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Report 2015: Alpine Adventures and Other Travels in the Rhone, Rhin and Rhön

By wendy lynn from California USA, Summer 2012

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Page 18 of 21: Fulda: Kleinluder, Schwimbad, Hilders and Tann

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Wendy at the Fulda schwimbad

Breakfast comes with the hotel room, so we push the kids to join us. It's Sunday morning and the place is bustling! We have to share a table. The spread is okay. Scrambled eggs and bacon are things we haven't had yet and are included with the usual cold cuts and bread choices. Lots of coffee, which we enjoy. It's the most coffee we've been offered so far and Wendy is actually zinging from caffeine by the time we leave.

We again drive the five minutes to the Downs Barracks. Joe is moved again. We see some guys at the Black Horse Inn, leftovers from the 11th ACR. They've stayed in Fulda and use the Inn as a sort of clubhouse. A kids soccer game is happening nearby.

We get back in the car and drive to Kleinluder. It's not the sort of town you would seek out, but it's a short drive through a thick forest and apparently Joe used to drive this way. It's a small town, rural and cute. We see the Land Gasthof Hessenmuhle where Joe used to eat. Joe remembers the restaurant fondly. We see Pfefferlings (chanterelle mushrooms) on the menu and want to return sometime for dinner.

We return to Fulda and see the Ober Bayern (OB), a dive bar Joe used to frequent. A lot of memories for Joe. We park and Joe snaps a few pictures. Just down a path is a schwimbad (public swimming pool). We peek through the fence and it looks pretty good -- lots of fun water slides, big grassy areas. But we continue walking to the public garden just beyond, enjoying the flowers, pleasant paths and older couples playing boules. But the kids want to swim. It's a beautiful warm day, so we go back to our hotel and grab our suits.

Entrance to the schwimbad costs us €12 for the entire family. The schwimbad is super cool. Clean and modern with infinity edged pools. There is a wide and very tall waterside, water jets (sprudel), water fountains and sprays. A gigantic, separate lap pool and a separate pool with high dive, medium dive and assortment of standard diving boards. The kids are in heaven.

Of note is the level of acceptable danger here. A few kids run and no one stops them. The tall water slide has multiple kids and occasionally someone gets a bit knocked. Margaret is allowed up on the medium diving board and gets nothing but a smile from the lifeguard. Still, no one is abusing the freedom and everyone is having fun. Alex gets hit pretty hard in the head by a man who followed down the slide too quickly. Wendy was afraid he might have been knocked out, but Alex only bobbed up and exclaimed in English, "Hey! Someone hit me pretty hard!" The man followed up with a big apology auf Deutsch. Alex barely notices and is right back up and running up the steps to do the slide again.

And also of note is the nice snack bar. Plenty of food, sausages, freshly made sweet snacks, cold drinks and tons of beer. For a €2 Pfand (deposit) they even pour the beer into a nice glass. Very relaxing. This is the life!

The pool is a mix of all ages ... young kids, young couples and older groups of friends relaxing and drinking beer. The atmosphere is relaxed, fun and busy although not at all crowded.

After a few hours of fun, we leave and wash up. We are headed for the Hilders Heimatfest. Hilders is a cute, small town about 20 minutes away that Joe's visited once. He thinks he may have even been to this particular festival. It's Sunday in Germany and most shops are closed, so we figure that the schwimbad and the Fest are a great way to spend the day.

We arrive in Hilders around 3 or 4pm, and it's immediately clear where the fest is happening. We simply park and walk to the tents. The festival is well attended with live music, a line of beer and food tents and the usual tables set up. It's a multi-generational neighborhood party.

The beer is the local Hochstift, which we believe may actually come from Hilders. We order beer, gyros, pommes frites and rumpsteak. The gyros are very good and different from the American version: real meat in small chunks ... not the shaved meat product we're accustomed to. And no pita but lots of yogurt sauce. Very good. We also try two desserts. A Johanisbeere kuche and streusel kuche, both of which are very good. People constantly come and take away our plates and utensils, which by the way, are real china ... no paper plates here. It makes a real difference in enjoying the food. There is a local oompah band and lots of lederhosen. What fun!

Afer a few hours we decide to take a quick detour home by heading to the village of Tann which was formerly in East Germany. We pass beautiful rolling hills. It's postcard perfect. The hills are dotted by small villages. We have to stop for cows. We see a cowboy on a moped who smiles and waves at Joe as he wrangles a straggler. Joe smiles back and loudly yells "Jahwohl!" Some things are universal.

We head for home where we all rest. Wendy watches a Cary Grant movie that is strangely in English for half the movie and then abruptly shifts into German. Luckily the plot by then was clear. Joe returns to Downs Barracks and walks around again.

We return to Kleinluger for dinner. The Gasthof Hessenmuhle is atmospheric and the food is good but not great. Rumpsteak for Joe. Pfefferlingen mit knodeln for Wendy. The best one so far. Bratwurst called "Bob the Bauermeister" for Alex. and "Chikki Mikki" nuggets for Margaret. Julia has the salmon. Joe has a good, dark beer and Wendy has a good, trocken (dry) red wine. One of the best wines of the trips.

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