Strasbourg, France: I had planned a day trip to nearby (so nearby we passed through it yesterday on our train from Basel) Colmar. This cute little Alsatian town is also built around canals, except these canals are so small and quaint the town has the moniker Little Venice. Except not really. The canals are very small, the boats (not gondolas) traversing the canals are very small, the bridges passing over the canals are very low and the "gondoliers" are not wearing striped shirts... plus the boats go basically no where. We did not take a boat ride.
Backing up a bit, we bought a day-pass for the tram near our hotel that goes to the train station.
We are I am now quite savvy with downloading transit apps, using apple pay, and basically getting us all around Europe with my phone. On our way to the Strasbourg train station on the tram, I purchased rail tickets to Colmar. There was no 1st class/reserved seat option. This train was loaded to the rafters. Sardines. Passengers were standing in the aisles. I was pretty much aghast that young students were sitting in comfy seats with several old ladies standing in the aisles next to them. Bad thoughts were going through my little brain. But, I must apologize to all the young people because as soon as the train began to move, the kids stood up and offered the old ladies their seats. Guess it is the local custom to wait until the train moves, just in case a seat would be available to the seniors? Don't know, but I was able to sit in comfort for the 31 minute ride to Colmar. Viva la France French parents!
Colmar is fairly condensed, so we were able to walk to the main part of town from the train station. The walk led us through a beautiful city park, Champ-de-Mars, with pretty fountains paying homage to Admiral AJ Bruat, born in Colmar:
Auguste Bartholdi, who designed the Statue of Liberty is from Colmar, and there is a small replica of the lady somewhere in the town (we did not find it), but Auguste Bartholdi also made a statue of another son of Colmar, General Rapp (1771-1821).
We saw all this just walking from the train station to the old part of Colmar. When we reached the main (touristy) part of town, we were rewarded with pretty half-timbered buildings hanging over narrow canals and tons of pretty hanging flower baskets.
One place we wanted to visit was the food market in Colmar. Again, we are sorry to not have a kitchen as everything looked so fantastic and fresh. This market is not much touristy - seems this is the place to actually shop in town.
Time for lunch. As long as we are in tarte flambee land, we found a little café that ONLY served the regional pizza-type flatbread. We had one with chicken and bell peppers.
Lisa keeps suggesting we eat more vegetables, but this restaurant sold booze and 13 different tarts. NOTHING else.
More photos from our after-lunch wanderings in pretty Colmar:
In the 13th century Colmar had a thriving Jewish community, but in the 14th century they were kicked-out and didn't reestablish themselves in Colmar until the French Revolution. This synagogue was built in 1834 and is the seat of the regional Jewish Consistory:
Know what I have learned? No matter how sturdy your footwear, it is a pain to walk on cobblestone day after day after day after day.
Seeing most of the things to see in Colmar, we began our walk back to the train station, traveling through the more modern part of town:
So... on our way back to the train station, I booked tickets for the 4:30-ish train to Strasbourg. This train had a first-class option and only made one stop, so we would be back to our hotel in time for a quick refresh before going to dinner. We arrived to the station with plenty of time to catch the train and then... you won't believe it... there was an accident somewhere on the line involving a injured person! Do we jinx train travel in Europe? Our train was delayed 15 minutes. Then 30. Then 90. All rail traffic on the line was halted completely, so we could not get a different train. Nothing to do but wait in 88 degree heat, standing track-side, praying for someone we do not know.
Dave recalled a few cafes on the street between the station and the park, so we headed out to find a cool place to wait. We found a cute little place, filled with locals which I thought odd as it was so near the station. The server told us people throw themselves on the track all the time (suicide) and just shrugged her shoulders as if it was as common as littering. Oh, goodness! After a few cool ones, we returned to the station and our train did arrive to carry us back to Strasbourg in 31 minutes. No news of the injured person. We grabbed a tram back to town and went immediately out for dinner as we were starving and it was getting late.
So thankful we have absolutely zero planned for tomorrow, but that doesn't mean a thing when you live with DT.
Until my next update, I remain, your unlucky correspondent.
Pedometer: 14,000. On cobblestone.