Friday, August 22, 2014

Trip Report - Our Big Trip - August 4th, Breisach, Kayserberg, and Riquewihr

We woke up in happy anticipation of the day's activities. The evening before, Tony, the tour director, had described our options: A visit to Colmar, a visit to two Alsation Wine Villages in France, or relax on the ship. We chose the visit to the wine villages.

One of the local guides leads our group through Kayserberg and then lets us have time on our own. This old city, with many half-timbered houses from the 17th Century, is the birthplace of Albert Schweitzer. The colorful houses and winding cobbled streets, the stone bridges over the River Weiss, all make for a charming walk and wonderful photo opportunities.
A beautiful half-timbered house.

This area of the Alsace has many vineyards.

A view from a bridge on the River Weiss

Storks, nesting

Our next stop was Riquewihr, an old walled city. Our guide led us up the ancient cobbled streets through one of the old city gates, the Dolder. The fortress gate dates from the 13th Century. In times of peace, people would take advantage of the old fortress walls and use them as one wall of their house.

Looking through the Dolder down to the City

Outside the city walls

Buildings along the main street

La Légende des Sorcières

One of the shops specializes in witch dolls. We were to see these "sorceress" dolls many times in the souvenir shops. Although the guide doesn't mention it, we are in an area where "witch hunts" destroyed many innocent lives, and I'm not sure I understand why these dolls are so popular, but I see that witch souvenirs are also a popular item in Salem, Massachusetts. ????

The bus returns us to the ship, still docked in Breisach, and after lunch we decide to explore the nearby town before the ship sails away at 4pm.

View of St. Stephan's Cathedral

View of the Rhine from the Cathedral

On the way down from Cathedral Hill, I notice that someone has repurposed the top of an old tower as a patio.

The SS. Antoinette from a distance, starting to look like home.

I should note that Breisach is in Germany, while the villages we visited earlier were in France. In this area the Rhine divides the two countries, but there is free traffic back and forth. Our guides tell us that some products are cheaper in one country, some in another. Further north, there are people who live in France but work in Switzerland because the salaries are better in Switzerland, but housing is less expensive in France.

The whole area along the Rhine has a history of different occupations - Stone age peoples, Celtic, Romans, French, German, etc….Sadly, many old buildings and entire towns were destroyed during the wars, so towns like Kayserberg and Riquewihr are rare.

No comments:

Post a Comment