Shearwin's in Europe 2014 travel blog

Jan & Kaye on Colmar bridge

Colmar street

Riquewihr timber framed shop

Drawbridge at entry gate to Riquewihr

Concert and buildings in Obernai

We had breakfast in the hotel before setting of at 0955 hrs for Colmar which was 9 km's north of last night's accommodation. Our host was a very pleasant lady who explained the presence of the Cigogne Stork, which nestles on the roof tops of the village and is displayed prolifically throughout the souvenir shops as a red and white soft toy.

The drive was made easy by the absence of traffic for that time of the day and we had no problem finding a carpark. Initially, there were very few people in the streets or in the town which had us wondering; we were to discover later it was "Ascension" day a public holiday for Alsace. It also explained the free meter parking we had difficulty understanding on our arrival.

We wandered the town admiring the many different styles of buildings, drawing the conclusion it was the larger and more spectacular of the two. This was verified by the large numbers of tourist groups that were assembling. Colmar, as a point of distinction, had water courses incorporated into its design, much larger timber framed buildings of commercial design and a very large dominating church at its centre. It must have been the largest and more important of these styled towns even in early times.

We decided next to drive to Riquewihr, 13kms further along the "Route des Vins"which these styled towns are linked and lead towards Strasbourg.

At about the same size as Eguisheim, the fortified nature of this rectangle designed town is quite evident. The buildings are similar in appearance with the other two towns, but a distinguishing feature is the towns main gate with drawbridge and portcullis. Both have all the tourist features of restaurants, wine outlets and other good quality shops. I concluded that a visit to the area should focus on all three however, Colmar and either ( more likely Eguisheim ) would give a good overview of all these towns. All towns could deserve a days outing and lunch if one was staying in the area longer.

As a last minute decision, we decided also to drop into Obernai, 25 km from Strasbourg to view the older city as quite a few recommendations had been made. Being a holiday, the town was celebrating with a town centre concert. We found this the least impacting of the towns and would suggest a visit for those staying in Strasbourg and unable to visit the others.

By mid afternoon, we were saturated with timber buildings and old towns and decided to drive straight to our hotel in Central Strasbourg. Entry into the city was no great problem, except for one left turn, however, entering Central was no fun. Eventually, we found an underground car park, having been evicted from a pedestrian area ( and there were plenty of pedestrians on holiday) and found our hotel by wandering the streets.

We checked in and took a short break before wandering to one of the most impressive cathedrals dominating any city. We had a brief look before leaving; a service was starting, and returning to our hotel for drinks.

Dinner was off the agenda because of our large breakfast and we retired to our room for an early night in the understanding the cathedral and the 330 steps to the observation point would be second on our agenda tomorrow morning.

Weather overcast all day requiring a jumper only in the evening.

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