Vacation ‘23, day 12: Strasbourg —> Colmar —> Riquewihr

A lock! We went through it the day before on Batorama

We started our morning with a walk through Petite France towards a nearby bakery. It was very pretty in the morning light.

This bakery had tasty pastries. The coffee situation was a little less dialed in, but I think there was a small malfunction in the machine. It was nice to try another place and both bakeries we tried in Strasbourg were excellent.

Then! We went to the local hospital that has a historic wine cellar. Wine was both a form of barter payment for treatment, as well as the treatment itself for patients hundreds of years ago. I thought it was so cool to have an active wine cellar associated with a hospital so I wanted to check it out.

It was an even better stop than I thought! I had low expectations, thinking that it would be a sort of novelty stop that was not super engaging. I was wrong! We purchased the audioguide for 3E and it was well worth it. There was a lot of interesting detail about the wine tunnel/former underground city connector, the current wine cellar itself, and several notable barrels. The tour was 25-30 minutes and really well done. I recommend!

A few of the barrels had one shape in the front (egg) and a different one in the back (circle or oval), which is apparently a very difficult technique. The history of the oldest white wine was described. The original barrel and the subsequent one are both displayed, but the wine is currently held in a slightly more modern barrel due to the evaporation of wine over time requiring a smaller barrel than the original. The second barrel eventually became too leaky so the current barrel is the wine’s third home.

There is a small bottle of the wine on display to show the color. There was also a very old wine press in the corner.

After the tour, we walked back to the hotel, picked up our bags, and headed to the Strasbourg train station. The station is beautiful with an old building within a glass enclosure.

We took the regional train down to Colmar. There are no lockers at the train station, so we took the bus into town and used an online baggage app to arrange for bag drop-off at a florist. It was very convenient and nice not to drag our bags around.

There is a covered market that is super cool and has a lot of interesting looking delicacies and food. We were pretty set on snacks so we didn’t need anything, but it was a feast for the eyes.

We took a selfie at the bridge in “Little Venice.” Although Colmar is definitely cute, it wasn’t my favorite place as it felt too large-group touristy with most shops and restaurants feeling kind of tourist trap-like. I don’t know if that is very fair, but there was something about Colmar that I liked less than Strasbourg or Riquewihr.

There were also a few examples of pixelated art by the Stork, who always incorporates a stork into his pieces.

So, yes, Riquewihr! When booking the Alsace portion of our trip, I thought it would be nice to actually stay in a village. This was also very touristy, but for some reason, I didn’t mind as much. A large portion of the crowd are day-trippers, but there are still a lot of people in the evening for dinner and drinks.

We arrived in the mid-afternoon and walked the Main Street. We had a cheese degustation with a guy who was very nice and spoke great English. The smallest amount of cheese we could buy was still a lot. The reason is you have to buy a full slice and the cheese we liked best was from the thickest wheel.

The crowd skewed towards the European Baby Boomer Retiree crowd. There were a lot of French, German, and Spanish tourists.

We joined in with the crowd, admiring both the beautiful day and the cute town. I drove myself semi-crazy singing two lines from Beauty on the Beast on repeat. Inside my own head, don’t worry!

SMS always looks down the well, which is a habit I’ve picked up. Sometimes they are impressively, scarily deep!

Animal Style

We ate that night at Hotel/Restaurant Au Cerf. The portions were absolutely humongous. The food is good, but we found it hard to be members of the clean plate club!

I had a traditional beef/potato dish while SMS got the risotto. Then it was off to bed, with church bells as intermittent background sound.

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