One of the more nerve-wracking (and ultimately rewarding) parts of doing the tour is that, instead of being put up in hotels or hostels across the country, the students and staff members are housed with host families for the duration of each stay. As such, we are given a much better idea of how German families live with a first hand experience. Plus the food is MUCH better and we get to have a fantastic sampling of the regional specialties.
Having a great host family adds so much to the over all experience, and I must say that I was a bit spoiled during the initial stop in Landau. I was housed with the tenor soloist, Zach, and we only have glowing things to say about the Kellers… quite frankly, all those other families have a lot to live up to!
Dr. Peter and Sybille Keller in front of their beautiful flowers
During our stay they were having solar panels installed on their roof, something that is quite common over here. Though I missed the opportunity to snap some pictures during the process, you can see the end results.
Just doing a little house tanning
The evenings were spent drinking schorle— the German equivalent to a white wine spritzer, suited best for hot, summer days as a refresher instead of merely drinking straight wine—on one of their many outdoor patios, looking out over their gardens and listening to one of the local classical music stations (see also: heaven). One night as we were talking we saw the international space station pass by (see again: heaven).
The smaller building to the left houses the indoor pool!
I also had quite a view from my upstairs room. For a couple of hours a day their automated lawnmower (think Roomba but with an appetite for grass instead of dust bunnies) would come out and roam the backyard.
Phi-Phi chowing down on some clippings
But that’s no all! If the serene beauty of their backyard and gardens don’t do it for ya, just take a seat by the coy pond and chill out.
I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention another fantastic member of the host family, Martha, who has been with the Kellers for many many years. She can cook a mean meal, which is evident in the white asparagus crepes and herbed hollandaise sauce we were fortunate enough to have for lunch one day.
Martha, Sybille and the boys / I most definitely had seconds
On our final evening we took a drive up through the hills and vineyards to a restaurant overlooking the wine country, where we dined on a smorgasbord of regional specialties. I can’t quite recall the names of the dishes, but I can recall how deliiiicious they were.
Meat and wine!!!
Needless to say, I was a tad despondent to leave such a fantastic homestay with the Kellers. They are the epitome of charming and gracious hosts, but such is the life of a touring Blue Laker.
Artist: Laura Mvula / Album: Sing to the Moon