Saturday, June 30, 2012

Colmar France

We spent the next day in Colmar, France. Colmar is a beautiful and touristy city - beautiful enough that it was spared bombing during World War II. We stayed in the Petit Venice part of town - so named for the tiny canals that crisscross it.

After breakfast we headed out - along with many other visitors - to check out the town.

Our first view of the historic (building started in 1234!) St. Martin's church included a feature unique to this part of the world: a nest for storks.

The buildings are amazing in Colmar and we were blessed with a truly beautiful day.

The other massive church in town is the Dominican Church.

This cat was watching a street performer (a man manipulating a puppet to play violin) and was even more fascinated than I was.

The colors of the buildings - and the shutters - in Colmar are all over the map.

In the heat of the afternoon, we toured the small and amazing Unterlinden Museum which hosts the Isenheim Altarpiece.

Our day ended near where it had begun near the canal that ran behind our hotel.

Next up: a travel day leaving Colmar, visiting Egguisheim and Beaseçon 
before arriving in Pommard France

Sunday, June 24, 2012

St. Hippolyte and Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg

We hit the road from Strasbourg headed towards Colmar - behind schedule of course - and almost immediately Meg informed me of a site on the way: the Grandfather of Alsatian castles called Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg. It was too intriguing to resist so we hopped off the A35 and headed towards the big castle on the hill.

As we continued onward we passed through many vineyards and the small beautiful town of Saint Hippolyte. This photo was taken after passing through town.

The road suddenly turned into a maze of switchbacks rising above the vineyards below. We climbed and climbed until we reached the castle which was both under construction and oddly deserted. Though there were parking places for hundreds of cars, only one couple on a motorcycle were visiting when we arrived.

The castle itself was so big and we were so close, it was difficult to get a good shot of it. 

It commands an amazing view of the valley below including St. Hippolyte.

After admiring the view for some time, we got back on the road and continued our journey to Colmar. We could not resist however stopping for a few shots of picturesque St. Hippolyte.

With the assistance of the TomTom, we rejoined the A35 and made our way to Colmar and found our hotel situated in the Petite Venice portion of Colmar. We checked in and had a wonderful dinner not a dozen steps from our small suite (which backed up on one of the canals). Afterwards we took a walk and tried snapping a few nighttime photos before retiring.

Wistub Krutenau on the canal. 

Rue Turenne near our hotel.

Canal near the Compoir des Georges.

Next post: our day in Colmar.

Sunday, June 17, 2012


We reluctantly left Baden-Baden and hit the road (in our Renault Migane - a very nice little station wagon) for Strasbourg, France. The drive was uneventful though Strasbourg is a pretty big town and it was busy on Friday afternoon. We persevered (with the help of the TomTom) and parked in an underground garage near Place Kléber. We came up and started looking for the giant Strasbourg Cathedral.

We first walked through some busy commercial streets.

The streets were lined with everything from high end clothing shops to delicious food shops. This was one of the more interesting bread slicing jobs I've seen.

We came around a corner and all of a sudden we saw the Cathedral. Stunning and a bit overwhelming, apparently this church was the tallest building in the world for over 200 years. I believe it.

After the Cathedral we realized we had another spiritual site we had to find: a micro-brewery called La Lanterne. We found it straight away and enjoyed a couple beers before renewing our quest for the Petite-France section of Strasbourg.

On the way, we saw this sign apparently suggesting you should clean up after your petit chien. A picture truly is worth a thousand words.

The Petite-France section of town is beautiful.

After more walking we decided it was time to return to the car and head to Colmar. On the way, we stumbled upon something wonderful; I wanted to enroll but reluctantly decided that was not practical.

We did make our way back to the parking garage and bid farewell to Strasbourg. Again too short a visit but we had reservations that evening in Colmar about 50 miles away so we hit the road.

A funny thing happened on the way to Colmar...

Saturday, June 16, 2012


Our day in Baden-Baden was too short instigating a new rule that we never stay only one night in any one place. We started our tour by walking just up the hill by the Stiftskirche.

Alongside the church, there were these giant elevated clay pots. I wish I knew more about the back story here; do you?

Baden-Baden is all about hot springs (I didn't realize until this trip that "Baden" means "Bath" in German) and there are many of them all around the city including near the church. As a result, the local flora is almost tropical despite Baden-Baden being further north than Fort Kent, Maine.

Nearby is a public fountain with 105℉ water flowing out! This was a new thing for me.

The streets of Baden-Baden range from quiet, twisted and picturesque to more energetic, commercial and touristy. Here is a not so busy intersection near our hotel.

We next made the transition to the busier section of town. Sadly we did not have the time to stop in and sample the Budweiser (Czech, not Belgian) at Restaurant Prager Stuben.

A colorful hotel restaurant in the main section of Baden-Baden.

Sometimes you see interesting things walking the streets of a foreign city.

We walked over to the famous Kurhaus Casino - felt by Marlene Dietrich to be "the most beautiful casino in the world" and home to the NATO summit in 2009. We briefly checked out the interior but did not partake.

And then back across the canal into town, back to our hotel to reluctantly check out and hit the road. 

Next stop: Strasbourg, France on the way to Colmar.

Monday, June 11, 2012


We made it to Baden-Baden to a wonderful hotel called the Rathausglockel (highly recommended) where we also had a fantastic supper complete with tarte flambée - a totally new and life changing experience for me.

The next morning dawned loud (church bells very close by though we both slept through several aural displays) and beautiful. I poked my head out of one of our windows to see a couple early morning scenes.

The Hotel am Markt was even closer to the nearby church and therefore had an even louder wake up call with the bells.

Once I got up, I took a short walk up through the hills of Baden-Baden. The street were beautiful and hilly. 

Before returning to our hotel ready for breakfast!