Elsass/Alsace, France.

This trip was made just a few days before we set off. Thanks to an extended weekend, Martin and I wanted to explore a new region but also not go too far and tire ourselves out. Then we decided on the Elsass region, where he had already been but would love to visit once again. It was the first time for me, and I was ready to roll! Also, the Elsaas region is located on the eastern part of France, not too far from Bern. So we decided to go to Colmar, Strasbourg and make a quick halt at Ribeauville. Sometimes, the weather gods seem kind enough to let in some sunshine and this weekend was one such. Much as it may sound hackneyed, I just cannot help but repeat how we drove past some excellent and undisturbed landscapes. Not too long after we reached Colmar, but happened to check into a forgettable Hotel for the sin of not having made our reservations before. Lesson learnt. But the fact that we were more out in the alleys, checking out the old buildings and having dinners until late gave us some respite from the crammed hotel room. Colmar is touristic for sure, being accessible from Switzerland and Germany. So we heard a lot of people speaking Swiss-German and high German, both of which I understand by now. Of course, a miniscule one percent maybe Indian tourists, and ten, Chinese! Colmar is a place for those seeking lazy days. Everything here goes at a very easy pace and there is a lot to see but not do. And for those whose lazy moments come in the form of ten minute coffee breaks, Colmar is a quick get-away for sure.

On the way back home, we decided to halt at the town of Ribeauvillé, also in the Elsaas region of France, not too far from Colmar. This place was an absolute stunner in terms of its old world charm. Almost each and every building was centuries old and almost falling apart. One that caught my attention was a red building called the Maison Siedel, a 16th century building that now houses a butcher’s shop. The patterns on the building and the colors were pretty eye-catching, it looked like the mascot for the town of Ribeauville. There is plenty of locally made cheese and meat, home-grown vegetables and flowers that you can take back home if you do not have to drive too far. And yes, always be aware of how much you take along so the border-patrol guys do not smell something fishy… in this case, cheesy!

The take-away from this trip was that sometimes it does pay to visit towns and little cities instead of going to the oft-beaten touristic places. For sure, the Elsaas trip will remain etched in my memory for a long time to come.

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