Alsace/Elsaß - along the wine route


A little side canal leads from the Rhone/Rhein Canal to the Alsatian town of Colmar. Two years ago we visited here by car. This time we cruised into the immaculately kept port de plaisance, only 10 minutes walk away from the centre. Colmar is a "must visit place" for overseas tourists and the centre of the "dolls house" area of the Alsace.  It is surrounded by many little villages, one more picturesque than the other. And the extra bonus: they all lay on the Alsatian wine street with many, many “caves" to try and buy delicious wines. 


On recommendation of Gerd, Landmark Travel, Manly, (I charge you later for the plug, Gerd), we hired a car and drove to Riquewihr. We tried to follow the tourist walk around the cobblestone lanes, but we didn’t get anywhere in a hurry, because every house, corner and glimpse is a great photo opportunity, and yet the views of so many gorgeous streets are difficult to capture.


The same applies for Ríbeauville our next stop only 5 km away. Set among wine hills with an abundance of half- timber houses, none younger than from the 16th or 17th century, we wondered if we were beating Japanese tourists with the number of photos we took. We sat outside the Elefant café by organ music and a shandy trying to soak it all in. It was too hot for the rich Alsatian food, French crêpes or Kugelhopf cake. A salad and an ice-cream was all we could master in todays 32 degrees heat.


The way back lead to Kaysersberg laying on the foot of the castle which Kaiser Barbarossa is said to have built. I made a special visit to the birth house of Dr. Albert Schweitzer. The doctor, philosopher, theologist,writer and musician was the recipient of the 1952 Peace Nobel Price. He and his wife, an anaesethist, went to West Central Africa, where they treated the poorest and sickest and built a hospital in Lambaréné, which is still in existence today. He only occasionally came back to his birth town, but lived mostly in Africa and died in Lambaréné at the age of 90.

© Austin Robinson 2019