Tuesday, July 06, 2010

France for the Fourth and Thank God for our Blessings

We ventured two and a half hours to Colmar, France for the 4th of July, and really enjoyed exploring this quaint and beautiful part of France. The drive out there and back was half the fun; we passed some cute villages and enjoyed seeing houses such as the one above and below. As Zev would say, "so French!" The French do have style!
Every day, we thank God for His blessings. Living in Germany has helped me be more grateful and humbled for the gift of life. Europeans like to stop and enjoy life (French like to REALLY savour it!), so I like to say thanks and hope that we can share our experiences and joys with you, our family and friends. We are also thankful for the little things, like our TomTom. That little gadget has gotten us around Europe- even the tiny, one way cobblestoned streets. Amazing.
Colmar is in the Alsace region of France, a region renowned for excellent food and wine. Colmar is in fact considered the capital of the Alsatian wine-region, and the little villages along the wine trail are too beautiful for just pictures; you really have to experience this magical region to believe it.

Colmar is also special to Zev and I, because one of our dear friends here in Germany, Romain, the husband of sweet Adele, originally comes from Colmar.
We drove out to Colmar on Sunday, July 4th, which was quite appropriate really, considering that this town is also the birthplace of Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi, the sculptor who designed the Statue of Liberty. Because we visited his museum on Independence Day, entry was free into this interesting collection of Bartholdi's works.
Colmar is a wonderful town to enjoy on foot. It reminded me a lot of the town we live in here in Germany, because of the medieval buildings and cobblestoned streets. Do you like this life-size replica of Miss Statue of Liberty's ear?
It was cool to see the many casts and moulds that the sculptor went through, in preparation for the final model which stands in New York today. I would love to visit New York city some day. Yes, although Zev is from NY, I haven't had a chance to visit the city yet. No rush though- I know when the time comes, we will really enjoy it! 
Summer time is a lovely time to visit little European villages, because all the flowers are in bloom and one can sit and dine al fresco and the days are light until late at night. Very romantic actually ;-))
We took a short "cruise" on a small boat through the "Little Venice" part of Colmar, which ran along some gorgeous old restaurants and hotels.
It was fun going under the little bridges and looking at the pretty Alsatian houses along the canal.
The canal cruise made me think of our previous home of Louisiana. The swampy parts of the canal and the architecture of some of the houses really reminded me of New Orleans. Must be that French influence, huh!
We even saw boudin sausages in the store!! And storks- the "state" bird of the Alsace region. They reminded me of Louisiana pelicans. I know they are not the same thing....but they do look awfully alike from a distance! A shout out to all our darling Louisiana friends reading this blog! We miss you and love you!!
Of course, when in France, one must try the local specialities! We visited a couple of places actually- had an appetizer of warm Camembert at one place and then (more cheese!), a gratin dish with a side salad and some Pinot Gris. I had the chevre, tomato and onion gratin (very delicious, very rich but very enjoyable!) and Zev had the "Colmarian" gratin which included ham.
The next day, we headed home via the "Route du Vin" where all the wineries and vineyards were located and the Alsatian pottery towns. We do get a kick out of the importance placed on regions here in Europe. For instance, if you want to buy pottery from Alsace, you go to the little tows where all the potters are located house after house on a street called Potters Lane (Rue du Pottiers). In the pottery town of Betschdorf for instance, although there were many potters on this one road, they all had the same last name- Schmitter! Guess pottery is the family business in this town! Likewise, if you would like to try a special wine or cheese, you go to that region where they stock their particular speciality (in Alsace, the regional cheese is the Munster cheese).
Although we didn't end up buying Alsatian pottery, we did enjoy checking out these storks nesting on a roof in the pottery town of Betschdorf. Their nests are HUGE! The cool thing about these storks is that they traditionally symbolize pregnancy/ upcoming motherhood. (The image of a stork carrying a baby in a bag).
In honor of Romain's Alsatian heritage, a family relative even dressed up as a stork at their wedding last year!
Zev was happy with his little afternoon treat- Chocolate Eclair!
Hope that you had a lovely weekend and a fun Fourth of July if you are reading from the US!
"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." Romans 12:12.


Lindsey said...

Is it bad that I am so jealous of your trips? You are such a jet setter! Looked like a great time. I know you and Leslie are going to have a blast in a few short weeks!

Laura and Ryan said...

Looks like fun! I LOVE your haircut!

Thank you so much for posting about my giveaway! Fingers crossed for you... ;)