PhilM
Location: Salinas, CA
Age: 40
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"Only two things are infinite--the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." Albert Einstein

"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." Theodore Roosevelt

"I'm not as think as you confused I am." Someone, somewhere, at some time

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Saturday, June 02, 2007
Day 5

Okay, I'm feeling a touch better today . . . good news was that it's not bronchitis. Bad news is that both ears are infected & my sinuses are severely infected. But, drugs are doing their job. So, back to the story.

Our last full day in France, we decided to make it a "Dumbach-la-Ville Day". One of the wineries my cousins own operates a small tour tram that gives a ride through the village once or twice a week. So, we tagged along on that. Of course, the tour was conducted in German, so much was lost in the translation. But once again my brother's limited German along with the kindness of some English speaking others helped out. As a side note, it is something I found rather pleasing & interesting is that more than once, complete strangers would see that we were having trouble with translations or finding things and offer assistance--it's not a common occurrence here in the States, such kindness.

Dumbach is a lovely little village, with many of the buildings dating back to the 17th century. And of course, it's surrounded by the beautiful green of the vineyards. After the tram, we got a personal tour of one of the wineries, including watching part of the bottling process. Then we spent some time at the other winery (run by the other generation of cousins) which included, surprisingly, the coolest experience of the trip. Now, I think I mentioned before that I'm not much of a wine drinker. And I'm even less of a wine taster, having never been to a tasting. But, getting to sample some Gewurztraminer straight out of the barrel, before it's ever seen the inside of a bottle . . . well, that was just fun. It's something that I bet most experienced wine tasters never get to do.

Dambach from Chateau du Bernstein towerAfterwards, we got a short foot tour of some parts of the village, including the house where my Great Grandmother lived (still owned by the family, though not currently occupied). My brother and I then opted to take a rather tiring trek up into the hills to visit the ruins overlooking the town. It took us about an hour to make the hike up to the Chateau de Bernstein. Every village around the area seemed to have similar ruins in the hills above, so the natural conclusion we had is that these were the remains of the local feudal lords' homes. Anyhow, Bernstein is decently maintained & preserved, and includes a staircase to the top of the higher tower. From here, you get a fabulous view of the town & entire valley . . . one which is not done justice by the picture here.

We finished up the day having dinner with the cousins again. As before, the food was wonderful, and the wine flowed freely. I think I staggered fairly well on the walk back to where we were staying. Despite my protests, my cousin's husband would not let my wine glass get below half full lol. Truly, I think I've fallen in love with Dumbach, and half want to move there . . . even if it means having to pick grapes for a living.

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