Welcome to the pub...pour a pint and get comfortable

Welcome to the pub...pour yourself a pint of homebrew and stay awhile.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Rhine River, by ferry and train

Traveling the Rhine River, Germany by Ferry Boat - The Tipsy Terrier Pub Blog

The Rhine River is a beautiful waterway accessible by land or water.  The first time I visited Germany and the Rhine River valley I traveled with my parents and brother after a semester abroad in Bath, England. We flew to Frankfurt, rented a car and only had our first nights accommodation reserved. We drove along the Rhine and Mosel picking castles we would like to visit based on tours and amenities offered. We explored the Black Forest,  Romantic Mile, King Ludwig's castles and Trier during our weeks stay.  So when my husband and I decided to do a three week beer tour of Europe I knew that I had plenty of places that I wanted to return to but wanted to only drive when absolutely necessary - plenty of imbibing involved.
Post card of the Rhine River Valley The Tipsy Terrier Pub Blog

We flew Air Berlin from San Francisco to Dusseldorf direct and began our trip in Cologne.  We planned and reserved all of our hotels, booked flights and made rail reservations when required.  After studying timetables for river boats it was clear that it was much more efficient to travel from south to north (travel with the current of the river.) So we took the train the train to Mainz and decided to work our way north to the Mosel River.
Enjoy a glass of the local reisling or Rhine wine on a ferry boat - The Tipsy Terrier Pub blog
We grabbed a quick breakfast at the hotel and took a taxi to the ferry launch and boarded the first boat of the day at 845. Eurorail passes do work on the ferry so you can take a combination of rail and boats depending on where you want to go. We grabbed a table inside and had room to keep our luggage next to us.  The ferry had a snack bar, a very informative audio guide in German and  English, and and upper level with outdoor seating.   By 930 we were enjoying the local Riesling and soaking up the gorgeous views.

Eagle Creek luggage - a rolling bag that converts into a back pack - The TIpsy Terrier Blog posta place to leave your luggage in Bacharach - The Tipsy Terrier Pub blog

Our first stop of the day was the town of Bacharach.  We were hoping to leave our luggage at locker room or ticket office at the dock but there was not one here.  We rolled our bags over the cobble stones to the tourist office and they let us leave them there.  Our destination was Burg Stahleck which is also a hostel which offers reasonable accommodations to spend the night in a castle.  Our hope was for a tour but were not able to see much inside since we were not guests.  There is a snack bar and the view is amazing. 
hiking the Rhine in Germany - The Tipsy Terrier Pub Blog
 We saw quite a few people in Germany traveling and hiking with their pets.  This cute couple were hiking with a cute long haired dauchshund.  They took our photo and we snapped theirs!
hiking the Rhine in Germany - The Tipsy Terrier Pub Blog

We caught the next ferry north to the town of Oberwesel and more castles.  This time the dock did not have lockers and the tourist office was closed for lunch.  We took that as a sign and decided it was time for us to find a bite to eat as well.
a historic tavern in Oberwesel - The Tipsy Terrier Pub blog
We found this cute half timbered tavern in town and it was on the base of the hiking trail up to the castle.  The menu was full of hearty meals, homemade bread and local wine.  Luckily they allowed us to keep our luggage in their supply room while we explored the town.
a historic tavern in Oberwesel - The Tipsy Terrier Pub blog
 We set up the hill with a full stomach and relieved that we were not hiking with our bags on our backs. The hike is steep but most of the trail is covered in stone.  There are steps in the steepest sections and there are plenty of signs with distance indicators.
The view from mid hike up to castle Schloss Shoenburg -The Tipsy Terrier Blog post
This section of the Rhine River Valley (Upper Middle Rhine Valley) is a World Heritage Site for a 65 km stretch from Bingen to Koblenz.  The Rhine River has been used since prehistoric times for commerce and means of transportation.  There are over 60 small towns today with approximately 40 castles along this portion of the Rhine.  Many battles were fought over land, how tolls were collected by passing boats and I am sure over many duchesses too.
A castle hotel on the Rhine - The Tipsy Terrier Blog

