Barry is sick. Poor guy, third day not feeling well. He never gets sick, so this is unusual. We are laying low in a nice countryside inn. He’s getting lots of sleep, DayQuil, orange juice and I am having quiet walks.
I walked along the village wall and continue to be stunned at the charm and beauty of this place. Trying to imagine it when my Alsacian ancestors lived here, was it charming then, or a difficult life? The sun is warm again today and the wine growers continue to pick grapes and cart the plastic tubs into the village in the small tractor carts. I see them pull into expansive courtyards that were blocked from view last time I went down the street. On my last walk, I swear that the little stream that flowed where there once had been a moat, smelled of the sweet, earthy, ageless scent of wine. It is the lifeblood of this area. I try so hard to commit it all to memory; I hope I can come back in my dreams.
This village is very small, as most seem to be. You can see these little villages along the slopes of the hillsides, all surrounded by vineyards. Each village has a steeple and various signs which invite you in to taste the vines of Alsace. Geraniums overflow the window boxes on countless medieval buildings and each little town’s central square is a riot of flowers with a central fountain or statue. We are staying in a hotel that is a series of buildings connected with bridges, courtyards and odd hallways. It was an 11th century convent and still carries the ghosts of some of the sisters, I think. It seems that most of the other guests are German, though all the staff smoothly change from German to French as they speak to other guests. Thankfully, the receptionist speaks English very well. Now that I think about it, hers is the only English that we have heard for several days. Previous to this, even on larger towns, we have heard very little English spoken. We haven’t turned on the TVs for quite a while, but the few times that we did, there were no English language stations.
I don’t think I am French enough to carry on here much longer. Everything revolves around food and wine and beautiful things, which is why I signed on originally, BUT, SOOO much wine, such rich food, too many picturesque vistas. I guess I also have some of my mother’s English heritage in me, “carry on, stiff upper lip”, too much already. Is life all about pleasure? Maybe?
Ok, there is a little secret that I don’t think many tourists know about, CORA. Well, it’s not a secret to the French, but I never read about it on any travel discussion boards! It’s a huge COSTCO meets Whole Foods shopping mall thing. The hotel reception sent us there to get our laundry done. They have a huge, huge wine department. It would have our Justin skipping with joy through this place! The prepared foods would make you weap. I told Barry, this is heaven, all the earthy food delights in long white counters with white uniformed chefs behind the counters – fruit plates, beautiful veggies, pates, fish, sushi, Chinese food, all cuts of meat, cheeeeses! I thought I might find some cute French clothes for the grand-darlings, but there were only Disney and Spider-Man and hello kitty things in the small clothing department. It was all food and wine here in this dream land.
One of the little stores in this complex was a dry cleaner / laundry. We took a bag of clothes to be washed at a laundry and for 11 euros, about $15, the large bag came back sweet and clean. This is worth any price, to not wash clothes in sink and hope they dry. Since our cider farm in Brittany, I have been washing all along the way and am getting a little tired of it. Barry was holding out for a professional do do his 🙂
We return the car tomorrow, then train to Switzerland to see a cruise friend in Zurich, then to Basel to join river cruise. We are nearing our last leg in Europe.