Wine, Esslingen, some amazing views, oh and good friends to

Do you like wine?  Do you like seeing where the wine comes from?  Would you like to walk through hills that have wine carts setup, which let you try said wine, oh and see some amazing views?  If you answered yes to these very important questions, then the Esslingen Wine Walk is for you.

A few weeks ago it was that lovely time again when a bunch of my friends and I trek our way to Esslingen on a Sunday afternoon, and take part in the Weinwandertag Esslingen or in english the Esslingen Wine Walk.  Esslingen is a lovely city right outside of Stuttgart.  People love coming here because its just a nice place.  It has a great river, where you can find a cafe and sit outside and just enjoy yourself.  This is truly my favorite event in the early part of the year.  Why?  Mainly because it lets you walk through the wine vineyards in Esslingen, take some really awesome pictures, and just enjoy being outside.  Not to mention that its pretty much all the hiking I’m ever going to do in the year.  Only problem with this event is the fact its on a Sunday.  Now I understand a little bit why this is the day they do it.  On Sunday nothing is open and you probably want to give the people something to do.  They can’t go shopping, there aren’t any shops open to buy beer, wine, or liquor.  Except for the main train station in Stuttgart, but not everyone lives by there, nor does anyone want to go just for that reason.  The only thing that are open are restaurants, cafes, oh and gelato stands.  Lovely tasty gelato.

So how does this little thing work?  The walk has 6 stands setup, which takes up about 5km, which is about 3 miles.  You start at the first stand, where you buy your sample glass, along with your first glass of wine.  From there you start your hike and wine tasting.  You spend about €3 or so for your glass, then your first glass is about the same price if not a euro less.  Depending on your love of wine, you probably will have a few glasses at the first few stands, then if you are with a group, it becomes cheaper to just pick a wine and buy a bottle from the next stands.  Just make sure you know what you like or are in the mood for.  Though the bottles are from €10 to €15, pretty cheap compared to if you were buying them from a say a restaurant.

This year the weather was OK at points, until the standard German storm came by.  You know sideways rain, hail, and massive winds.  Best part is when you are standing through this, completely pissed with the world, then it stops, the sun comes out, and you continue with your day.  This was my third time doing this event.  The first time the weather was fine, rained or looked to rain at a few random times.  Last year, it was completely to hot.  Drinking wine and walking around had to be the worse idea you could have.  Still we made it through and I had a nice time.  Along with the people who found random spots to just hang out and chill.

Now what do you all think is going to happen after you’ve walked about 3 miles or more and had a good amount of wine, and find yourself at the end of all this fun?  Well, if you guessed more wine, grilled sausages, other pork products, and a band, you’d be right.  Also, not just any band, a concert band, with a German lead singer.  Doing traditional German fest songs.  I really think that its not a choice.  You are pretty much required to have these things.  If you don’t, I think Germans may think the event isn’t a real event.  Especially if it’s an outdoor gig.

DSC_0540All in all, the wine walk is a great time.  Every year I’ve gotten to hang out with different groups of people.  We have a great time.  We see some really cool stuff, and enjoy decent German wine.  I would say if you are ever around the area, then you need to do this event.

Many more excellent things are coming up, can’t wait to share them with you on the next go around.  Enjoy the week ahead!

The Wine Walk experience

The traveler returns

So its been 106 days, or 15 weeks and 1 day, or well, I was going to do the hours and minutes thing, but you all get the point.  Its been a minute since I last put something up.  I actually have a few drafts that I started during that time.  Alas, they never made it up, so the simple question is, what happened?

 Well, I got a little sister.  Jada Jenae Johnson was born in April.  I’ve been an only child for 30 years, my mom and stepdad were able to do this amazing thing and I’m pretty happy with it.  It is really funny to be a big brother now.  Jada is so cute and its interesting to hold a baby.

My other interesting change was the fact while my mom was pregnant, her and my stepdad told me they were going back to the states for his job.  What did that mean for me?  Well, I’m staying in Germany for the near future.  Along with that news from my parents, I also got a new job.  Something that will actually pay me a real salary, though its going to be a struggle.  A struggle I’m totally looking forward to.

I was able to find a place, though looking for a place in Stuttgart is one of the most frustrating things in this city.  The reasons for this are countless.  In any case though a good friend of mine got a new job in the Ukraine, so I was able to take over her place.  An apartment that is in downtown Stuttgart, a great place, that will allow me to grow in my life and know what it feels like to be so close to so many things.

Now lastly one of the best times in the year is beginning.  That is fest season.  What is fest season, well, in Stuttgart every weekend gives you something to do.  More will be coming on this.  In any case Frühlingsfest (Spring Fest) just ended.  This is Stuttgarts form of Octoberfest.  Beer tents, rides, and pretty awesome food.

I guess I should also mention the outfit.  Yes, that is me in my Lederhosen, loose meaning is leather pants.  My friend Brian took this, a pretty excellent picture.  Fest season is one of the best times in Germany.  There is a sense of community, you make great friends, and you get to hang out and enjoy some nice weather.

Well, I have so much more to tell about so many things.  I don’t think it’ll be another 106 days, or 15 weeks and 1 day, or who knows how many hours until I write again.  Have a good one and we’ll see you soon!

Stuttgart a pretty solid view

Living in Germany you can see some pretty cool things.  Today the rage amongst several of my friends was this solid time lapsed video called Stuttgart in Motion by  Sebastian Weitbrecht.  Mr. Weitbrecht put together this video that consist of over 18,000 still photos.  This took him over a year to do this project.  I have to say in watching this allowed me to see things which I see all the time, along with new things I hadn’t really paid attention to before.

Sit back and watch this 3 minute video.  You won’t be sorry.

Stuttgart in Motion from Sebastian Weitbrecht.

This is how to celebrate New Years in Germany

Happy 2013 everyone!  I spent my new years eve with friends and got to see an excellent fireworks show at a local pub called the Maulwurf in Stuttgart.  Every year they do a pretty awesome show.  Here in Germany fireworks are legal to purchase and use during new years.  I’ve attached the video I took during the show.  It is a little long, but totally worth the time to see the craziness that ensued.

I hope everyone has a great start to the new year.  I know I can’t wait to see and do so much more in my career, personal, and travel life.  Happy New Year!!