 Schloss Schonburg is a beautiful castle that has been converted into a hotel that also offers tours.  My family and I did just that on our first trip to Germany.  I stayed in a small room that was cantilevered over the courtyard while my parents and brother stayed in the guard house. This time we stopped in for some chocolate cake and coffee and a tour of the grounds.  I love the mix of architectural styles and materials - just like a fairytale.

a castle hotel on the Rhine - The Tipsy Terrier Pub bloga castle hotel on the Rhine - The Tipsy Terrier Pub blog
Back down the hill we went to the tavern for our bags and then off to the dock.  We headed north towards St. Goar where we had reservations at Rheinfels castle for the night.  This portion of the river is quite dangerous because of a deep S curve through the valley.  Legend had it that many ships crashed into Lorelei Rock because of the enchanting song of a siren or mermaid.  It is a very difficult area to navigate, especially in the fog. Now there is a lighting system that alerts boats of other vessels in the curve.
can you hear the sirens cry? - The Tipsy Terrier Pub blog

How to travel the Rhine by ferry - The Tipsy Terrier Pub blog

I will cover St. Goar and Rheinfels Castle on my travel post next week.  Traveling by boat allowed us to take in both sides of the valley compared to riding the train on just one bank.  It took a little maneuvering but definitely worth it.



Our other stops in Germany: Cologne, Burg RheinfelsMarksburg Castle, Burg Eltz, Heidleberg

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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Thirsty Thursday: Super Easy Rum Punch

 We like to have a signature drink at our Tipsy Terrier Pub parties in addition to draft beer, sangria, soft drinks etc.  I made a version of this for our Woodstock Party and called it Purple Haze because it had Grape and Hawaiian Punch Kool Aid.  For our Halloween party this weekend I will be making a Vampire Punch using Cherry Kool Aid.

Easiest Party Punch

This recipe is made specifically for a 3 gallon beverage dispenser

1.75 liter bottle of rum (Kirkland spiced rum was around $16 and tasted like Captain Morgans)
6 liters of Sprite, chilled if you have the fridge space
3 packets of unsweetened Kool Aid - choose your favorite flavor
sugar optional

1. Add ice to the base if there is a reservoir.  If not, no problem.  I put an ice bucket next to the punch so guest can add ice to their cup - and the punch does not get watered down.
2. Pour in bottle of rum.
3. Add packets of Kool Aid
4. Pour in all the Sprite.
5. Stir and taste if you need sugar.

I made two batches of this for the last party, one with added sugar one with none.  People seemed to like it better without sugar but that could be because it was the second batch and people were feeling pretty groovy : )  This is so simple because there is no measuring and easy to make a second one mid party.

Flower power hippies - tipsyterrier.blogspot.com



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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Koln (Cologne) , Germany

Cologne or Koln, Germany.  This amazing cathedral is steps from the train station and is definitely worth a visit if you are in Germany or a neighboring country.

Gothic German Cathedral - tipsyterrier.blogspot.com
The Cathedral in Cologne is a World Heritage Site, the largest Gothic church in Northern Europe and has the second tallest spires in the entire world.  This church is massive which also makes it difficult to photograph, but fun trying  I am at least a block away in the next picture and barely fit the entire facade in the frame. 
Gothic German Cathedral - tipsyterrier.blogspot.com

There are 509 spiraling stone steps the viewing platform that provide a stunning view of the Rhine.  The climb is a steep one but the price isn't - only two and a half euros for admission.  It is free to enter the main portion of the church.

German Gothic Cathedral view - tipsyterrier.blogspot.com

The cathedral is opposing on the outside but the inside is quite the opposite.   Many Gothic churches and cathedrals feel dark and foreboding, especially if the right organ music is playing (I was a little frightened when I visited Notre Dame.)  Cologne was full of light streaming through the colorful stained glass windows that day.  The beams of light danced upon the stone in the nave which I did my best the capture.

