Today was Saturday Market day in Beaune so this morning we browsed the market alongside all the locals.
We have a rental car now so we set out heading south through the verdant Burgundy countryside. We saw canals, locks, lots of grape vines, and picturesque villages.
When we got to the south edge of Burgundy we headed east into the Alps. Tonight we are almost to Italy in Chamonix.
For dinner we had a picnic with a bottle of the wine we bought at the winery yesterday.
It’s amazing to me that when things turn out totally different than how you planned them you can still have a great experience. We made a reservation a couple of days ago to tour a winery and do a tasting near Beaune.
We picked up a rental car today which we will have for the next few days. The weather was perfect today. We walked to the rental car place and then went driving to explore the countryside. We drove through the area north west of Beaune. It is agricultural and green with lots of picturesque villages.
When we made the winery reservation the website said they only had tours in Portuguese, French and Spanish. We picked a 5 o’clock Spanish tour with visions of being with a group of Spanish tourists. What actually happened was that we were the only ones visiting a small winery in a village near Beaune. The owner spoke about as much English as I speak French which isn’t much!! And I don’t think he spoke any Spanish. We still had quite an experience seeing his small operation, tasting his wines, and communicating surprisingly well.
It was the kind of a experience that makes a trip.
Driving is such a totally different way to see a country. After our tasting we drove back to Beaune, parked near our hotel and took a break until our 7:30 dinner reservation.
This morning before we picked up the rental car we visited Beaune’s most well known landmark L’Hôtel- Dieu Des Hospices Civils de Beaune, a hospital for the poor, it was established in 1443. It is an impressive building and the hospital has pretty much been in operation ever since. They own vineyards which make the hospital self supporting. The historic building is no longer a hospital but it has been well restored and we enjoyed the audio tour.
We had a marvelous dinner tonight in the cellar at Restaurant Le Conty.
We started with Foie gras and asparagus for Duke and a dozen snails for me. They were each excellent.
We had two different kinds of beef for the main course.
For desert we had pears poached in wine with anise ice cream and a yummy chocolate mousse concoction.
We woke up to a beautiful sunny day. We took a local train from Colmar to Mulhouse, the high speed TGV train from Mulhouse to Dijon and then another local train from Dijon to Beaune where we are tonight.
When we arrived at our hotel there was no one answering the door so we sat in the square and relaxed a bit. All the stores and cafes were closed from noon until two.
Eventually we checked in. Our hotel Abbaye de Maizières was originally an abbey from around 1400. It has been transformed into a luxury hotel. We left our bags and went out to explore. Beaune has ramparts around the old town. We wandered around and oriented our selves
We stopped for coffee and a pastry.
Eventually we went back to our room and put our feet up. We ate dinner at L’Air du Temps. To start I had escargot and Duke had foie gras. The “shells” on my escargot were actually made of pastry and were edible!
For the main course I had sole, scallops and asparagus and Duke had chicken.
For desert Duke had a rhubarb tart and I had something resembling strawberry shortcake but much lighter. It was a wonderful meal.
When I travel and use hotel showers I often daydream about creating a hotel shower rating system. You know, showers would get points for basic things like hot water, water temperature that doesn’t fluctuate and shower cleanliness. There would be bonus points for things like a heated towel rack and big fluffy towels. I don’t like tub shower combinations so a walk in shower definitely gets point. You get the idea.
The shower in our room here at Villa Élyane in Colmar is perfect! It is one of the only 10’s I have ever rated a hotel shower. Big, bright, five shower heads, heated towel rack. Perfection!
It rained all day today so it’s a good thing that we have good raincoats and that today we visited museums.
First we went to the Unterlinden Museum. It’s a well laid out museum partly built in a former cloister.
The exhibits range from prehistoric to Roman to medieval to modern. They have part of an intricate Roman mosaic floor found nearby,
A colorful and dramatic multipart medieval altarpiece – Grünewald’s Isenheim Altarpiece,
A treasure buried about 1630 prior to the Swedish invasion and not found until 1864,
And some powerful modern pieces.
We stopped for coffee and blueberry tart.
Then we went to the Bartholdi Museum.
On the way back to our B&B we decided we didn’t want to go back out in the rain tonight. So we stopped and bought picnic food and had dinner in our room.
This morning when we walked to the train station in Freiburg it was raining.
To get to Colmar which is only about 35 miles directly west of Freiburg we had to take the train south to Basel in Switzerland and then go back north to Colmar.
In Colmar we are staying at a wonderful B & B near the train station, Villa Élyane. It is in a lovely old house and we have a big bright room.
Colmar is in the Alsace region of France. This afternoon we explored. Our host gave us a tourist map and we followed the tourist trail around the old town. Each of forty stopping points on the trail had an informational sign in multiple languages including English. The trail itself was marked with gold triangles set in sidewalk.
Auguste Bartholdi the sculptor of the Statue of Liberty is from Colmar. We saw a statue of him.
Duke and I each recently read a book about Bartholdi called Liberty’s Torch so it was interesting to see some of his sculptures.
Colmar is full of interesting old streets and houses.
The Colmar Spring Fair is going on right now so we saw pens of animals and lots of stalls selling everything from food to Easter decorations.
For dinner we ate at Le Fer Rouge.
We followed the Rick Steve’s walking tour of Freiburg this morning. At one point we were standing looking at a statue of a gargoyle with a goiter hanging from her neck that decorated a building on a narrow side street. Nearby there was another couple also looking up and quietly reading the same description from the Rick Steves guide book. This isn’t the first time something like that has happened. It’s a real demonstration of the reach of the Rick Steves influence. If I stood there all day I wonder how many people would come by and do what we did!
The gargoyle has a goiter because iodine deficiency was so common here during the Middle Ages that goiters were also very common.
Freiburg is a university town and has some other university towns as sister cities. They have mosaic coats of arms representing these towns in front of the new town hall on Rathausplatz. Madison, Wisconsin is one of the sister cities.
Freiburg is apparently known for its Bächle. They are little streams of water channeled through all the streets in town. They are fun to sail boats in,
or just jump over.
Originally they were for fire control. The city has people whose job it is to clean the Bächles The water looks sparkling and almost good enough to drink. The Bächles are fed by the canal that runs through the town.
Everything in the city center except for the cathedral was pretty much destroyed in one World War II bombing raid November 27 1944.
The cathedral’s latticework steeple may have contributed to it not being destroyed.
The stained glass in the cathedral is from the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries and was stored away for safe keeping during World War II. Each window has a symbol representing the group that donated it. This one was given by the boot makers.
We ended our walk with sausage sandwiches from the market in the square.
We ate dinner at our hotel. It was all delicious. Although we are in a wine region we had to have beer with our dinner since this is our last night in Germany.
We took five trains today! Füssen to Kaufbeuren, Kaufbeuren to Lindau, Lindau to Friedrichshafen, Friedrichshafen to Basel, and Basel to Freiburg. The distance to drive would have been 170 miles but it was much more enjoyable to see the countryside from the trains.
We followed the Rhine for a good part of the way.
In Freiburg we are staying at Hotel Oberkirch in a room overlooking the cathedral. Duke took this picture from the window of our room.
Tonight we had a hard time finding a restaurant that was open and still had a table available. After being turned away a few times we lucked out and ate at Zum Rauhen Mann. It was wonderful. I had a steak and Duke had sauerbraten. For desert we had apple fritters.