Berninger Winery in Zell-am-Main, Bavaria, Germany – no, not Beringer

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Throwback Tuesday Post (TBTP): Every Tuesday, I re-post a past post that I think is relevant and that you’ll enjoy.

This post was originally published on April 30, 2014 and updated on April 16, 2019.

I’m so gratified to see that my blog post titled Devil Chix a couple of weeks ago had a fun effect. I was invited to dinner with some friends just before Easter and they served this:

Plus, another friend and I made these on Easter:

We even named them, back row from left: Puppy Chick, Blue Chick, Fat Chick, Minion Chick, Sunglasses Chick, Groucho Chick.

Front row from left:
Jealous Chick, Clown Chick, Ran-Out-Of-Filling-So-Used-Cheese-Spread Chick, Regular Chick, Jealous Chick II.

But I digress. This week I want to describe a wonderful evening at a Weingut (winery) that I recently enjoyed with my husband and German “parents,” Hilde and Adi.

We visited Weingut Restaurant Berninger in a small town called Zeil-am-Main. It’s near Bamberg, where I lived for a few years until last fall. For the record, the place is a family business run by Jürgen und Ute Berninger, address: Ziegelanger 33, 97475 Zeil a. Main, Germany.

I’d been to Berninger a couple of times before with Hilde and Adi; this time my husband joined us. Here was the courtyard and vineyards on this fine spring evening as we arrived:


As with most wineries in the region, the grapes are grown on the estate and made on the premises by the family and staff. Then, at the restaurant, the wine is featured, along with local traditional cuisine.

Here are a couple of the wines we sampled:

This beautiful bottle is a sweet white called Bacchus, which is also the name of the grape variety. I love the name because it’s named after the Roman god of wine and intoxication. Although I generally prefer red wines, I love the aroma of Bacchus wine – it smells just like white grape juice.
Notice on the label that it says “Deutscher Qualitätswein.” The literal translation is “German Quality Wine.” However, it’s actually a legal classification set by the Verband Deutscher Prädikatsweinguter or VDP (German Wine Regulations). Qualitätswein is an inexpensive, everyday wine. Its grapes must have reached 15 degrees of natural sugar content and the label must bear the name of the wine-growing region. In this case, Ziegelanger Ölschnabel (I think). This region’s name hilariously translates as “Long Goat Oil Beak.”
There is one category below Qualitätswein, which is table wine, and that’s called Landwein or Tafelwein on the German label. The grapes have to come from a vineyard that could produce Qualitätswein, but the sugar content only has to reach 14 degrees.

The next bottle here is the Berninger Rotling, or what we in America would call rosé, made from mixing red and white wines together:

Its label states Deutscher Prädikatswein, among other things. This designation is the third and highest category of German wine. Prädikatswein must be made of ripe grapes with a higher sugar content than the other designations. Also, a maximum of three grape varieties can be included in the wine, with 85% of the wine coming from the variety mentioned on the label. Aside from sulfur, no preservatives can be used. The label must bear the wine region’s name and the wine must be made in that region.

Within the Prädikatswein category there are several levels depending on natural sugar content and other factors. This label has the word Kabinett. This means that the grapes have at least 19 degrees of natural sugar content, which is the lowest level for this category. The alcohol content hovers around seven percent for this wine.

Of course, we had to accompany our wines with wonderful food! Here is a shot of my husband’s Jägerschnitzel in keeping with last week’s blog post:

And Hilde’s Zwiebelbraten (onion roast):

And Adi’s Schweinelendschen (pork loin):

And that was our wonderful evening out!

Have a great week!

Photo for No Apparent Reason:

Dushanbe Teahouse in Boulder, Colorado

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I’ve learned not to be too surprised about things that Boulder, Colorado, has to offer. After all, it was/is a major hippie mecca and university town. But this raised one of my eyebrows: the Dushanbe Teahouse.

Dushanbe is the capital city of Tajikistan, and it’s one of Boulder’s seven (seven!) sister cities. The others, for the record, are Jalapa, Nicaragua; Kisumu, Kenya; Lhasa, Tibet; Mante, Mexico; Yamagata, Japan and Yateras, Cuba. I know they have a municipal plaza dedicated to all seven. But this blog is only about Dushanbe.

Dushanbe means “Monday” in the language spoken there. So, we have the Monday Teahouse, which was promised to Boulder in 1987 when Tajikstan was still the Tajik Soviet Socialist Republic. The city’s mayor, who was visiting Boulder at the time, made good on his promise to gift a traditional Tajik teahouse to Boulder.

In my excitement about visiting the inside of this place, I neglected to get a good, overall exterior shot. Thus, the above photo is by Laura Annan, my companion that day. Thanks, Laura!

