A weekend of indulgence in the Breisgau
Longer travels were not possible during this Corona summer but a bit of diversion was still due. So why not exploring something new in Germany? Staufen im Breisgau is a nice small town on the border of the Black Forest. It is known for the Schladerer distillery that produces real good eau de vie made from the fruits growing in the region. The well kept old town reminds a bit of Freiburg in small and has a variety of restaurants and small shops on offer. It is a good starting point for excursions to the Alsace or one of the most beautiful valleys in the Black forest, the Muenstertal.
In the summer of 2019 we visited Stockholm and were really enthused. When we went to one of th liquor stores there we found a wine from a vinery called Löffler. I found that rather interesting, especially after I found out that it’s official name is Wolfgang Löffler. Once we were back home I had to find out more about this. It was found real quick on the net and so I ordered one of the tasting packages they offer. I was keen to see what they produce under my name.
What I got delivered a few days later did convince me instantly. Especially the Blanc de Noir could become one of my favourite drinks. In the fall of 2019 the vinery did present itself on a wine fair here in Munich and I wanted to take the opportunity to get to know the people behind this wine and taste a few more. The other wines were equally to my taste and so I bought a few more bottles. When we were thinking about a destination for a weeknd escape this summer we thought of this vinery almost immediately.
Staufen im Breisgau
So we looked for a hotel and booked a car. For a lush summer wekend we opted for a convertible. The goal was to spend a weekend of indulgence. The day of departure came closer quickly and so we started early in the morning from Munich.
We make the drive without any traffic jam and so we reach the Hotel Goethe, a branch of the hotel Löwen, already early in the afternoon. The hotel is small and modernly decorated. The first impression is already very good. Since the breakfast buffet can not be served due to Corona regulations we have to decide upon check-in what we want to have for breakfast. After we have moved in we go for a first stroll through the town.
We realize that quite a few of the houses in the old town do have cracks. Apparently they are due to geothermal drillings. In 2007 the city council has decided to heat the city hall with geothermal energy. Actually a very good idea but here it took the wrong effect and a lot of the buildings in the old town got cracks. A few even had to be torn down. But it still is a quaint small town. While we are strolling around we look for a restaurant where we could have dinner later in the evening.
At the Hotel Löwen we see this inscription on the facade. Apparently this was the place where Mr. Goethe had the idea for his most famous story about Doctor Faust who sold his soul to the devil. It became one of Germanys most important work of literature that is known worldwide. Living history of literature. The first stroll ends quickly since we decide to visit our main place of interest for this getaway. At the tourist info we fetch a map and ask for directions to the vinery Löffler.
Evening stroll to the „Strauße“
To get there we have to follow a main road. But since we plan to taste some of the wines we didn’t want to take the car. To our left we have great views of the Black Forest. The hills are covered with vineyards and the fields in the valley along the street are overgrown with weeds. I guess that they were sown deliberately to use them as fertilization. Very good idea.
After about 45 minutes we do reach the vinery Weingut Löffler. The courtyard is full of beer benches. Looks very invting. So the decision of where we gonna have dinner is answered. In Germany producers can sell their own products in restaurant like setups during special weeks of the year. They are called bunch or broom restaurants since they put out a bunch of dried flowers or a broom to show that they are open, hence the name. So along with a nice wine tasting we are being served great homemade food. This makes a very nice evening with al fresco dining.
The coutyard is well filled with other guests.Apparently this vinery is popuar with the locals. The atmosphere is really great and for a while we almost forget the pandemic and its horror. The owner, as well as the other employees, probably all familiy members, give great tips of which wine to taste. I could sit here for much longer but it is getting dark and the way back along the road is not well lit up. So we ask for the opening hours on the next day. After all we do want to buy some wine as well.
On our way back we have right of a kitschy but very colourful sunset. Why should we travel to the South Pacific for this? Slowly the sun sets behind the hils of the Vosges on the other side of the Rhine. Would we have had dinner in town, we would have missed this spectacular show.
A day trip to th Alsace
This has been a perfect getaway day. Very tired we fall in our beds. The next morning we wake up with a view of the castle. Nice. When you usually wake up with the view of a factory this alone gives you a vacational feeling. After breakfast we return to the Löfflers and buy some wine. The choice is so big that we have difficulties to decide what we want to take. Every single wine turns out to be sensational. I have found my favourite vinery.
Afterwards we drive to the French side of the Rhine into the Alsace. We want to buy some stuff you can’t get in Germany at a supermarket. In four years living in Paris we have found a few things that we do care for. When our shopping spree is finished it is only 1 p.m. and we think of what we could do with the rest of this day. We have visited Colmar before. The weather is great and we do have a convertible so we decide to go on a scenic drive with an open rooftop. Our destination is the HautKoenigsburg.
The drive uphill from the valley leads through vineyards and then through dense forest. After what feels like an eternity we finally arrive on the top and are surprised how many people came up here despite the raging pandemic. Since we decided to come here on a last minute basis we don’t have tickets for a visit. Now that we are standing in front of the castle we do regret this. Means that we will have to come back one day. We enjoy the view for a while before we walk back to the car.
At the foot of the castle hill we come across the „Alsace Wine Route“ that leads throught the vineyards. We decide to follow it on our way back to Colmar. But first we have to take a few shots of the vineyards and the castle. The route is well marked with signs and so we continue unhurriedly through the vineyards. A dream! This is picture perfect. Well, maybe I would have preferred to take this route with my bike. That would enhance the enjoyment.
On this road there is not much traffic and so we can take quick photo stops from time to time. There are so many great motives here to be found. The quaint scenery is a welcome diversion of the majestic alpine summits where I usually spend my outings. Vineyards as far as the eyes can see and the mountains of the Vosges behind. The perfect setting for a calm weekend getaway.
From time to time dark couds are moving over the coutryside but it stays dry. The good thing is that this way we can’t get sunburned. After about an hour later we do reach Riquewihr. This quaint village is well known and supposedly one of the most beautiful villages in the Alsace. The first thing we see is the stork on the rooftop of the fire department. It is sort of the official state bird of the Alsace. For a long time their number diminished. So I am even more excited to see one in its natural enviroment.
Here it is a bit more difficult to find an open parking space. There are quite a few visitors around. After the car is safely parked we walk the few minutes to the pedestrian zone. This is as Alsatian as it can get. Nice, colourful half-timbered houses border the narrow street. We are delighted. Between the compulsory souvenir shops selling typical Alsatian art ware there are also a few Cafés and traditional Winstubs. We stroll leisurely through this town and do some window shopping. One of those cute tarte pans made of earthenware would be great. But we do already have a few of them in different sizes. In the end I just buy a few glases of the traditonal terrines.
On our way back we do see another stork that has buit its nest in the middle of the old town. We surely will visit this region at one point for a longer time. But meanwhile it is late afternoon and we return to Staufen. We want to have dinner there since we want to drink one or two more glasses of this fantastic wine they make here. And as you know: Don’t drink and drive.
A calm evening in a quaint garden
Not far from our hotel we have seen this beautiful garden. It belongs to the vinery Weingut Peter Landmann. There we want to sit down and enjoy the last evening of our weekend getaway. We find a table in the evening sun and enjoy the Flammekuche. Why can’t it be that way all the time? This vinery has great wines too but the wines from the Löffler family are a tiny bit better.
So it is possible in times of this Corona pandemic to spend a few calm days away from home. We should do this more often. There are so many great things to do and see just a few steps away from our front door. I sure hope this post will inspire you to do such things. Stay safe and healthy.