Baccarat, middle-ages Riquewihr, Engelberg

Trip Start May 25, 2008
Trip End Jul 04, 2008

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

This morning we stopped off at pretty Baccarat, famous for it's crystal...morning tea during a short break here.....went for a casual stroll across the flower-adorned bridge over the shallow, gently flowing Mossel River...very peaceful place. They have a lovely church with weeping willows reaching down to the water's edge, a tiny public hospital which looks much like a large house...the beautiful Hotel De Ville facade stood out, as did the fountain which was centred in the small, stylish roundabout out front of the hotel.
A short time later, after threading our way thru the beautiful (an overused but apt adjective in this blog) Vosges mountains, we arrived at the middle-ages style village of about going back in time!! The architecture is something to be seen for sure....most of the buildings have the year of construction clearly & proudly displayed on their front walls somewhere, the earliest we saw stated 1547, most from the 16th & 17th century.......the aroma of fresh food struck as as we strolled up the slow incline of the cobblestoned main throroughfare, but we had to stop to sample authentic crepes and black forest cake from as we were not far from  the Black Forest itself!
All agreed Riquewihr was a wonderful place, almost something out of a Disney themed park for example.....once again, so much history as opposed to the youth of our Australia. Our coach was expected to be stopped for a thorough passport check by the people guarding the French-Swiss border, however only the driver & tour director were required to speak with officials and, after witnessing 4 x open-top vintage cars (complete with drivers wearing coats, gloves & goggles from a similar era) cough & splutter cross the border right next to our coach windows, we were off.
Lucerne was next brief stop for us to take in the world-renowned Lion Monument, which just seemed to 'appear' out of nowhere at the end of a brief walk thru only a street or two from where the coach parked. Once we had taken in the story behind the reason for the monument's creation, not to mention the artists' tongue-in-cheek jibe at those who killed the loyal Swiss Guards, we ventured up through some ofthe most amazing mountainous scenery we had ever seen...the Swiss our stop for the next two nights, Engelberg.
Again, the view from the rear balcony (which extended the width of our two room abode, was startling to say the least....we looked out across some of the town buildings right at a juncture in the alps with snow-covered mountain range, low-hanging clouds, green everywhere, very cool ("this is summer" we had to keep reminding ourselves)....a spectacle which literally had us gasping in disbelief.
Tomorrow we have a spectacular day centred around serene Lucerne...can't wait!
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