LAST WEEK the almond blossoms came out.
Might not seem like a big deal, but when the Almond blossoms blume, people come out of the woodwork. Every year the appearance of the Mandelblüten signal the arrival of Spring, and the tiny town of Gimmeldingen (a district of Neustadt) host the season's first wine festival.
Gimmeldingen is a district of - from what I can tell - about 15 people, with about 50 square meters of paved space. Nonetheless, last weekend we learned that when the Mandelblütenfest is in town, every single citizen of Rheinland Pfalz descends on the place to celebrate the Spring season and toss back a few glasses of wine. Gimmeldingen is, for it's part, a quaint and picturesque town in a sea of grape vines.
(As a side note, Gimmeldingen is fun to say. So fun, in fact, that Melissa has replaced the word 'watchamacallit' with'Gimmeldingen' in her vernacular, is in 'Hey can you reach over and grab that, uh, Gimmeldingen for me? Yeah, spoon. That's what I meant. '
We drove around looking for a parking space for 20 minutes, walked to the town for another 20, then got lost in the crowd. When we found ourselves stuck in a throng of people crammed into the town square bobbing up and down to the rhythm of a Foreigner cover band (I ask you how - after 30 years - can it still 'feel like the first time?') we just about bailed out, but managed to escape to an ice cream stand and found some friends to enjoy a glass of Riesling with.
As a wine fest alone, the Mandelbütenfest is maybe not so impressive....except that this particular wine fest it is the kickoff of the wine festivals....meaning that now, and virtually for every weekend here on out, somewhere up and down the Weinstrasse one can find a wine festival in action.
And it's about time, because its been at *least* a few weeks since we dried out from last years fests.