Travel 2009 – Hockenheim, Zeltingen-Rachtig, Days 3 and 4

Saturday, 6th/Sunday, 7th June 2009 – Hockenheim, Zeltingen-Rachtig, Days 3 and 4

Saturday was a busyish day, with qualifying and one race, though it could have been worse. The weather wasn’t too good, but again that was pretty immaterial really. It had been an odd sort of race, with quite a few unexpected incidents, including Riki Christodoulou ending up parked on top of Robert Wickens, possibly the world’s most unlucky Canadian (certainly the world’s most unlucky Canadian racing driver), and the B class lead pair wiping each other out and handing Litespeed F3 and Victor Correa an unlikely class victory on the grounds that he was the only one left! At the end of the afternoon we sat on the reports, based on the fact that just about every team manager in the series was outside the Clerk of the Course’s office when we headed back to the hotel to shower and change. It looked as if there wouldn’t be a result till morning (pretty much as there hadn’t been from Friday’s qualifying either).

On that note we headed back to Ketsch again, this time to find the Gasthaus Adler, where we were booked to eat at the Restaurant Stecker. This time we partly went for the asparagus menu – but only for starters. I had the wonderful asparagus with lobster, in a rich cream sauce, and very good it was too:

Lynne had the asparagus with tomatoes, basil and olive oil, which was a lot lighter.

To be honest, after that starter, I probably didn’t really need a main course, but I had one anyway, in the shape of half of the rabbit with noodles and a rich sauce…

And half of the duck with potato pancakes, both of which were excellent.

The wines weren’t bad either!

And after that, dessert was fruit and ice cream:

And then we again headed back to the hotel for one last night.

Sunday’s race was bizarre, the chaos starting well before the actual lights went out when the cars set out on their exploratory laps, rather than lap (weather conditions had changed since qualifying which means the drivers are entitled to two laps instead of one before they line up on the grid). Unfortunately the ADAC grid girls were already in place…

 

Queue lots of excited shouting, 20 yellow clad high-heeled models diving for cover, and one poor sod desperately trying to get the Safety Car out of the way before 20 angry bees became 20 racing drivers going full pelt over the grid on their way to start their second lap. Once it was clear that everyone was safe, it was quite funny really! Anyway, once that was all over, and the race was run, we gathered all the information we needed, settled our hotel bill, and headed north, aiming for the Mosel (Moselle) valley and a brief but much needed break.

The weather en route was horrible, with heaving downpours, gusty winds, and zero visibility interspersed by very short sunny outbreaks. We had booked into an offshoot of the Hotel Zeltinger Hof.

In fact we were staying in a building we already knew, the Ratsschaenke.

We’d originally stayed in Zeltingen-Rachtig 25 years ago on a holiday in the area with Bob, and my parents, and had a wonderful time wandering from vineyard to vineyard, going to wine fairs and generally meandering about. On that occasion we drank in the local bar which was what the Ratsschaenke was at the time, and were introduced to the lethal, sinus-clearing local version of grappa, otherwise known as Mosel Trester. It seemed a little odd to be going back to stay in the same building. It was converted to two hotel rooms and a penthouse suite in 2008, and is beautifully done. Unfortunately, the one thing they can’t fix is the local church, St. Stephanus, which kept us awake till midnight every night of that previous trip, and then made sure we were woken at 7.00 every morning… The bells! The bells! is really all you can say. Oh, and I wouldn’t recommend the place to anyone who isn’t sprightly enough. The medieval stairs to the second floor were tricky to negotiate, especially with a suitcase.

Once we’d unpacked, and finished our reports, the weather had improved substantially, so we took a stroll round the town, finding it to be much as we’d recalled, vine-covered, pretty, quiet, meandering along the banks of the river and surrounded by vineyards.

That evening we opted to dine in the hotel, the whole idea of going out anywhere seeming far too complicated and demanding. The hotel proved up to the job, serving a solid and well-cooked meal of home-cured and home-smoked hams, cut using their own historic Dutch ham slicing machine.

After that we moved on to venison in a cream sauce, with cranberries and quince slices.

The wine was again excellent, and we drank a local red as well as a superb local white, before surrendering and refusing dessert.

It just couldn’t be done. Instead we headed back for the Ratsschaenke and an early-ish bed.

 

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