We arrived in town a few minutes later and started the self-guided walking tour in the pamphlet we had picked up at our campsite. Along the way, they had information panels explaining what the different buildings were or who had stayed there. The first stop was the "maison des têtes" or “house of heads” because of all of the heads on the façade.
The streets of Colmar are really pretty with half-timbered houses everywhere and ivy geraniums and petunias spilling out of window boxes everywhere. In fact, there are so many geraniums and petunias that we started getting excited when there was a different type of flower for us to photograph! The designer of the Statue of Liberty was born in Colmar; we didn’t go to the museum or happen by the roundabout where there is a statue in miniature, but we did go to the square and see one of his other statues. Apparently you can see the life size copy of the ear of the Statue of Liberty in the museum – we decided to give it a miss.
We continued wandering around and checking out the recommendations in our guide for a spot to stop for lunch. Anoop learned from our previous trip that it is important to look at the menus (and traipse all over town in search of the perfect one) before lunch time and not once we actually get hungry as I am not the most patient person by the time that happens! We eventually chose a little tea shop that had a good choice of “plats” (single dishes) rather than a menu which is usually 2-3 courses at lunch and 3 or more at dinner.
The tea shop was really cute and had lots of old tea tins and posters decorating the walls. An older couple ran the restaurant with one other lady who did most of the serving. When the older lady brought us our water, she made sure that we knew that we should ask for more ice if we wanted it since the cubes were melting so fast; we were just happy to have some cold water since our camelbaks were more on the lukewarms side!
Anoop ordered a quiche Lorraine while I had the tarte flambée which is a specialty of the region. It has a very thin crust with crème fraîche, onions, lardons (chunky bacon) on top. You can also have them with mushrooms and cheese on top. Both meals came with a small side salad with tasty vinaigrette. The food was delicious!
After lunch we walked down into the area known as “Petite Venise” or little Venice. The canal was very pretty with lots more geraniums spilling out of windows and along the bridge. There were lots of tourists hopping in the little boats for a ½ hour ride, but we decided just to walk along the edge instead.
We enjoyed our walk through the small pedestrian only streets and stopped at the covered market to pick up a mini kougelhopf (small dense cake) that we had seen everywhere. We then wandered back to the street where we had lunch to get a “glace” or ice cream. I had melon and apricot while Anoop had lemon and mango and a meringue on the side. We finished the walking tour and then decided to head back to camp.
Anoop is continuing his search for interesting door handles or knockers and we have also added interesting metalwork signs (for restaurants, shops etc) to our list of photos to take as we wander the towns.
We caught the bus into Colmar which meant that we didn't have to pack up sleeping bags or put the top down on the van. It is nice to have a break every so often and just be able to close the door and head out. The transit was great with arrival times flashing up at the bus stop; once on the bus, the next stop showed up on a display which was very handy for us tourists. All of the bus stops had a name and in the bus there was a map of where the stops were, just like the subway or metro stations which means we didn’t have to guess when our stop was coming up.