Since we knew we would be in Germany for 3 years we tried to do and see as much as possible knowing we would never have this amount of leisure time in Europe again.
On Walts afternoons off we would tour the vineyards wine tasting along the Rhine, Mosel and Nahe Rivers. The art of wine tasting includes holding your glass up to the light to check the color and clarity, smelling the bouquet and taking a small sip to savor the essence of the wine. Between different wines a piece of bread is eaten to clean the palate. Wine tasting was not rushed. Walt soon developed an ability to select exceptional wines, his Commanding General had a standing order of one case each time we went.
On the weekends there frequently seemed to be a 'fest' at one of the villages, such as beerfests, winefests, Oktoberfest, cheesefests, we even went to a pretzelfest. All of the 'fests' had parades and the locals would be in costume. There would be much drinking and eating and sometimes fireworks.
If we didn't have any thing planned on a Sunday afternoon we would join the locals at one of the castles for kucken and kaffee. The Germans would walk up to the castle, the castles were always on top of the hill, some times the hike would be as far as 5 miles.
On a weekend we might drive to Luxemburg, a beautiful Grand Duchy, a large American military cemetery is located here. Awe inspiring! Or we might drive down the Romantic Road, 180 miles of some of the most beautiful 14 century medieval towns with walls and towers intact. My favorite of all was Rothenburg ob der Tauber. The story we were told was that during WWII the town was surrounded by US forces but they didnt fire upon it because the army
commanders mother thought Rothenburg was the most beautiful place in Germany. After a while the people surrendered and the town remained intact.
On a 3 day pass we would go to Paris or skiing in the Alps. Our favorite skiing areas were around Berchtesgarden and Garmish Partenkirchen. These resorts had many beautiful old hotels some had been built by the Nazis but most had been confiscated for the SS. After the war the US military confiscated them for our military. We could stay there for very little money and best of all they each had nurserys.
In Paris we would do all the tourist things including the Louvre to see the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo or the paintings of Monet, Renoir, Corot, Cezanne etc. We sometimes ate lunch or dinner, with all the lights of Paris below us at the restaurant atop the Eiffel Tower. Because of the weight the restaurant was later removed. Twenty five years later, I was helping our daughter, Lynne, move to New Orleans where she would attend Tulane Medical School, and discovered a New Orleans entrepeneur had purchased the restaurant. It is now open in the Garden District. Small world!
We tried to see and do as much as we could including the Parisian night life. On our first trip we went to the Folies Bergere but quite frankly after you have seen one bare breast you have seen them all. I thought it was boring and wanted to leave at the intermission but Walt couldn't relate to that and insisted he was not bored at all! I am sure all of the males reading this probably would have agreed with him.