On the RheinTerrassenWeg: A weekend in Nierstein

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Cake and love at Café Erni & Illi

How could we ring in our little time-out more beautifully than with a big piece of cake? On the historic Nierstein market square lies the charming Café Erni & Illi. Cordiality, coziness and genuine craftsmanship have tradition here. The café is named after the grandparents of the owner Claudia Baierl, whose story is heartwarming.

The grandparents met in Illi's pastry shop. For Ernie, it was love at first sight and he decided to order several pieces of cake at once, just so he wouldn't have to leave so soon. Illi, on the other hand, charged far too little for the large order to make sure that Erni would return as soon as possible. He did, and that sugary first encounter turned into 64 happy years of marriage.

The way to a man's heart is through his stomach, and the best decisions tend to come from the gut. So it was by chance that Claudia Baierl and her husband discovered this listed, 300-year-old half-timbered house at the end of 2013 and bought it within a week. With a lot of passion, attention to detail and a knack for timeless coziness, they renovated the building and converted it into a café.

The cakes are baked fresh every day using regional ingredients. Many recipes come from Illi's pastry shop. We try the Riesling cake - made with Nierstein wine, of course. To go with it, a coffee from the Rheinhessen roasting company Müller from neighboring Bodenheim and a glass of homemade elderflower juice spritzer. Delicious!

Just around the corner: Civitas wine bar and Restaurant Five

Go to Civitas wine bar are only a few meters away. The quaint half-timbered house from 1620 is also located on Nierstein's historic market square and offers cozy seating on the terrace as well as in the winding building itself, which nestles into the wall of St. Martin's Church. The walls are crooked, the floorboards creak, and that's exactly what makes the restaurant so charming. Besides its warm owners!

Two houses down - still on the market square - chef Laurent Vialle is cooking at the Wine Restaurant Five in Knebelsche Hof. Vialle looks back on an international career. Germany is the seventh country in which he lives and works. After 10 years in his native France, he moved to Luxembourg, Scotland, Portugal, Morocco and Poland. In 2022, he and his wife renovated the Knebelchen Hof and reopened it with their own signature.

Hospitality and coziness in Julianenhof

Full and satisfied, we fall into our beds after an eventful day in Nierstein. These are in the Julianenhof Winery and Guest House in the heart of the village. The Schmitt family started in 1991 with four guest rooms, and now there are ten. Each room bears the name of a Nierstein vineyard, and matching photos by a local photographer make you want to set off for the vineyards again right away.

At breakfast the next morning, we meet a group of cyclists who enthusiastically tell us about their bike tour through Rheinhessen. They appreciate the Julianenhof because their bikes are stored here under a roof, the batteries of their e-bikes can be charged and also common bicycle tools are always available.

Tip: The weekends at the Julianenhof guesthouse are always well booked, so it is advisable to plan in advance and to book in advance.

E-bike and railroad on the Amiche cycle path

Inspired by the enthusiastic stories in the breakfast room, we spontaneously decide to also go on a bike tour in the glorious weather. We are probably not the only ones with this idea, because all the e-bikes in Nierstein are on loan. Without further ado, we take the train to neighboring Bodenheim. With the rail connection along the RheinTerrassenWeg, this is quite uncomplicated. At MP2 bike store we are equipped for our tour and off we go!

We have chosen the Amiche cycle path decided. It first leads us next to the Rhine back to Nierstein. We cycle along the famous vineyard Roter Hang and remember the words of our host Beatrice Schmitt: "If you enjoy the view from the Roter Hang, then you know what Nierstein is." How true!

We continue on former railroad tracks into the "Rheinhessen hinterland". We follow the tracks of the "Amiche", a historic railroad that used to connect Alzey with Bodenheim. We drive through fields, past orchards and through wooded sections. The whole diversity of Rheinhessen unfolds on this circular route.

Refreshment and relaxation at Jordan's Untermühle

The Jordan's Untermühle in Köngernheim is about halfway along the route and is therefore perfect for a stop.

Flour was milled in the Selz Mill for many centuries. Today you can taste wines here, feast to your heart's content or, like us, drink a refreshing grape juice spritzer in the shady garden. Wonderfully relaxing! It's probably even more relaxing only in the hotel's own Herz & Rebe Spa, the first hotel spa in Rheinhessen, which provides pure well-being with sauna, massages and yoga.

We continued our e-bike tour and arrive back in Bodenheim after a total of about three hours, hand in our bikes and take the train back to Nierstein. Now we have earned a good, honest and typical Rheinhessen meal!

Socializing and stories in the Zwitscherstubb

Good, honest and typical are words that the Zwitscherstubb of the winery Strub in Nierstein describe wonderfully. Strub family opens - completely in the tradition of a Straußwirtschaft - the doors of her former, eerily cozy cow barn twice a year - for eight weeks in the spring and another eight weeks in the fall.

Landlord Rudolf Strub is a Rhine-Hessian bedrock. The story of how his Straußwirtschaft came about characterizes him quite well himself. The idea came about "on a whim. In 1996, it was said in Nierstein that more had to be done for the local gastronomy. Without further ado, he spontaneously offered himself at a community meeting - without any gastronomic experience and without having spoken to his wife beforehand.

From this impulse a real success story developed. The whole family is involved in the Zwitscherstubb and this family atmosphere is appreciated by the guests. The Strubs have seen the children of their regular customers grow up, their own offspring grew up with the Straußwirtschaft and in the meantime even the little grandchildren are immortalized on the menu with their own dishes. Meatloaf, aspic with fried potatoes and "Schnitzel Bolognese" stand for "simple", genuine Rhine-Hessian dishes that taste good. Accompanied by a glass of wine produced by son Sebastian, best German young winemaker of the year 2013. Perfect!

"Tweeting" is synonymous with drinking and talking. Here you are not anonymous, there is no conceit and you are immediately on a first-name basis. The decor reflects this experience. Family photos hang on the walls, birdcages from the ceiling. Rudolf Strub can tell an anecdote about each object and always has a saying up his sleeve. The Zwitscherstubb is an experience!

Tip: Note that table reservations are not possible in the Zwitscherstubb. "Come, see, win" is the motto of Rudolf Strub. The exact Opening hours you can find here.

Our weekend in Nierstein is drawing to a close. We have experienced quite a lot, but still far from everything that this wonderful place has to offer. We will be back, that much is certain! Now we're off on the RheinTerrassenWeg but first continue in the direction of Nackenheim.

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