Sunday, July 11, 2010

Touring the Villages on the Route du Vins

Our schedule today put us back into Colmar for a couple of hours. On the way in we took another look at that statue of Liberty; it is much taller than we thought so I put two photos in the slideshow…one has a motor home nearby so you can gauge the size. I’d say it’s well over thirty feet. Remember, the designer lived in Colmar. The Unterlinden Museum opened at 9 am and we arrived just after opening. Jim was one of only a handful of tourist during the hour that he spent filming what he’d missed yesterday when he’d forgotten his flip video camera. I enjoyed the hour in the almost empty plaza outside the museum reading my novel on my Sony Reader. This is my first trip with an electronic book and it has worked rather nicely for the few times I’ve had an opportunity to read.

By 10:30 am we were at St. Martin’s Cathedral for Mass. It’s a beautiful church and I had not noticed the “last supper” tableau, a wooden carving, in a side chapel. After Mass we walked back through Colmar Centre to the car and headed out of town for our tour of the villages on the Route du Vin. In Italy one visits the Cinque Terre, the five fishing villages along the coast; in Alsace Lorraine you visit the small picturesque villages along the Route of the Wine….there are seven recommended by Rick Steves Tour Books and we visited four of them today. And there are lots of vines; it seems to be just about the only crop in the area! The grapes are still small and green…see the photo…and harvest is still a few months away. Most of the wines that are produced in this area are white wines.

Our first was the village of Eguisheim; they all have flowers hung from every wall but this one is especially pretty and has the wonderful Y in the road with a tiny little house in the cradle of the letter. The half timbered walls bulge here and there and they keep them painted in pretty pastel colors. We had a few light sprinkles while here…did I mention the thunder and lightning about midnight last night. But, the umbrellas remained in the car for the day.

Our next village was Turckheim. We didn’t do as much walking in this town but Jim enjoyed the “photo board” and I enjoyed seeing our first nesting storks. This area was originally renowned for their nesting storks on the tops of very steep roofs and generally on chimney tops. One of the last photos on the slide show is of a metal nest made for the storks…but still empty….in the last town we visited. The one in Turckheim was on a chimney top. This is the only one we’ve seen and they sell stuffed storks as souvenirs.

We drove through Kientzheim that has a WW II American Tank and a Jeep in their memorials to the wars and the fighting that occurred in this area and then made our final stop in Kaysersberg.

Kaysersberg is another quaint village most known for the fact that Albert Schweitzer lived here. They also made a deal with the Germans not to destroy their bridge during the war. Above the city are the remains of the original walls that protected the medieval city. Many of the buildings we saw today date back to the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries with ancient fortifications.

We headed back to the hotel to watch the ending of Stage Eight of the Tour de France on television with our “fan” to keep us cool. Lance Armstrong came up in the numbers yesterday; coming in at fourteenth overall. Time is still down and today they have some mountains to conquer. He took a tumble at the base of the first climb so it’s another tough day!

We also have the final world cup in soccer to watch tonight….yesterday we watched Germany win third place; rather exciting since one of their goals was headed in by Mark Jansen, a member of the German team. No, he is not a relative but fun to watch him.

We’re at the McDonalds for our WiFi hour….Andy Schleck of Saxo Bank took first place in Stage 8 of the Tour de France and also kept the white jersey for being the best rider on the tour under age 25. Cadel Evans, an Australian riding for the American team of BMC is wearing the Maillot Jaune (Yellow Jersey) as of today. Andy Schleck is second overall just behind him. News on Lance is not good…we hear that his front wheel broke today causing his fall. Still not sure just where he is in the race but we know he’s not in the top ten!

Au Revoir

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