Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Tuesday at the Table

When a friend asked how the jet-lag was, I basically said it wasn't an issue, but I may have spoken too soon. I mean I'm making it through the days well enough, but when it IS time to sleep (or nap!) I'm sleeping SO hard. Can't get enough. But that's ok! It's great to be home. Yet the sleep thing reminds me that we're still catching up from pretty strenuous travel to amazing places. And I like being reminded.

We spent just one night in Beaune, an endearing little town in France's Burgundy region. According to Wikipedia, "The annual wine auction of the Hospices de Beaune is the primary wine auction in France. (The hospice structure, in the town center, being one of the best preserved renaissance buildings in Europe.)" Interesting! And we got to visit Hotel-Dieu and taste some great wine at a winery in town, Debray Domain. But the other thing Beaune is know for is.... beef bourguignon. So of course we had to hunt some down for dinner the one night we were there. Thankfully it wasn't hard. I did a google search for 'best beef bourguignon near me' (this is serious stuff!) and landed on Le Bistrot Bourguignon, and it did not disappoint. We arrived, though, before the kitchen opened (this is Europe, you know), and were intimidated by all the locals at the bar, and we actually walked away. But for reasons I don't remember, we turned and went back, and asked in our halting French if we could have a drink and wait. We apparently were understood well enough to be seated, enjoyed a delightful glass of wine while waiting for the kitchen to open, enjoying the restaurant's eclectic interior and the multitude of locals. That all led directly to a delicious salad with goat cheese on toast (remember, that's a favorite), and the much-anticipated beef bourguignon. Oh yum. It was everything we expected and more, and I really want to try making some at home and soon.

Bern, Switzerland wasn't a town we had anticipated seeing on our trip. It was an unexpected stop, and better yet, one of the best foodie moments of the whole trip. Except it wasn't actually the food. Oh, it was just fine - we actually had stopped in at Bread a Porter bakery for a quick, light lunch. We sat at a table out front to share our 'picnic' of sausage rolls, pretzel buns with salami, a mortadella sandwich, and some fresh-backed cookies, and that's when it happened. As there were very few tables, a young couple asked to join us. Gary & Kathryn were traveling from Dublin and we started chatting. We all shared about where we were from and where we were going, our families, and our jobs. 
In fact, we talked together so long, we had to race to meet up with our tour group. The encounter was even more unanticipated than our stop in Bern, and way more meaningful. And it left us with a warmth that we carried with us for days.

Then on we went to the Lauterbrunnen Valley in the Swiss Alps. Undeniably gorgeous, and we spent quite the day walking up in the clouds. Besides making sure we tried a cup of true Swiss cocoa, we also enjoyed a fun demo of cheese fondue, and honestly that would have been enough of a meal for me.

We also tried Raclette, which didn't come in the specialty pan I had expected, but was mighty tasty nonetheless.

It was a few days later in Munich, Germany that we had a couple more encounters that stuck with us, at Oktoberfest of all places, where you literally had to shout to be heard over the din of music and thousands of voices. There, in a crowded beer hall (ie. the hall had a capacity of 6000!), we met Richard first, then later Sepina & George, all from Munich, and we were all eager to learn a bit about each other tho finding the right words wasn't easy for any of us. But worth it, oh yes, and memories were made that won't soon be forgotten. Sepina thanked us for letting her practice her English, which gave us all a chuckle as we parted ways.

So that was an overkill of a post I know, and I don't expect many of you are still with me. If so - thank you! I know of a few that enjoy those flavorful experiences as much as I do. And more than anything, I don't want to forget about those chance meetings shared around the table. They definitely added a something special to our days.


  1. I don't have any plans to travel and I am thoroughly enjoying yours. If you have more to share please do.

  2. I loved the breads in Bern as well, and loved all that conglomeration of shared tables everywhere. Your dinner choices look delicious, and I'm glad you had such a great time eating across that region. I've been in Munich a couple of times for Oktoberfest, but since I'm a non-drinker, instead I went bonkers for the dirndls, buying yards of fabric to bring home (I've made three dirndls total). So fun to read this!