Today’s adventures began with a trip through the sunlight Black Forest to Hausach to see a model train setup there. The building covered over 400 square meters and included 195 square meters of HO-Gleisen model train track and trains depicting the Black Forest Railway from Offenburg to Hausach. The detail was phenomenal with 60,000 trees, tunnels, villages, train stations, countryside, farms, hot air balloons, roads, vehicles (trucks, buses, autos), a truck accident with first responders and a life-support helicopter, people, hikers, campers, motorcyclists, sheep, cows, horses, dogs, clothes on the line, street lights, even a building fire with police and fire trucks. The train engines were of many types with all types of cars, passenger cars with people in them, dining cars, freight cars, coal cars, fast trains, slow trains. The setup included lighting that took you from morning through the night. The main difference between this model train and yesterday’s, besides the gauge of the track and size of trains, was the focus. Yesterday’s focused on the handmade nature of the trains themselves, today’s focused on the landscape, the mountains, the tunnels, the valleys, the forests, etc. It was easy to be mesmerized and easy to see how addictive model trains can be.
We pushed on to Alpirsbach, where we visited the former Benedictine monastery that was originally founded in the 11th century. We walked through the museum, the cloisters and the cloister garden. The cloister is built from the red sandstone we have seen all over this part of Germany. The monks from this monastery passed the art of beer making to the community and it has been kept alive by the Glauner family through their Alpirsbach Klosterbrau.
After lunch accompanied by an Alpirsbach brew, of course, we went on a tour of the Brewery Museum. Naturally, the tour was totally in German, but the exhibits were somewhat self-explanatory and to get in you had to take a guided tour offered only at 2:30.
The museum was opened in 1995, the 900th anniversary of the monastery. The first part of the tour showed us brewing in the 1890’s. The quality of beer depends on its malt, even as the barley grows in the field. This beer uses hops grown mainly in the Hallertau region around Ingolstadt, near Spalt, near Nurnberg. Alpirsbach claims to have water of exceptional quality and clarity – a soft spring water of absolute purity. We saw manual filling apparatus dating back to 1905, the origin of the red balls/pom poms on ladies bonnets, copper kettles, and a refrigerating machine built by Carl Linde in 1900. After the tour ended, we were treated to tastes of their beer and a film – in German. When the movie ended, the marketing/pr guy gave a short speech. Then he sat down with us and conversed with us for an hour in perfect American English.
By the time we left, the sun was setting and shadows were setting in. We headed back to the rental to pack and get ready for our road trip to Basel, and the train trip to Paris in the morning.
It being our last night we made the decision to visit a local restaurant in Zell, based on recommendations from our hosts, Elmar and Dominique we chose to go to Restaurant Bräukeller, owned by the Pfeiffer family. The menu was Mediterranean and traditional German regional recipes. Three of us selected Jagerschnitzel, with mushroom gravy and speatzel, Pat decided to try the John Dory with vegetables and potatoes. We had a young waitress that spoke excellent English and she had done a years foreign studies in Detroit and had just recently had a baby and moved back to Zell. The food was excellent, maybe the best since we got off the river boat.