A terrible night’s sleep, as I find the bed very hard. But a lack of sleep is not really going to hurt when you have a day of sightseeing ahead. The day is showery and overcast and a top of 19’C, which I think might be pretty average for this time of year around here.
Today’s activities revolve around seeing Colmar. Colmar is a small town just south of Strasbourg, with a population of around 100k. It is a key town in the Alsace area and significant in the wine industry here. Historically, this town seems to have switched sides quite a lot, between France and Germany… given that the German border is not very far away. In fact, most of the towns and villages in this area and the names of food sound a lot more German than they do French.
Colmar, like many European towns has an ‘old city’. Colmar’s is one of the best preserved with lots of buildings remaining from 12th century, through to Renaissance times and beyond. It also appears to be a bit of a favourite on the ‘weekender’ route for both the French and the German tourists.
Our first activity of the day is to visit the little market that they have here and pick up enough food for the next 3 nights. We figure both our stomachs and our wallets need a bit of a rest. And while you couldn’t swing a cat in our little apartment, there is a tiny kitchen with tiny oven and cooktop…so we can look after ourselves for a few days.
We drop our shopping off back home and spend the day wandering around the streets of the old town. There are lots of buildings to see, but sometimes you do need them pointed out so we even catch one of those tourist “trains” that drives around the streets telling visitors the things to look at (kitch, but we learn a thing or two). A couple of times we need to make a dash for cover to avoid some heavy showers. There are also many detours trying to avoid the hoards that are in this town. I cannot image what this must be like in peak season!
This is a town that has obviously had a bit of money and power over the centuries as there are lots of impressive buildings. This is also the hometown of the sculpture, Bartholdi…. Who you ask? The fellow who created the Statue of Liberty! However, he has many much more modest sized works around this town. There is your usual Cathedral, as well as the Unterlinden Museum currently housed in the Dominican church, which boasts a very significant Alterpiece, which we went and saw and were suitably impressed with.
By 7pm, as the visitors start to leave, we have had enough of exploring this little town, so head back to our little apartment and have ‘a night in’!