April 23, 2012 Bayreuth, Germany

I am a person who likes to have a plan. That’s not to say that I can’t do things serendipitously. Hey, didn’t I go to see the Basilica of the Fourteen Holy Helpers? That wasn’t on the original plan. But for the most part if you have a plan, things just run more smoothly.Today our plans did not work out quite the way we had anticipated but we were able to keep things from becoming a disaster.

Long ago in the early planning stages of our trip, Sarah said she would like to see the Festspielhaus in Bayreuth. The Festspielhaus was Wagner’s creation so that his operas could be perfectly produced.

Festspielhaus with pansies

Sarah made reservations for a tour but shortly before we left, the tour was cancelled. The people at the Festspielhaus did say, however, that they would give us a tour of the outside and the grounds. Okay, not perfect but better than nothing. However, when we get to the Festspielhaus there is no one there except for the film crew who had caused the opera house to be closed. Ever resourceful, Sarah has screen captured several pages on her tablet and gives us a private tour.

Sarah as our tourguide

We get at least as much information from our Sarah-tour as we would have gotten from the real thing. Plus we ask questions that we might have been hesitant to ask about the opera house during the Nazi era. So our first almost disaster works out quite well.

Mom and Sarah in front of the Festspielhaus

Sarah and John by a bust of Wagner in the gardens

Our plan for the afternoon is to do the brewery tour at Maisel’s Weisse. First we try to find a restaurant near the brewery. We walk around an entire mall in the rain trying to find it to no avail. But, no problem, we go into the mall and have lunch at a brasserie. We get flamm kuchen, which is kind of like a matzoh pizza.

Feta, onion, and spinach flamm kuchen

I hustle everyone out of the restaurant early because, if you are me, you always need to be a little early. Good thing that I do that because when we get to the brewery we find that we are in the wrong place. With ten minutes to spare we race back to the car and drive to the new location in time for the tour. Whew!

Maisel's Weisse brewery

Uh oh, the tour is only given in German. The tour leader hands us a script, though, so we are able to follow along. After a very comprehensive (and incomprehensible) tour we are treated to the largest beer sample ever.

Beer placards at the brewery

Giant sampling at the end of the tour

John asks whether they have steam beer available for tasting. The former brewmaster who is there making whiskey overhears and becomes John’s best friend. Peter, the brewmaster, has been to San Francisco and knows Fritz Maytag of Anchor Steam fame. They talk and talk. Peter takes John behind the scenes and offers him tastes of the whiskey he is making. It is a very special tour.

So, we avert many vacation disasters today and probably have a better day than we would have if everything had gone smoothly.

As an aside to the members of our family who are Dr. Who fans, we seem to have a TARDIS across the hall from our room here in Bayreuth.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *