Friday, July 9, 2010

Driving to Colmar from Reims

Our last morning in Reims was spent packing and getting ready for our four hour plus trip to Colmar on the boarder of Germany. It’s been about ten years since we visited the region of Alsace Loraine and we’re excited about seeing the sights in this quaint town again.

We decided to move up the car pickup time from 2 pm to 11 am; our clerk in the hotel called and made the arrangements for us. This has been a terrific hotel right in the center of things except for no air conditioning. Last night we went out into the garden to read for an hour before walking over to the Cathedral for some night photos again. It finally started to cool off about 11 pm; it doesn’t get dark until about 10:30 pm. Because of construction there are not nearly as many lights on the walls but it was still worth the walk.

We picked up the car after stopping for a close up view of the war memorial near the Roman ruins; it’s a smaller car called a Twingo by Renault, a blue two door with very little trunk….we’ll definitely have to take the luggage in each time. Fortunately we’re not doing a lot of tourist things between hotels so that shouldn’t be too much of a problem. We’re at each hotel two or three nights for the most part.

Our drive was great once we made it out of Reims…we got turned around several times and it took us over an hour to get back to the hotel for the luggage and then out of town to the A4 highway. There is so much construction on city streets right now that directional signs don’t mean a whole lot. In two more years this is going to be a wonderful city to visit but for now…..not easy to get around.

The weather is cloudy and as we drove east we encountered rain starting around Metz. Had an interesting experience at a highway rest stop toilet; it was the first “French” toilet that I’ve seen on this trip. (They’re not actually called that….I call them that because the first ones I saw were in France in 1992…since then I’ve encountered them around the world!) They are basically a hole in the floor with places to put your feet. This was a very new one, stainless steel, with an electric eye flush. Opps….I must have moved in the wrong direction and it started to flush while I was using it! It was clean water but I still didn’t like getting my shoes wet!

We skirted around Strasbourg and headed south towards Colmar and soon found our hotel for the next three days. We are out in the countryside north of Colmar. No air conditioning but the room is cool and facing to the south so we shouldn’t get direct sunshine. Hard to tell today as it is overcast…but the rain has stopped. They don’t have their wifi working so we will have to go over to the nearby McDonalds and use their service for the next three days.

We will spend our time here visiting the quaint little villages that surround Colmar. We’re looking forward to seeing them again.

We’ve just finished watching the end of the Tour de France Stage 6 that ended in Gueugnon today….yes…we do have a television…no remote but hey….for 33 Euros a night; not bad. And we do have our own bathroom in the room!

Mark Cavendish of HTC Columbia took first place again and the rest came in together in one large peleton. So Fabian Cancellara still has the yellow jersey and our Lance Armstrong is still 2.5 minutes behind and in 18th place overall. No real surprises as this was a fairly level….but the longest day of the race….and a sprinter was expected to take the stage.

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