In Death in the Afternoon, Ernest Hemingway wrote, “If a honeymoon or an elopement is not a success in Ronda, it would be as well to start for Paris and commence making your own friends.” Luckily, my double date with S’s parents in Ronda was a great success and none of us were compelled to escape to the City of Light in search of better companions. That being said, I’d still love to get back to Paris in the near future, but with my current fiancé. Anyway, what I mean to say is that Mr. Hemingway was right about the romance of Ronda. Perched on a plateau that’s split in two by the El Tajo Gorge and surrounded by vineyard-covered mountains, there are few things more beautiful than Ronda as it’s hit by the golden light of pre-sunset. Add to that the fear, awe, and adrenaline that comes from looking over the edge of the gorge, live music in the town’s many squares, delicious tapas, and deep red local wines, and you have one of the most beautiful and romantic places in the world.
Last weekend, S and I stepped into a post card in the French town of Ribeavillé, just a quick 2.5 hour drive from Mainz through the gorgeous French countryside. The views along the way and the town itself made every minute in the car well worth it. Stepping into Ribeauvillé is like stepping back in time into a sleepy French village of small half-timbered buildings where the only things to do are enjoy delicious French meals, sip the local wine varietals, smell the fresh air, and hike the Vosges to breathtaking views and century-old castles. This town is pure relaxation as it makes you forget that things like office buildings, bank accounts, and traffic jams exist. At the Wymann and Jean Sipp tasting rooms, we tried several Rieslings and Gewürztraminers — some dry, some sweet, and some really sweet. We also found some amazing Pinot Noir at the little shop for Domaine du Moulin de Dusenbach.
Just when I was really needing a girls’ day, some lovely new friends asked me to join them to tastes wines in a garage. Sure. Why not?
We drove through Oestrich, Germany: a quaint little town with small, traditional half-timbered shops and homes – the kind of romantic village that makes me think of Belle’s town in “Beauty and the Beast”…dork…- and then pulled up to the garage.