Last Wednesday we jumped on the train from Worlitz and made our way to Steinhude am Meer to see my husband’s friend of 40+ years, Volker Stark. No relation to my family (as far as I know), but very cool that we share the same awesome last name. On a side note, stark is the German word for strong, so I see it everywhere here on billboards, commercials, etc. Anyway we got to Steinhude at around 5:00pm and head straight to Volker’s house. The town of Steinhude am Meer is very different from Worlitz. While Worlitz looks very institutional from the outside, Steinhude is the exact opposite, beautiful, quaint houses with gorgeous gardens that surround the largest lake in Germany.
Our first night we went to the local Greek Restaurant, Samos, which is literally at the end of the driveway from Volker’s house. We finally got to meet Volker’s wife, Sumi, for the first time, we were starving at that point and could hardly wait to stuff our faces with some Greek food. It started out with a toast of Ouzo and then some warm feta cheese and dolmas. I finished off with a main course of a delicious tuna salad.
The next morning we went to have a special breakfast at Kapelle & Kapelle. The breakfast itself was a typical German breakfast but the special part came afterwards when we had a presentation about chocolate. Steinhude was the first city that chocolate was made in the country of Germany. After the presentation we got to make our own chocolate bar to take home with us.
Next we headed of to the Bueckeburg Schloss (Castle). I’ve asked to go to a castle everytime we go to Germany and I finally got to go to one! We couldn’t take pictures of the inside but it was pretty cool and made me want to dress in a beautiful gown and spend the day pretending to be German royalty. The chapel in the castle was truly the most spectacular part, all of the ceilings and the walls were painted with pictures, not one space was left touched. Unfortunately our tour guide spoke only German so thankfully it was just hour tour or it would have gotten a little boring.
After the castle tour we made a quick stop at the Kaiser Wilhelm Monument in Porta Westfalica. There are many beautiful trails to hike around the area but because of our company (Volker is not much of a hiker) and the weather was not good we just took the quick trail to the monument. There was a lot of construction because they are building a cafe at the monument for visitors to enjoy food and drink while they take in the view. It should be pretty amazing when the construction is finished.
We ended our day in the city of Minden with a quick walk through the shopping area and headed to a Mexican restaurant for something to eat. I really wasn’t expecting much, because what do Germans know about Mexican food? However, the Margaritas where actually on point and tasted just like at home. But the chips, salsa and guacamole left a little to be desired, but it didn’t stop me from wolfing down a basket of chips.
The next day we woke up to nothing but rain. Mike and I had planned to take a long run around the lake in Steinhude but it was pretty cold and we didn’t bring the correct running clothes for that kind of weather. Instead we enjoyed sleeping in really late, which is something I have not done in a long time. Then we decide to take a car ride to the city of Hanover. But first we stopped at a seasonal Fall market with a huge display of pumpkins and squash in Steinhude. We picked up some Kobucha squash for dinner because I really wanted to introduce our hosts to some healthier food choices. What a gorgeous display! I have never seen so many choices of pumpkin and squash in my life. I wish I had the same choices available at home, I would try them all.
Once we got to Hanover we went to the Food Hall and had some traditional German food for lunch. A Bratwurst and Sauerkraut for Mike and I, bratwurst, roasted potatoes and potato salad for Sumi, and rouladen and kloesse for Volker.
We stopped at a few of the stands to buy some mushrooms and fresh cod. I planned to make a healthy dinner for everyone because I needed a break from all of the heavy food we had been eating, Sumi was very interested in how I cook and wanted me to make a salad again, she really enjoyed the one I had made the day before. When Volker cooks fish it is always coated in flour and fried in oil, which is really not good for him. So I wanted to introduce them to cooking fish in a foil packet. I wrapped the fish and put it in the oven and then I sautéed the fresh mushrooms in a little butter and olive oil with shallots and garlic. Once the mushrooms were mostly cooked I added some German Kabinett white wine and pepitas and served it on top of the fish. I wish I would have remembered to take a picture because it looked beautiful and was super delicious.
Our final day in Steinhude we wanted to relax and stay away from the car. So instead we walked around the lake a little before it started to rain to hard. Then later Mike and I snuck over to the Fischtival for a little snack, wine and some alone time. The next day was back on the train to Berlin for the remainder of our time in Germany.