E before the L in Bernkastel

Festival season remains full swing here in Germany. I hope that by now you’ve all had a chance to watch my Manderscheid Burgenfest video blog, and if you haven’t, what are you waiting for? Go on. There’s time now. We’ve moved right along in the week since and are unwinding after an exciting weekend of Lego construction, Oklahoma football, and a quick trip to the Bernkastel-Kues Wine Festival.

It’s grape juice. I promise.

I wrote about Bernkastel last year, shortly after our arrival in Germany. I probably spelled it wrong back then, but now that I’m a seasoned ex-pat, I know better. Actually, that’s not true. I owe everything I am to Google, and it just occurred to me while writing this post that the e comes before the l. I should probably go fix those posts because it’s going to bother me in the meantime.

Before I do, I’ll tell you a little bit about this year’s wine festival. Bernkastel is bigger than Cochem and the atmosphere is very different from a Castle festival like Manderscheid. As the title suggests, wine is the primary focus of Bernkastel’s big get together. Specifically, the annual festival celebrates and exhibits wine grown in our region of Germany along the Mosel River. It’s still worth attending even if you are not a big wine fan. I’m not, so for me a festival like Bernkastel is more about the food. I may not like wine, but I love to eat.

Mustard Udder 

We chose to visit the festival when we thought it would be the least crowded. This allowed us the opportunity for a great parking space and spared us of what I recall from last year to be a pretty long walk. Walking isn’t so bad unless there are children involved. Their legs get tired. Your arms get tired. Everyone is miserable. If you have kids, I’m sure you understand. By going when it wasn’t crowded, we elected to miss the parade and the fireworks, but for us it was a fair trade. Perhaps we’ll prioritize differently next year when the kids are a little older.

The weather was a perfect 60 degrees on Friday. The sun shined intermittently through the clouds, and we hit rain on our forty-five minute drive back to the house. At the festival, we ate brats with the kids, and they drank traubensaft (grape juice) out of a fancy wine glass. The German man next to us tapped his glass with Talon’s and said, “Prost!” He really got a kick out of that.


I would’ve been content with the kids’ grape juice (it was really good), but since it was Wine Fest, I figured I should at least meet Bernkastel in the middle. I grabbed a glass of federweisser, which is the stage between grape juice and wine. The alcohol content is very low, and it has a sweet, crisp taste. I had never heard of it until I moved to Germany! To the best of my knowledge, it’s only available seasonally, so if you want to try it, you’ll have to visit me in September or October. Go on. Book those tickets!

Sis and her brat

I’m sure that there are people who would say that I did Bernkastel all wrong by choosing crepes with Nutella over Cabernet and Brats over bottles, but I’m very happy for the experience we had and the symbolism of having lived in Germany long enough to visit this festival on two occasions. I hope to visit some additional festivals in the upcoming months, some for the first time and others because I enjoyed them so much last year. There are a few pumpkin festivals, and of course, the Oktoberfests too. I am also eagerly awaiting November and December for the Christmas Markets. We have another trip to Garmisch-Partenkirchen planned in November, and I’d like to head down to the Black Forest sometime soon too. There are definitely fun times ahead!

Thanks for reading!

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