Sunday, 1st September
The day dawned bright if soon overcast, but the morning's radio weather warned of a cooling heading in from the Atlantic, via Ireland. By the end of the day it had arrived for the loss of some 7C.
Decided on exodus around noon as the village square was taken over by an annual flea market, everything clogged and home-cooked Sunday lunch definitely not on the day's agenda. Schaeffer Jakobs Apfelland in Kelkheim, an apple farm just 12km distant, came highly recommended and Shepherd Jake's cider, a Frankfurter 'Green Sauce', Flammkuchen (Alsatian Tarte Flambee), pickled cheese and cucumbers 'cut the mustard', so to speak. The sudden invasion from one end of the orchard of a classroom-full of high-decibel, tractor-climbing schoolchildren, with equally vociferous parents, and a multinational gathering serenaded by a harmonium at the other saw us retreat a further 22km, direction Wiesbaden, to Hochheim.
Surrounded by vineyards, the old town of Hochheim am Main has some quaint quarters, timbered houses, cobbled streets, bijou restaurants, cafes and a pleasant atmosphere. It's fun just to keep turning into side-streets for the next surprise, but also well worth looking skywards as the old architecture can be very intricate and worthy of closer inspection. The magnificent old Baroque church of St Peter and St Paul, with its marvellous frescoes, stands on the very edge of the village overlooking the vineyard slopes, commanding panoramic views across the Main valley: it took just two years to build between 1730 and 1732 but about seventeen to restore over the turn of this last century. Does that say something about a decline in work ethic or would cheap flights have a bearing?
The Riesling grapes look pretty healthy and almost pearl-like, some even appearing translucent: don't know too much about it but there was a lot of hot sun since the middle of June........