Tuesday, July 24, 2012

More of Colmar

I wander around the old town until 7, when the shops close up for the day. They're just beginning the summer sale season, so it's worth looking into some. But they're the same old shops as anywhere, with an extra layer of high-end boutiques laid on for the wine-country tourists. We've got the same in Clermont - why shop here and schlepp it all home? It's sad they're all the same chains. Except for the Alsatian souvenir place of course. (Even there, it's a disappointment to see that this one artist who's made such incisive jokes about Auvergne has an Alsatian version that is pretty much the same, just a word changed here & there.)
A bath, a bit of tv, and dinner. I end up on a side street at the edge of the pedestrian district, in a little family-run place. 6 tables on the sidewalk; maybe twice as many inside. Everybody eats outside if the weather allows.
The boss knows his wines and I don't, so I let him recommend. By the glass, and I have two. A sweet aperitif, an Edelzwicker or a Gewurtz; followed by a drier Pinot Gris for my summery plate of fruit and chilled delicacies. Most of the local specialties are hearty winter food, so it's a rather generic plate, but nice.
Four of the tables are eventually occupied, thankfully none by smokers. Sometimes I have a dining room all to myself as a refuge from all the tables around me lighting up. Next to me are a pair of germans who have some difficulty communicating with the boss.  The boss's German sounds fine at first, but is more or less limited to the food words of the manu. He does not understand that the German drinking wine finds his libation too warm.
But this is sorted out. And the evening is enjoyed by all.

In the morning I discover I have failed to bring socks.
Can't do serious walking without socks!

Instead of an early start for Herrlisheim and the vineyards and the ruins, I guess I'll take a photographic tour around the old town before the tourists fill it up. Until the shops open.

Or not so late a start, really; the Monoprix is already open at 8:30, and they do have socks. Off we go. Once I drop off my breakfast reading and refill my water bottle at the hotel and get to the station, the 9:04 to Mulhouse is at the quay, and I don't have a ticket. The time it takes to get one is just 30 seconds too long. 59 minutes 30 seconds to wait for the next one. If I were really a daring adventurer, I'd have hopped the train ticketless.
Might as well have a look around. Lots of busses stop here, as one might well imagine. Hey! One to Turckheim at 9:11. Tomorrow. I'll take that one tomorrow if I can't find that trailhead. It's a curious schedule - 8:30, 9:11 and 12:05, but then one every half hour later in the afternoon.
Strolling around I see one of the statues of Bartholdi, the sculptor of the Statue of Liberty. THere's a replice statue in town, but apparently pretty far away on the north side, best got to by car. Just here there's little statuary, but blocks and blocks of Belle Epoque houses, luxurious gardens all around them, and delicate but firm fences. You can tell this used to be Germany, though, because all the blocks are square. No silly French streets laid any which way around here! 

On to Herrlisheim!

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