Today is our longest driving day and the challenge is to avoid the motorways for the more picturesque country drive.
We depart Chablis at 0940 hrs for Eguisheim in the Alsace region after, our standard order of coffee and croissants at yesterday's cafe and completing our hotel check out. Our route of 387 km takes us ESEast through Chateauvillian, Saint Loup Sur Semouse and Belfort to Eguisheim.
The countryside is magnificently rich and green whether it be paddock or forest; an observation repeated in previous journal entries but always pleasing to us. I have also come to appreciate the centralization of housing into well maintained and disciplined villages situated in hollows or on river banks as opposed to isolated structures spread haphazardly across the landscape as we have at home.
Our first stop is for fuel at Chateauvillian, our second at St Loup Sur Semouse where we decide to stretch and have a coffee. Fortunately, we have stumbled upon what seems to be the towns most popular lunchtime restaurant. Suits (business types) fill the front of the restaurant and we are relegated to the outdoor garden setting; which we are more than happy with. Lunch is very pleasant with the girls having a salade St Jaque while I have the Plat du Jour and chocolate cake for desert. It is not a quick lunch, as our waitress is rushed off her feet, but very enjoyable.
We continue the trip switching between country road, significant main road to motorway all at a reasonable pace.
We are at Eguisheim late afternoon and have no problems locating our accommodation which is only a short distance from the centre of town. We check in and immediately set off to walk this most distinctive heritage town. The first significant observation is it's wagon wheel design of concentric circular streets with the spokes of the wheel providing access to a central hub. Pictures best describe the extensive number of very old timber buildings that have been renovated to make the town the commercial success it appears. Wine and the marketing of dominate shops, along with cafés and restaurants.
We were not in need of food but elected to share a very thin based pizza that we had observed with a carafe or two of the local Riesling and Pinot Noir. We were quickly informed by the passionate waiter that they were not pizza's but Tartes Flambees, a local speciality. While they still look like a thin pizza to us they were enjoyable without being too filling.
An early observation is the large number of German people in town which is probably understandable when one considers the history of Alsace and the towns proximity to the border.
We return to our accommodation at 2000 hrs and are soon in bed.
The day has been overcast for much of the day, clearing to sunny after lunch. A jumper was required when stationary outdoors.