Sunday, June 20, 2010

Alsace! And more room for pictures!

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J was out of town for a few weeks, and I decided that we needed to go on a mini vacation when he came back! Originally the plan was to go to the south of France, but we didn't have time, so we went to Alsace. Alsace is about 3 hours away, and looks a lot like the Rhine region, but with mountains. I was particularly interested in finding some good Gewurztraminer, as they do not make it here and it's my favorite wine.

We stayed in a cute little hotel in Orbey(Le Domaine de Pairis), which is out in the countryside and not walking distance to anything, but it was reasonably priced, had good food, and the owner speaks English. I speak a bit of French, but it's very rusty. We also had a rushing brook outside our window that was very pleasant to go to sleep listening to.

On our way out on Friday we stopped in the tiny, touristy but lovely town of Ribeauville. J had never eaten Escargot, so of course we had some of that along with the local specialty Tarte Flambee, aka Flammkuchen, aka pizza with cream sauce.
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They are very fond of their local Storks in Alsace, and all the souvenir shops had all kinds of things with storks on them. I bought a shot glass. There was even a storks' nest on top of one of the buildings!
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After lunch we visited a butterfly garden, which was small and could have used a good primping, but nevertheless had plenty of beautiful butterflies.
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On our way out we got up close and personal with a stork!
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The next day we visited Haut Koenigsburg Castle, which is a fully restored castle 800 meters up a mountain. It was by far the biggest and most impressive castle we have visited so far, and we've been to quite a few in Germany!
Click the picture to see more castle pictures!
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After the castle, we went to Colmar and visited the Unterlinden Museum, which has a really beautiful and interested collection of 15th century devotional art, along with an incredible weapons collection and some ancient and modern collections as well. Colmar also has nice restaurants and great shopping. I think if we go back we might stay right in Colmar, but for this trip we did enjoy the peace and quiet out in the country.
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I also definitely recommend a drive through the mountains west of Munster. So picturesque it doesn't even look real!
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All in all a lovely little getaway! Click any picture to see the rest of the set.

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