Monday, 9 May 2011

Friday 6th May 2011 - Monday 9th May 2011

Eguisheim, Des Trois Chateaux, (ACSI2011-1274)

An uneventful journey, except that Jane (the Sat-Nav lady) gave up the ghost completely. Not surprising really the amount of abuse she has had to put up with. Now when you switch on the Tom-Tom, it just keeps on asking you which voice you want to use, then, no matter which voice you choose, it restarts itself. This happens over and over again.

We have been to Eguisheim before (on our way to Croatia about three years ago). It is a beautifully preserved medieval village. Touristy of course, but not unbearably so. This part of France was once part of Germany and it looks very German, most of the place names sound German, even although according to the information boards it has been French since the 1600’s.

The site is one of those which is “natural” ie not all of the grass is neatly trimmed etc.

The pitches are set among trees. As ever the Dutch are here in large numbers, but there is a greater mix than we have had so far with French, Belgians, Germans, Danish, and even three other British vans, plus us of course.

As we sit eating our lunch, we are visited by a number of sparrows, who hop about eating the crumbs from our baguette.

Tomorrow is the weekend, so that means we have to find a church for Kathleen. We also need to find a shop, to buy mushrooms. We get the bicycles out and set off, we find the church relatively quickly, but no luck with a shop, so our plans for our evening meal are revised from Spaghetti Bolagnaise to Chilli Con-Carne. The exploring takes us 7 miles of cycling.

The weather is superb, even at 20:00 in the evening, it is 22Centigrade, as we stroll through the narrow streets of the village.

The site is called “Des Trois Chateaux” because there are three ruined Chateaux on the hill behind the site, reception have a map of a walk through the vineyards to the “Trois Chateaux”.

We decide, given how hot it is, that we will do the walk on Saturday morning, before the heat builds up.

You can see the three ruined chateaux on the hilltop (on the right) in the photograph.

We set off quite early (10:00), but already it is so hot we are pleased when we make to the forested area on the hill, to get some shade.

Kathleen as usual forges on ahead, and has a near miss with a small snake sunning itself of the path. I am no expert, but it is only a grass snake I think.

By 11:30, we have reached the top, Kathleen looks as fresh as a daisy not bad for a 64 year old who has just walked 3.5 miles up a steep hill!

Maybe Dr Thornley-Walker needs to reduce her tablets again!

The view is quite stunning, although the three chateaux are now in ruins.

As always I marvel at how on earth they transported all of this stone up here, and then build these enormous structures, all before any form of mechanisation?

The return journey is shorter only 2.5 miles, because we can take the steeper but shorter path downhill through the forest, so we have walked 6 miles in total.

In the evening, I wait in a nice little bar, whilst Kathleen attends church, then we find a pleasant little restaurant for our evening meal.

On Sunday morning, we cycle to Colmar, a ten mile round trip. We have a map from reception, but fail to follow it correctly on the way there, so although we are on a cycle track, it is alongside a fairly major road for most of the way.

There is some form of ceremony going on in Colmar today, a version of Rememberance Day I would guess, since there is much laying of wreaths by dignitaries, and marching of soldiers.

Soon however we are in our favourite position, ie in a pavement bar watching the world go by.

Colmar is quite a beautiful place with some fine buildings and an area of canals, called predictably enough “Little Venice”, where you can wander along the water side,

with the odd horse drawn tourist trip going by.

There are plenty of places to sit and enjoy a rest, or a picnic lunch, It is one of my most enjoyable pastimes when in France, to sit munching my way through a good French baguette.

When you are an OAP, you have to be uptodate on how to find the vital services, since you may find you need to visit them more than in your youth!

Particulalry when you have been visiting too many pavement bars.

But OAP or not, doesn’t she look a picture, outshining the flowers!

We manage to cycle back to the campsite via the correct route, which is just about all away from the main roads, and passes through quiet fields.

In the evening, there is much excitement on the site.

A stork lands in the middle of the site, and wanders around quite unperturbed, whilst everyone rushes to take photographs of it.

It is not unusual to see them circling in the sky, or perched on chimney pots, but I have not seen one this close up before. They are big birds, and it is not at all clear how it is going to manage to get airborne again from among the many trees.

I took this photograph, Kathleen says, is art, I think it just shows that “somebody” is not quite as tidy as they would like to think they are, and that the same “somebody” has too many pairs of shoes with them!

Monday we pack up, and set off for Freiberg. The Tom-Tom is broken, so we are now on Kat-nav (Kathleen-Navigating). We find our way no problem to Freiberg, but finding the site is another matter, and Freiberg is quite a big place. But, not bad, after only one false start (ie turning up at the wrong campsite), we find our way eventually, and we are still speaking to each other (only because I am so easy going).

Freiberg, Camping Hirzberg (ACSI2011-520)

The site is typically German, ir spotlessly clean and very well organised. The chap who books us in is just a little over the top, he not only gives a lengthy explanation of all there is to see and do in Freiberg, but also directs you to your pitch and has you manouvre (my spelling!) until you are neatly lined up with all of the other vans. All very nice however.

This is the area where you put your rubbish, it is so clean, neat, tidy and organised, it could only be in Germany or one of the Scandanavian countries.

Once settled in, and lunch eaten, we set off on foot to explore Freiberg (we are only 1.5km from the city centre). It is hot (27C) and sunny. A cooling beer is necessary.

In the pedestrian streets of the city centre, they have small water channels flowing to cool the place down!

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