Here are some of my exterior shot details:

Ceramic panels:

Even the eaves have marvelously intricate designs:

And the rose garden bench is super-ornate:

From 1987-1990, over 40 skilled artisans from several cities worked to create the hand-carved and hand-painted tables, stools, ceiling panels and columns, plus the ceramic panels above. The entire assembled teahouse was then dismantled and shipped to Boulder in about 200 crates.

I’ll leave the local politics out of this story, but the teahouse wasn’t assembled and opened until 1998. Of course, there is much more to the story, and if you want to learn all of that, check out the teahouse website or other online sources.

The exterior is very calming and peaceful – I can’t wait to see it during the growing season when the vinery and roses are in full glory.

But the inside is where it’s at! Just look!

Here’s a detail of the carved plaster around the giant painting in the above photo:

Note the lushly planted fountain on the left in the photo below. It’s actually positioned in the center of the dining area and it has several water-nymph-like statues around it:

There is a nice exhibit near the door in glass display cases. This is a velvet ceremonial robe, which was presented by the Tajiks to a local doctor for his “commitment to the advancement of medicine in Dushanbe”, and which his widow donated to the teahouse. It is an item commonly presented to Tajik men on their 70th birthday.

But the best part are the ceiling panels! Each is completely different with intricately painted and carved patterns. I got kinda dizzy taking so many pictures of them overhead!

Laura and I had lunch there, although we had to wait an interminable amount of time to be seated. There was an event there which had reserved half the dining room, plus I didn’t know we should have made reservations. And we were caught in the transition between lunch and afternoon tea, so I think we didn’t get their best that day. I would be willing to give them another chance, this time with reservations and a proper dining hour. The staff were very cordial and apologetic that we had to wait, but the end result wasn’t that stellar, unfortunately

I did like the egg-timer that came with the tea so you could time your own teapot:

The teahouse is situated next to a stream, which is traditional for teahouses in Tajikistan, so I’ve learned. It’s open daily from 8a to 9p, with breakfast, lunch, tea, dinner and brunch at selected times. You can check that out, along with their menu, on their website, too.

They also have special parties, such as the upcoming Navruz, or Persian New Year (Spring Equinox), focused mainly on the plaza (giant patio) next to the teahouse. I’ll keep an eye on this one!

Photo for No Apparent Reason:

Westminster University Building, Denver, Colorado

Photos for No Apparent Reason (PFNAR) 2016

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I can see a wonderful, red, stone castle high on Crown Point hill, visible from Federal Boulevard in the Denver suburb of Westminster. You might remember the blog I posted about the Savery Savory Mushroom Can Water Tower. Well, the day I went to photograph that water tower, I impulsively decided to drive 26 more blocks further south toward Denver and find out what this the castle was all about. I didn’t even know its name at the time, nor if I could even get close to it.

But it wasn’t hard to get there off the main road, and there was a school or daycare place next to it. However, not much seemed to be happening at the castle building itself.

I did see the sign in the photo below that reads “KPOF Studios”, which I thought might give me a clue.

On one of the archways is the inscription “Westminster University”, another clue.

I was really taken with the beauty of the place and how something could look so rough-hewn yet detailed and ornate at the same time. It seemed old and wonderfully designed. No one was about that day, so I took my photos and went on my way. However, of course, I researched it all when I got home.

ColoradoEncyclopedia.org has a fairly detailed article about it, but I’ll give you the high points here.

This lovely structure was started in 1892 and completed in 1893.The building was designed by E.B Gregory in the Richardsonian Romanesque style: archways, turrets, towers and rusticated stone walls (rough stone blocks with sunken joints). Input from subsequent architects and planners changed the original design somewhat, but there you go.

The university didn’t open until 1908 because of the Panic of 1893, an economic crisis that, until today, I’d never heard of. The building was planned as the main building of Westminster University of Colorado, which was a Presbyterian school aiming to be the “Princeton of the West”. Indeed, it was the main building of WU, but it closed just nine years after it opened. In that time, though, the town of Westminster was named after the university.

A major factor in the university’s failure, in addition to financial troubles, was that the trustees decided in 1915 to turn the coeducational school into an all-male school. Those jokers voted to arbitrarily cut their student body enrollment in half! Then, in 1917, all the young men got drafted into WWI and the school had to shut down. After that a local farmer rented the building and kept grain and chickens in it.

But in 1920, a Christian group called Pillar of Fire bought the whole campus and opened the parochial Westminster College and Academy. During this time the Pillar of Fire supported the KKK (this poor building!), and the Klan burnt crosses on the hill and held a convention there. The article I read states, “Pillar of Fire later renounced its association with the Klan.” Well, I hope so! Sheesh.

In 1928, POF started KPOF radio station, which still broadcasts today, making it the oldest continuously licensed radio station in the state.

The school became Belleview College in 1926, still under the auspices of Pillar of Fire. That college eventually went under, but Pillar of Fire still owns the campus and operates a Christian K-12 school there.

Now, the building is known locally as the Red Castle or Westminster Castle. It’s been on the National Register of HIstoric Places since 1979. Now you know!

