a light, slightly sweet ranch, maybe with yoghurt. Their soups tended to be lighter, too. But always, the menu was full of meat, especially beef, pork and fish.

We Discover Monschau | Trip to Europe

Created by Jim Andris, one month to the day later than this date.