October 22nd–Touring Vosges Area

Today was a leisurely day of site seeing in the Vosges area.  We made our way to Colmar though a thick fog.  As we climbed in altitude and rose above the fog we were treated to some spectacular views from high above the fog.  We passed though the forest Communale de Soultzeren.  There are ski lifts near the summit.  Parts of this road that we are on is where the Tour de France is held.

As we descend closer to the German boarder we are entering the town of Munster famous for their cheese.  As we enter the city of Colmar is is bigger than what I imagined.  But the area that we are interested in is ancient.

We boarded a small tour train upon our arrival.  The 40 minute ride gave us a very good introduction to the city.  After the ride we made our way to the Old Market Hall for lunch.  The old market is next to Petite Venice a small canal running through town with beautiful old buildings.  Colmar was an economic powerhouse in the 15th and 16th centuries and was one of ten imperial cities ruled directly by the Roman Emperor.

One outstanding feature of the town is the Half-Timbered Houses.  The exposed timbers of the homes make for a beautiful and charming look to the area.  As we strolled around we saw several works of Frederic Auguste Bartholdi the sculptor of our Statue of Liberty.  The Church St. Martin built in 1235 was especially impressive.

We walked by the House of Heads or Maison des Tetes.  Built in 1609 the front is decorated with 100 faces and masks.

We then boarded our bus and headed for the town of Riquewihr on the Alasac Wine route in Eastern France. This town a half hour away has preserved its ancient look and was fascinating just to stroll around. The Dolder Tower built in 1291 is impressive. We visited the Tour des Voleures a former prison with torture instruments.

The day is quickly coming to an end and with it our last night in our hotel in Gérardmer.

合掌、
Rev Shinseki