Photo for No Apparent Reason:

Mile High Flea Market, Denver, Colorado

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There is a very large flea market in Denver: Mile High Flea Market, located northeast of downtown. I’ve seen tons of advertising about how big it is and how they have simply everything! My friend who recently moved here was looking for cheap furniture, so she asked me along to this shopping mecca.

We went fairly early on a Saturday, I guess before hoards of people showed up. But it seemed rather sparsely attended that day. But it WAS huge, and you could buy just about anything you cared to look for. I got a small bonsai tree, but that was the extend of our purchases. My friend didn’t find any furniture to suit, but there was plenty to see.

There were lots of buildings with lots of new goods, from clothes to sporting goods to plants to…

I liked the architecture of the little stall buildings.

I liked the street signs, too. I always appreciate food on the directional signage!

There was a very big farmers market there, but it was autumn and the variety wasn’t what I had seen during the summer months. Still, everything seemed pretty fresh:

Kids had something to do, too:

And the tent here is the Event Center. I think they hold concerts and other events in there.

Overall it was a nice outing. Though they did have a section with garage-sale type things, most of the merch was new. I think we would have preferred more used things, but there you are. Oh, and they had a couple of snack bars and several food truck/trailer/cart businesses. People were super friendly, too, and the prices were mostly pretty low. I’m not sure if I will make it back over there, but I’m happy I’ve seen it.

Mile High Flea is open Friday through Sunday 7a – 5p, rain or shine, year-round. Admission is $2 per person on Fridays, $3 per person on Saturdays and Sundays, and $5 gets you a weekend pass. They have plenty of free parking, too. Pick up a map from the ticket-seller; it’ll help you figure out where in the heck you actually are!

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Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, CO

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Photos for No Apparent Reason (PFNAR) 2016?

PFNARs are the photos at the end of each blog post – the pics are unrelated to the blog and have no explanation.

Where did I take the pictures? Why did I take them?

Find the answer in PFNAR 2016!

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COLLECT ALL THREE – click here!

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Along about 65 million years ago, a compressed layer of sand, now sandstone, was pushed up by the forces that formed the Rocky Mountains. That sandstone shows up as red, rock “fins” here and there in Colorado on the eastern side of the Rockies. This particular site of the upheaval is known as Garden of the Gods. FYI, this red rock has been quarried from other sites to build many things here in Colorado, including buildings at UC Boulder.

My husband and I visited Garden of the Gods recently, which is a park located in Colorado Springs. We first stopped at the Welcome Center, which has nice restrooms, a wonderful exhibit inside of local nature, and a snackbar/cafe.

And that particular day, there was a volunteer with pelts and horns you could touch from locally native animals. I touched.

The bear was the most surprising – its fur was very wiry. Also, she said most of these animals were roadkill so some had a lot of holes.

I liked the 3D map – it really gives you an idea of how spectacularly different these red rocks are compared to the surrounding mountains:

Just past the map and out the doors is a wonderful patio with a full view:

In 1879, a railroad man from Ohio by the name of Charles Elliot Perkins bought 240 acres of land where these magnificent rock formations reside. He was going to build a summer mansion, but decided to leave the natural formations alone because he loved them so much. He also added more land around the original plat.

In 1909, his family donated the entire 480 acres to the City of Colorado Springs, with the contingent that it always be free and open to the public. And so it is.

There is a loop road around the park that we drove:

Eventually you’ll come to the famous Balance Rock. Here’s a shot of it, along with some violators of the rule not to climb on the rocks without training, gear and a permit:

We did stop in a couple of places and made an effort to hike the trails. We didn’t go very far on them because we hadn’t dressed for that, but it was fun and the view was great. Below are the Kissing Camels formation. See them?

We had lunch at the Trading Post:

Actually, the burgers and fries were quite good. Plus they had scads of souvenirs and local gifties. I’d already bought my pin at the Welcome Center, though. Also, that guy in red on the left above with the Superman jacket told us it was his birthday. He also had a Superman hat, Superman belt, Superman shoes and Superman shirt.

After lunch we drove once more around the loop and stopped at the place where you can walk among the thickest part of the rocks. First, I saw this from the parking lot. I can still hear the “Bonanza” theme song:

Here are some shots I took as we strolled the paved sidewalks through the rocks. Also, someone had the bright idea of climbing through the gap between formations. I didn’t do so well; I will NOT bring the Nikon on future hikes!

On this very tall rock is a plaque about the park’s being donated to Colorado Springs. The plaque is probably 6 feet tall:

And here is a shot with the rocks just to my left:

Although the light wasn’t very good that day, it was a great daytrip for a Sunday when not much else was going on. I encourage you to make this stop if you’re anywhere in the vicinity of Colorado Springs, or even Denver. It’s completely free, parking and all, and it’s well maintained and tended by caring volunteers. And they have good pins!

Photo for No Apparent Reason: