Colmar part deux

Trip Start Jun 10, 2007
Trip End Ongoing

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Well mother nature smiled upon us once again. 30 degrees and sunny all day. It was a good thing as this weekend is the 47th annual winegrowers festival in the town of Eguisheim. It is about 6km west of Colmar and home to over 40 wineries. Not bad for a town of about 2000 people.
You pay 6 euros (about 9 bucks Canadian) and you get a glass to wander the lovely streets and stop at your choice of 44 winery stands to sample their products. They also had about a half dozen stages set up all over town with various bands and orchestras playing, most with a strong German influence. It felt a little like a taste of oktoberfest (travelpod entry coming in about a month from Munich).
We strolled the town with our various samples checking out many of the artisan shops along the way. For such a small village, Eguisheim is overflowing with culture unique to the Alsace region.  It almost feels odd to speak French here rather than German. A very intriguing experience anyway.

On Monday we headed to two more towns to see what they were all about. First we went to Riquewihr. It is along the route des vins and like many of the other towns is full of shops and even more wine caves and cellars encouraging visitors to sample. Riquewihr is situated along some of the finest vineyards in the region. It is in the middle of the slope and therefore home to many of the "grand cru" wines. These are said to be of highest quality and the most prestigious (and obviously most expensive also).
The "Sentier Viticole des Grands Crus" is a stretch of these vineyards that reaches from Riquewihr to our next stop, Kayserberg and beyond.
As, again, it was 32 degrees and sunny, we decided to walk to Kayserberg. It was about 8km but didn't feel like it as it was some of the most beautiful and peacefully quiet hiking we have done. Usually we can hear traffic or the buzz of a city in the background, but along this route, through the most prestigious of vineyards, the loudest noises were made by the grapes growing.  
Once we reached Kayserberg, we explored the town that feels and sounds like it should actually be part of Germany rather than France. It was unfortunately heavily damaged during the struggle for liberation in December of 1944, but they have done a remarkable job rebuilding the town to not only fit in with the rest of the Alsace region, but Kayserberg has become one of its hot spots for visitors.

We have spent a week here and it was the perfect amount of time. Alsace is like no other place imaginable. A hybrid of the best of French and German cultures. We certainly hope to be back.

From here we go to pay our war respects at Vimy Ridge and Juno Beach.

We would also like to let you know that we have decided on the next leg of our journey (after Oktoberfesting in Munich at the end of September of course). We will be heading to Spain and Portugal for about a month starting September 25th! After that we are hoping to head to Switzerland for some time to try and earn some money and throw ourselves into another unique culture. Looking forward to it all!
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