Our Silver Wedding adventure

Contrary to expectations we made it to 25 years and it warranted another micro-adventure – Brian Augers Oblivion Express featuring Alex Ligertwood in Bensheim.

‘Who’ and ‘where?’ you might be thinking….we like to think you’re vaguely curious.

The easy part is Bensheim, a small German town about 1 hour south of Frankfurt or 6 hours drive from Dunkirk. Bensheim lies in the Bergstrasse mountain region on the Rhine rift and forms part of the German Riviera because of its mild climate and early Spring.

Brain Auger, a british keyboard player, best known for supporting Julie Driscoll of Wheels on Fire fame. Alex Ligertwood was lead vocalist with Santana for many years and these days they perform some rather cool Jazz.

Tickets, and a hotel, were booked months ago in case there was a rush and we missed out. Last week, we asked Google about our trip, the distance was far too much to cover in a day so we booked a stop over in Maastricht.

Our last minute booking in Maastricht was a room in the tower of the 18th Century Kasteel De Hoogenwerth, overlooking the river Maas. Unlike Kim’s usual choices, which can be rather dubious, it was rather special.

Heavy rain had kept us company since leaving home at 04:30 but it eased enough for a walk into Maastricht to see the famous square where Andre Rieu hosts his annual concert.

Far more interesting was the visit to Maastricht’s bookshop, described as the most beautiful in the world by The Guardian. We’d have to agree and it was a shame we didn’t have long enough to do it justice but dinner was calling.

We ate in ‘Sofa’, a small restaurant next to the hotel. There are no pictures of food, we ate too quickly but Maastricht, the hotel and the restaurant are on our list for a return visit.

On Thursday, rather than a simple drive to Bensheim, a detour into Luxembourg for Luxembourgieose cremant was needed. Apparently, France and Luxembourg are the only two countries in the world that can make fizzy wine and call it cremant.

We stopped at Bernard Massard, overlooking the banks of the Mosel and for elevenses settled down to taste five fizzy wines and a Pinot Noir. The environment was smart, wines were scored according to taste and heroically, we managed to find room for a case in the car.

Rain continued to keep us company and it was a relief to arrive in Bensheim. Our accommodation went down a couple of notches.

The old town was quaint and cobbled. According to Wikipedia, it’s currently economically strong and that’s reflected in a broad range of shops and a town that’s well maintained. Before the war, it became the centre for the regional Nazi Party and suffered greatly as a consequence. Wandering round, its difficult to imagine the massacre of local Jews and Gestapo killings in the surrounding woodland.

The main event, the concert, was held in Musiktheatre Rex, a converted warehouse with a capacity of about 800. As is our way we arrived too late for a table and spent the evening propping up the bar, drinking beer. John was particularly keen to see Alex Ligertwood who was unable to appear as a result of a recent hernia operation, it appears that even singing can be hazardous. Kim was hoping to hear something she might recognise….. it was a long way to go and not be able to sing along!

We left Bensheim before 10 with a six hour journey ahead of us in the Beetle with dodgy windscreen wipers. It has poured with rain for 90% of our time away and the car has made its views known. As to the Bromptons? They’ve not left the back seat of the car.

2 thoughts on “Our Silver Wedding adventure”

  1. Many congratulations to the loved-up couple. What a fascinating insight to an area not really known to us. And, we agree re the cremant, but know only the Loire stuff. G got quite squiffy (yes, you heard right…G!!!!) many years ago after putting away many degustations of the stuff whilst discussing Eric Cantona!!


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