Elias continues with jock soccer camp this weekend. He's still having fun, but we're learning how different soccer is in Germany compared to the US. None of that chipper YMCA it-isn't-whether-you-win-or-lose building-moral-fiber stuff here--it's all about the champs. Kudos to the few girls who manage to nurture their love for the game: of the 65 or so kids at the camp, 62 are boys.
After we dropped Elias off on Saturday, Stefan and I drove to Ihringen, on the southern end of the formerly volcanic Kaiserstuhl, and took the train around the mountain to Endingen. We then hiked the 17 km length of the mountain back to the car. The Kaiserstuhl offers a mix of forested peaks, grassy meadows, and terraced vineyards, along with a chapel on the Katherinenberg and a lookout tower on the Totenkopf (the highest point, 555m). A long portion of the trail had stone markers from 1772 and 1773, indicating the then-border between Austria and France.
After we picked Elias up, we drove over the Tuniberg to Merdingen for a wine and Zwiebelkuchen fest. Various clubs in town host food and drink stalls in the local vintners' courtyards. All the wine came from the Merdingen vintners' collective, and all the food was prepared by the clubs. We ended up buying an entire pan of Zwiebelkuchen--which in Baden means a very thin, crisp dough, with a sour-cream chopped-onion custard baked on top--in exchange for the men's chorus club making us a vegetarian one (hold the ham). Stefan asked if the chorus was going to sing and was told that after the wine had flowed long enough, everyone would be singing. Add to that the poems posted on the tent walls about how a good Zwiebelkuchen helps with the wind music, and you can imagine what things must be like by the time folks drag themselves home at 4 a.m. We were happy to have made it to Merdingen's fest, as the Merdinger Rot Spaetburgunder is our favorite so far.