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The Spanish Fly - Travels in Spain

The Spanish Fly is a nom de plume of Paul Whitelock who first visited Spain at the age of 20. Now more than 50 years later, he has been to most parts of the country, including nine of the 12 islands. He has owned property in Andalucia since 2001 and has lived in the region for the last 15 years. This blog is a Travelogue about some of the places he has visited.

Christmas Tour of Deutschland Part 5 – Talheim, Knittlingen, and Heilbronn, Baden-Württemberg
Monday, January 1, 2024 @ 5:06 AM

During the rest of the week before New Year, we had two meals out scheduled. One with our hosts in the local Italian ristorante, MELARANCIO, and one in a vegan restaurant for the non-meat-eating side of the family.


   Talheim, New Year’s Eve


 We also had visits planned to friends. Helen, a retired Hausarzt (GP) and Jürgen, a Steuerberater (tax adviser); and Judith, Rita’s former step-daughter.     


The best-laid plans …..

Most of what we had planned fell through, for a variety of reasons.

The meal at Ristorante Melarancio went ahead as planned. We had a great time, good Italian-style food, good company and a hefty bill (compared to Spain).

                                  Giuseppina Ruggiero, Owner Ristorante Melarancio, Talheim [Photos:]


Our planned visit to Helen and Jürgen was cancelled when Helen’s elderly father had a stroke and had to be admitted to hospital. Helen needed to take care of her mother who was home alone.

Rita visited Judith, prior to the latter being admitted to hospital for an operation to remove a tumour via endoscopy. A day later Judith was at home and in good spirits.

The planned visit to a vegan restaurant with Johannes, Rita’s eldest son, Juliane, his partner, and their nine-year-old daughter Lyre, also didn’t happen. Instead, we had a nice vegan lunch at their home in Knittlingen, coincidentally the twin-town of the villages Montejaque and Benaoján, near where we live in in Andalucia.

When we got back to Talheim we learned that Hans, former husband of Rita’s sister Birgid, had died that afternoon. He had been admitted to hospital the day before after suffering a stroke where they discovered he was in the final stages of leukemia. Nobody knew. He passed away peacefully in his sleep, aged 92. His daughter Silke was at his side.


Saturday, 30 December 2023


Rita, youngest grand-daughter Lotta, and I went shopping in Heilbronn, the biggest town/city round here. Lotta needed some sportswear for climbing (her main hobby), and I found a couple of bargains for me: a pullover and a fleece.

The fleece I got in WOOLWORTH. Remember them? They went bust in the UK in 2009. 

[On 26 November 2008, trading of shares in Woolworths Group was suspended. All 807 Woolworths stores closed between 27 December 2008 and 6 January 2009, resulting in 27,000 job losses. Woolworths Group plc entered administration on 27 January 2009, and it was officially dissolved on 13 October 2015. The collapse of Woolworths was a symbol of the credit crunch and financial turmoil in the UK at the end of 2008.]

I got myself a Hefeweizen and a Bratwurst for lunch, while the girls had something altogether healthier!



                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Photo: Instagram


The rest of Saturday was spent relaxing. In the evening we watched Amélie, a well-known French film starring Audrey Tautou.


Silvester (New Year’s Eve)

Another hanging-around sort of day, in anticipation of the end-of-year celebrations.

In the morning I trimmed my beard, got showered, donned my new pullover and listened to several podcasts on the BBC Sounds app. Highlights were an interview with Dame Esther Rantzen, aged 83 and in the final stage of cancer. So clear, lucid and interesting and pleased to be still alive at Christmas 2023.

I can only recommend this free app. You can download it on your mobile. BBC Sounds.


Dinner – raclette and good conversation - was followed by "Dinner for One" on the television. I've written about this German tradition previously, here.

As always, although we've seen it loads of times over the years, it's hilariously funny!

Then, shortly before midnight, it was fireworks and Sekt on the street outside. The Germans really take Neujahr seriously.

They sort of compete to put on the best display.




   Photo: Amazon


1 January 2024

We were late to bed, of course, but our flight home to Spain from Baden-Baden is not until the afternoon of New Year’s Day, 1 January, so alles gut!


© The Spanish Fly


Tags: 1 January, Amélie, Audrey Tautou, Baden-Baden, Baden-Württemberg, Benaoján, Bratwurst, Hefeweizen, Heilbronn, Knittlingen, Montejaque, Neujahr, New Year’s Day, New Year’s Eve, raclette, Ristorante Melarancio, Silvester, Talheim

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