German Gothic - tipsyterrier.blogspot.com
German Gothic - tipsyterrier.blogspot.com
Gothic Stained Glass - tipsyterrier.blogspot.com

Shrine of the Three Kings, which is said to hold the remains of the Three Wise Men is what the Cathedral was built around.  Cologne is a stop for many pilgrims so that they my see the gold ornate sarcophagus studded with jewels.

German Gothic Cathedral - tipsyterrier.blogspot.com

This was the first day of our Beer Fest in Germany/Austria/Belgium/Netherlands.  We flew overnight from San Francisco to Dusseldorf and easily caught the train at the airport to Cologne.  We spent a few hours touring the church, climbing the spire and surrounding neighborhood before continuing on to Mainz where we began our tour of the Rhine. 

photo credit

Gnome Gothic Cathedral - tipsyterrier.blogspot.com
Cedric tagged along for this trip!

Our other stops in Germany: Burg RheinfelsRhine River by ferry and train , Marksburg Castle, Burg Eltz, Heidleberg,   Rothenburg odT Linderhof Palace



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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Thirsty Thursdays: Bourbon Sour

Yesterday I was looking for an autumnal cocktail that included bourbon and apple cider to try.  My first thoughts were of a toasty drink in a mug that would be great on a brisk evening.  It is 80 degrees here in sunny California so we were toasty enough.  I settled on a Southern classic - a Bourbon Sour!

a drink for a warm fall or Kentucky Derby Day - tipsyterrier.blogspot.com

We seem to be on a bourbon Kick, and as you can see we have drank our way through the Woodford Reserve and are now on to Jim Beam.  I would suggest Jim Beam for this recipe since this is a mixed drink and you would lose all the flavor of the oak aging with the other ingredients.

Bourbon Sour Ingredients - tipsyterrier.blogspot.com

Bourbon Sour

3/4 cup of bourbon
3/4 cup apple cider
1/2 cup of orange juice
1/4 cup of sugar
an apple for garnish
crushed ice

1. Combine the firs 4 ingredients and stir until all the sugar is dissolved.  I suggest a clear container so you can see the bottom.
2. Pour over crushed ice and garnish with thinly sliced apples.


Wire Fox Terrier and a Bourbon Sour, Cheers! - tipsyterrier.blogspot.com
    Belle would love a taste.



Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Travel Tuesdays - Portofino, Italy

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When people ask "What's your favorite City?" it is usually difficult to pick just one.  I try to narrow it down to favorite of a trip, or a top five list.  Portofino, Italy was my favorite destination on our Honeymoon and is a place that I inspire to retire to (I hope to be on House Hunters International one day.)

View from Castello Brown, Portofino, Italy - tipsyterrier.blogspot.com

Portofino is a small fishing village in the province of Genoa on the Northern Italian Riviera that many have not heard of in the States.  Many know of the Cinque Terra, which is 75kms to the south that gets a ton of attention after Rick Steves wrote about it.  Portofino is not a rustic village, it is quite posh and is a spot that celebrities from Sophia Loren to Beyonce visit.  This is a town to visit to relax, explore, and soak up the culture.

Portofino is reachable by car, train, bus and boat - we arrived from Milan via train to Santa Margherita Ligure Train Station and took a cab to our hotel -but vou can also catch a bus.   Once at your hotel there are foot paths that lead to the piazza where you can catch a ferry to neighboring villages or towns.  I can't remember the parking situation, but there is not a lot of space for parking lots in this coastal town.

best hotel in Portofino - tipsyterrier.blogspot.com

There are not many choices where to stay in Portofino if you are looking to sleep with in the village.  We stayed at the Hotel Piccolo and absolutely loved it!  I was not sure if the photos of the hotel were real or Photoshopped....they were real alright....heaven!  Our room had a two sets of french doors that opened up onto the balcony that over looked the private cove and beach.  A standard European breakfast spread of meats, cheeses, fruit, yogurt, pastries, juice, and the best coffee was provided - what's not to love!

