In the morning we woke up and took some leftover ramen down a short hike to the riverbank. We climbed out on rocks into the river and sat down and ate breakfast, while enjoying the views of the mountains and trees. After taking some more photos, we headed on towards Leavenworth, which is an amazing town on the East side of the Cascade mountains near central Washington. The entire town is themed like a Bavarian villiage, and since 1. I miss Europe, and 2. my posslq is of Bavarian heritage, I was SUPER looking forward to this part of the journey.
The area around Leavenworth is as close to what I would imagine heaven to be like.
The area still has a good humidity so everything is green and fresh, and nestled in a valley so there are gorgeous views of the mountains. Also, it’s surrounded with orchards and farms, so the landscape wound up looking like Italy and parts of Southern Germany.
Every 1000 feet it seemed there was a fruit stand or farm stand selling fresh local produce. The town itself was charming with themed architecture, mural paintings and tons and tons of petunias, geraniums & begonias everywhere. The first thing to strike us was the beautiful view, and the second was the aroma of the flowers and fresh air.
We were staying at the Bavarian Lodge, which is a Bavarian-themed lodge (duh) and the best rated hotel in town. Since it was officially after labor day and the ‘off season’ there weren’t many people in town so we had a lot of peace and quiet. We booked one of the king rooms with a balcony & fireplace, as it had the best view of the town and the mountains. We checked in early so that we could drop off our stuff and shower before heading out on the town, but after arriving, we didn’t want to leave.
The décor was absolutely perfect and transported us immediately to Europe. Warm browns and rust colors brought a homeyness to everything, and a cute little bear greeted us perched atop a pillow on the bed. The balcony was stuffed full of more flowers, and when we opened the door a light breeze danced down from the mountains and across the flowers into the room, filling it with the most amazing fragrance.
After taking showers – which at this point felt like we had literally just died and gone to the great big shower in the sky – we headed out on the town.
Our first stop was Cured which is a little shop that cures their own meats including prosciutto, salamis, snack sticks, sausages, and other delicacies. Leave it to my guido butt to find the only charcuterie in Leavenworth. We snacked on samples and then bought some dried sausage, prosciutto, cheese and artisan crackers for later.
The rest of the afternoon we explored a variety of shops and bought some items. We also got a very disappointing pretzel, which was overly salty and slightly stale. It was nothing like the pretzels I got in Europe, and not even as good as Auntie Annes, so I was kind of miffed about that, but other than that everything we sampled was simply amazing. We also stopped at Schocolate, which is a place to get handmade Belgian style chocolates. After sampling about 6 kinds of truffles & some sauces, we spent quite a bit of dough here, which was well worth it. These chocolates are simply amazing. I’m a bit of a chocolate lover, and have had chocolates from all over the world, including Switzerland, and small handcrafted chocolatier specialties. I’m not saying these are the best chocolates in the world, but they are the best chocolates I’ve ever had, which is pretty significant. We are going to make a point of seeing if we can ship some to us when we get home because what we bought didn’t last long.
We finished our day off with dinner at Andreas Keller restaurant, which is a traditional and somewhat kitchy restaurant, but we had a hankering for schnitzel and everywhere we’ve gone in the US to get it has always been inferior to Europe. As it stands now the best schnitzel I ever had was in Groestchermer, The Netherlands, and the second best is – according to my posslq – the schnitzel I make.
Well, I have to say – Andreas Keller did not disappoint. The schnitzel came in at 3rd best ever, which is saying something. Also, the mushroom sauce was pretty good although still paled in comparison next to Groetschermer’s. We also tried the Schwiensaxe, which was a giant rustic pork shank with crispy skin and fat, and some red cabbage, kraut & potatoes on the side.
We couldn’t finish even half of our meals, so we packed the rest and head out. At night we spent some time at the pub at the hotel, enjoyed the pool and jacuzzi, and had a good night’s rest in the ridiculously comfy room.
In the morning we enjoyed their breakfast buffet which was way classier than you think of when you think ‘buffet’. They had some egg omelet that was more of a quiche than an omelet, honey greek yogurt, sausages, make-your-own Belgian waffles, and an assortment of granolas, cereals, bagels, toasts, etc.
After spending some more time relaxing at the lodge, we went back to town for some last minute shopping, and then finally, sadly, headed out of Leavenworth and towards our next stop – Glacier National Park!