Nathalie Ebikeme treats me like a queen in her Mingolshein, Germany home that she shares with her two sons, Pascal and Demsay.
Last night she noticed I was tired and, that I had a sore arm, so she set me down on her couch, put a hot lamp on my arm and served me French cheese and champagne. Could it get better than that?
Earlier that day we went to her parent’s home in Honau and had a delicious dinner cooked by Nathalie’s mother, Marliese. Now I know where Nathalie got her cooking skills.
Francis, Nathalie’s father, is a down-to-earth guy, and a delightful Frenchman.
Francis spent ten years in French speaking Moroccan country in the city of Marrakech, where his father taught school.
He goes back to Morocco on occasion, and sometimes with Nathalie. They are planing a trip there, soon.
I told Francis that with the striped sweater all he needed to complete the French look was a beret. With that suggestion, he left the room and came back with the beret. He grabbed a bottle of wine and French bread and there he was….the complete Frenchman.
Then he and Nathalie showed me the Moroccan room in their basement. It looked just as I remembered from my time in Morocco: place to sit with cushions and a filmy net hanging from the ceiling to the floor, where you would sit inside.
There were some original remembrances from Francis’ father’s life in Morocco hanging on the wall and on a long table that is used for a Moroccan dinner party.
On the way to Marlieses’ and Francis’ home, we drove through some charming villages, including Rheinbishcofsheim, where Nathalie went to school when she was aged ten to fifteen and Diersheim where she went to school at the age of seven to ten.
After eating a wonderful dinner, we left Marliese and Francis and headed to Strasbourg, France, which was only about an hour away to the border from Germany.
We looked around the town, saw the typical old architecture, including the oldest restaurant, Maison Kammereil, that dates back to the 1400’s. Well, I couldn’t just stand there and look at it, I needed to go inside.
So we went into the newer coffee shop section and both of us had a cappuccino. After than we walked up the winding wooden stairs that had a heavy wooden rail, to the third floor that was all set for formal dining.
I can never help to think what it must have been like in the 1400’s to climb those steps for a get together with friends in one of the rooms. Imagine women in long dresses and tall hats, men in long overcoats and probably tall hats, as well. This restaurant was for the ‘upper class.’ Well, Nathalie and I are ‘upper class’, we told ourselves.