Amazing view from Hotel Piccolo, Portofino - tipsyterrier.blogspot.com
Amazing view from our room.  *Note the road in and out of town does run in front of the hotel.  During the day there is some noise but it did not disturb our sleep.  We found it entertaining to sit and watch the sunset and all the fancy cars coming in and out of town.

If you want to be up in the clouds Hotel Splendido might be the choice for you.  It was way out of our price range but we had a wonderful dinner there.  There is a shuttle that will pick you up in the piazza or right outside Hotel Piccolo that takes you up and down the hill.

Yacht in Portofino, Italy - tipsyterrier.blogspot.com

We enjoyed taking the walk paths and marveling the view at every turn.  On our first full day we walked into town and then up to Castello Brown that overlooks the harbor.  Pictures do not do this view justice!  Portofino sits on a rocky hook that reaches out into the Tigullian Gulf so there is water on three sides of the castle.  I have a panoramic photo of this view in my office at work - it almost beats not having an actual window.  On the way down from the Castello we stopped for a glass of Sangria.

Enjoying a sangria in Portofino, Italy - tipsyterrier.blogspot.com
That night we ate at the Ristorante Delphino, in the piazza, while be serenaded  by a charming man with a guitar.

Portofino Harbor at night, magic - tipsyterrier.blogspot.com

The next day we walked into town and caught a ferry going north to see a monastery that is only reachable by boat. 

a hidden gem on the Italian Riviera,  - tipsyterrier.blogspot.com

San Fruttoso was established in the year 259 by monks that were exiled.  After touring the structures you can pay a guy to take you out in a row boat to catch a glimpse of the Cristo.  Think of the statue looking over Rio de Janeiro underwater.  You can also scuba dive for a closer look but we were fine looking through the scope. 

the trip to see the Cristo, Italy - tipsyterrier.blogspot.com

We caught another ferry north to the next town of Camogli.  There is a boardwalk with shops, restaurants and places to rent lounge chairs on the beach.  After lunch we lounged on the beach before taking a bus back to Portofino.

a coastal town on the Italian Riviera - tipsyterrier.blogspot.com

The next day, which was our last, we took the footpaths south to Paraggi, a little beach town before catching the train to Pisa.

lovely beach walking distance from Portofino, Italy - tipsyterrier.blogspot.com

a view from Castello Brown of the harbor of Portofino - tipsyterrier.blogspot.com

I love Portfino because the pace is slower than the big three (Venice, Florence, and Rome), it does not have a crazy amount of steps like Positano, and it feels like time stays still there.  My heart longs to go back.  Maybe in a few years for our 10th anniversary.



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I have been inspired to work on my blog again and that is mainly do to Bonnie Rose's blog, The Compass Rose Travel Tuesday!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Halloween Count Down...

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All Hallows Eve is the biggest holiday and party at The Tipsy Terrier Pub.  We go all out and try to add new spooky scenes for our guests to experience.  Today is the day that we take down all of our decor and props down from multiple attics (house and pub) and make sure that everything is in working order.  Last year we did this at the end of September because we took a vacation to Savannah and Charleston in early October.  This year we are feeling like slackers.

I was looking at pictures from Halloweens past and found that I have not done a good job of documenting our house of horrors.  Most pics are of the awesome costumes that our guests wear.  I put together slide shows for each party which include pics from past parties and fun pictures that support the theme.  This year I hope to capture more of the little details to share with you!

Here are a few from the past four years

In the graveyard
Snow White cooking pizza
Shrunken heads in apple cider. Trader Joes apple cider, alcohol on the side and apple heads using 
Martha's tutorial
Living room
Dead Mouse and Minnie Mouse (blurry pic but this one shows the leds the best)
Jack Skeleton, graveyard bartender

I hope that this inspired you for your own Halloween party or if you are local to come to ours!