Feb 12

Salon des Vins des Vignerons Indépendants, Strasbourg

We got invited to a wine tasting/exhibition event in Strasbourg by a friend of mine, who is a great wine enthusiast. As we don’t go to events like this very often (may be we will start now), it was more of a social visit for me to catch up with Martin, who I hadn’t seen in quite a while. But it turned out to be a good fun on its own as well, and we had a good time.

The Salon des Vins was organised by a body of independent winemakers from all over France, and it is an annual event similar as they have in other French cities. In the morning we had a bit of a problem with Henry, who decided he did not want to navigate in France, and quitted pretty much right on the bridge between Kehl and Strasbourg, but since we had a map too, and my great orientation and navigating skills came to help, we were there in no time nevertheless.

The place was quite big – apparently over 550 stalls of individual wineries, each with approx. 5-10 wines. Had we been on our own, we would have been quite lost, running around with our glasses as headless chickens, getting wasted on subpar stuff, not knowing good regions, good years or good names. Fortunately, we got to tag along with Martin, who did his research beforehand, went through the big fat catalogue, marking the stuff to be tasted selectively, building also on his experience from last year and on some impressive knowledge. So on top of tasting some exquisite wines, we also got the “wines for dummies” intro to wines from him, which was really interesting and fun. So all in all, everything worked out fine.


Gina enjoying the day

Of course there was the thing that one of us had to do the driving, and therefore not the drinking. Fortunately, Iestyn got completely wasted the night before, was massively hungover, and therefore did not mind taking up the role of the designated driver, as long as he could settle his stomach with a gargantuan French baguette stuffed with proper cheese and meat.


That’s the stuff!

The selection of wines was really big and some samples were just absolutely great. We also saw some more bizarre pieces on exhibition, such as these. But all in all it was a respectable wine event.

A bit overdressed perhaps?

Not drinking this without my lederhosen on

Of course, apart from the great wine, there were all the usual wine add-ons on sale in really tempting selections.




Of course at the end I selected the best samples to take with us home, so that Iestyn got something out of it as well. Can’t wait to break into them one of these nice evenings. And may be next year we go again.

Feb 12

Snowshoeing around Kandel

Beautiful sunny Sunday, only like -20 degrees outside, perfect conditions to run around in snowshoes. Of course, only if you happen to have fancy cool snowshoes, otherwise gaiters have to do. We decided for a roundtrip around Kandel because the views from there are pretty in good weather. We took our guidebook and also picked up our friend Hendrik on the way, not too early in the morning as usual, but not too late either.

Up on Kandel we first headed for the very top, with nice panoramas all around. My snowshoes worked nicely, I could run around in deep snow like it’s no-one’s business. We did not spend too much time up on the top, as it was quite cold, and we set out on our roundtrip, getting lost almost immediately.


Gina on top

View from Kandel

Of course in a place like Kandel it does not really matter if you get lost, we just sort of kept our direction, and didn’t mind the rough deep unforgiving snow with hidden steep rock faces where one step on the wrong spot could be the matter of life and death and all that in blinding blizzard… ok, exaggerating a little bit, but truth is we were a bit surprised to arrive at Gummenhofhütte after good two hours of wandering, while according to our map that place was no further than 1,5 kms from the top of Kandel. Nevermind, at least we were back on the map and continued according to plan.

Deep in the snow and woods


by Gummenhofhütte

From here it was a piece of cake – soon we found Thomashütte with a pretty view, and continued over Kandelfelsen back to Claude. Frankly, we still did not arrive to Claude from the right direction technically speaking, so we must have strayed a bit somewhere from our guide-prescribed tour, but may be we also had more soft deep powder snow to play with on our way.

Gina with the moose