We left Heidelberg and soon arrived in the small, picturesque town of Colmar. Colmar is in the Alsace region of France and is along a well travelled wine route of Germans and the French on their holidays. We had arranged another couch that we were surfing at for two nights. Our host's name was Cedric, and he was kind enough to meet us at the train station and walk us back to his apartment, which to our delight, was right in the heart of the old town centre! Cedric's apartment is amazing!! It is a large two level with four bedrooms, three bathrooms, a large eating/sitting area and a kitchen
. It has some amazing views of the town and he is very fortunate to live there! Cedric was very nice and accommodating and gave us a spare key and told us to come and go as we wished. So, after we arrived, we decided to take a stroll around the town and then go out to a cute, little Vietnamese restaurant that we had passed by earlier. I fell in love with Colmar instantly, with it's many colourful buildings and old French charm. It has a tiny canal that runs through it called Petit Venise, which is definitely appropriate because it does have the classic characteristic of the real Venice. Colmar is definitely a town that you just allow yourself to get lost in only to joyfully discover what you may have stumbled upon! Our several days were spent leisurely walking around and seeing some interesting sights, such as the old Tanner's District, where they used to hang the leather up on the high roofs, the old cathedral, fresh outdoor markets, and lots of beautifully coloured apartments. We also saw a bunch of very large birds' nests high up on buildings. We later learned that these belong to storks in the area and they are highly loved and protected by the locals. So, everywhere you go, in almost every store, you will see something relating to the storks. They are, of course, immensely popular with the tourists.
We also really enjoyed our time with Cedric. He offered us traditional French breakfast which was a fresh baguette from the market with an assortment of home-made jams, Nutella, and of course French cheese. Another day, Cedric offered for us to try these famous French cheeses, one of which I am sure many if you know...Blue Cheese. The French (and many Germans) very much love their stinky cheese
. Cedric had about five different kinds of them for us to try along with bread and wine. (He also has one of the most impressive wine collections I have ever seen!) As many of you know, I am not fond of cheese. Not even mild cheddar. So, I am sorry to tell you, but I could not bring myself to be brave enough to try any of the cheeses. I did smell them though, and that was good enough for me...haha! But Ryan, on the other hand, is quite a lover of cheese. So he was delighted at the opportunity to taste test new kinds. He had never had Blue Cheese before, and his initial reaction was quite entertaining. Cedric then explained that after you eat the cheese, you take a drink of wine to balance it out. As soon as Ryan did that, he said the intense flavour of the cheese goes away and then leaves you wanting to try more. I will take his word for it.
Our last day at Colmar again was spent roaming around the streets, but we had a surprise awaiting us. Once a year there is a huge trade show market that fills almost all the inner streets of the old town centre. It happened to be going on during our last day! It was crazy busy, but really neat for us to see and experience. After that we caught a later train to Paris where we will be staying for six nights! But Colmar will still hold a special place in my heart!
So we have now left Germany and have once again moved on to a different country, a different language, and a different culture. I must say, I was a little sad leaving Germany because it was just becoming familiar and we were just getting used to it. But, of course France is wonderful too and we were excited to see what beauty it has to offer.