After lunch on our ship, we boarded a Viking bus and headed to Colmar, a small town in the Alsace area of France. Throughout the centuries, Germany and France waged war on each other many times. Those poor Alsatians; whichever country won demanded that the conquered Alsatians speak the winning country's language. So one year they would be speaking French, and then a few years later they'd have to switch to German! I know I don't need to remind you to click on the pictures to enlarge, but I just can't help it.
A picture of the countryside taken from our bus.
I'm a horse nut, so including this photo was a must.
One of our first views of Colmar.
I mentioned in my first Rhine River post that one of my favorite things about our cruise was the architecture. Above is an interesting old house. On the shutter are two shoes, which makes me wonder if the building was/is the home of a cobbler.
Many signs such as the ones above and below adorned store fronts. Our guide told us the name of the sign maker, but I can't remember it. If one of you knows, I'd appreciate it if you'd tell me.
The buildings and homes in Colmar were taxed by the square footage at street level, so some of these ingenious folks built the first floor smaller and the other floors up and out, hence the overhang you can see in the photo below.
To Alsatians, storks mean good luck, so when the stork population dropped to fewer than nine pairs in the Alsace region about twenty-five years ago, Gerard Wey, a.k.a. "Papa Stork," took steps to stop the decline. Now the population has grown to 270 or more pairs in the Alsace-Lorraine regions. They are magnificent birds to see. I took pictures, but they were too blurry to include here. There's lots of interesting information on the internet about storks if you're interested.
Two stork nests on man-made frames.
Each nest can weigh up to half a ton.
This building, now a restaurant, fascinated me.
Note the pot mounted on the wall.
Another lovely half-timbered building. We saw many
statues in Colmar, most with one arm raised like this one.
I'd love to pack my husband and our kayaks, and live in one of these houses in the Little Venice area shown below for a couple of months! Ready, Ron?
The Little Venice area in Colmar. Nice, huh?
The picture above is a good example of a half-timbered house with decorative painted panels. Lots of these were built in the 15th and 16th centuries.
Considered the smallest house in Colmar, France.
This house is less than 300 square feet, has a kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, and living room. You enter from the courtyard behind the buildings and go up a set of stairs. I would have loved to go inside, but it is a private dwelling occupied, I heard, by an artist.
Another half-timbered building.
I enjoyed stumbling onto interesting alleys that beckoned me. I wanted to explore, to discover their secrets, but didn't dare.
An old town square.
Stay tuned for the fourth post and Strasbourg, France.
Labels: Alsace, Colmar, Rhine River cruise