This summer, while spending a few days hiking in the Mosel valley in Germany, we came across a restaurant that was special. Not so much because of the food (don’t get me wrong, the food was great!), but because of the atmosphere.
It is called “Alte Mühle” (= “old mill”), an old stone building completely covered with vines, with a beautiful patio filled with tables, chairs and countless plants. Inside you find a labyrinth of small cosy rooms, also filled with tables and chairs, with waitresses whizzing around, radiating speed but calmness at the same time. They give you the feeling you just made their day, in a quiet happy way without forced cheerfulness. The menu is really a book, not a mere list of food and drinks. It is filled with funny little comments, suggestions about what to do if it starts raining while you just settled in the patio, thoughts on the food they are offering… you can busy yourself for quite a while with it.
Later, after having enjoyed a delicious meal, we found our way into a little shop that is part of the restaurant. You can buy their own wine there but also a variety of gifts and toys. What caught my eye were cards, plaques and signs with sayings on them. Wise words, some big, some small, made of cardboard, made of metal, distributed all around the shop. I wandered around looking at them, thinking which one I would like to take home with me. For some reason I had decided I would take only one, and remember the rest.
One said: “I cleaned my house last week. Sorry you missed it.” – That would certainly fit on my front door.
One said: “Write your hurts in the sand. Carve your blessings in stone.” I do try to remember this one.
One said: “We do not make mistakes. We do variations.” This one now hangs in my kitchen.
Now I try to do new things from time to time, without being afraid I might fail. Not only in my kitchen.
And if you ever are in the Mosel valley and are looking for something special, try the restaurant: http://www.thomashoereth.de/restaurant-alte-muehle. I hope it will give you the same enchanted evening we enjoyed there.