Flashback: Somewhere between it all in Alsace

COLMAR, ALSACE, FRANCE — Cross the Rhine from Germany and you step into a world between worlds. Not German, but not really French; Alsace is a place all its own. And for a long weekend in spring, it was ours as well.

AlsaceThis May, we were lucky enough to join yet another Heigert Hochzeit — this time Christoph and Verena exchanged vows in the wine country outside of Freiburg, Germany on the edge of the Black Forest. Not only was it a beautiful wedding with friends and family, but it put us within striking distance of Alsace, a location still on our Europe bucket list.

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IMG_0925 IMG_0917 IMG_0942So for a long weekend in May, Jakob, Darcy and Jonathan joined us in exploring this historic and completely mesmerizing area between two countries.

We set up our HQ in the little canal town of Colmar, at the far southern end of the Route des Vins d’Alsace, a windy two lane route that takes you though the low valleys and vine-laced hills of one of France’s most important wine regions.

Colmar is famous for its half-timbered houses and canals that are sort of a mix of Bretagne and Venice. In fact, we stayed in the small area of town called Petit Venisse, due to the number of canals and boats toting wide-eyed tourists. In fact our apartment rental sat right on one of the main canals, meaning evenings were spent sipping wine and chatting canal-side on our own private dock (where the oldest outhouse toilet in town notoriously sat).

IMG_1002 IMG_0999IMG_0976IMG_1023IMG_0981 IMG_0997IMG_0998 IMG_1017IMG_1047 IMG_1051 IMG_1062 IMG_1058 IMG_1061 IMG_1025IMG_1074

IMG_1129IMG_1038 It turned out that we arrived in time just for one of the many wine festivals.

Rieslings and Gewurztraminers dominate the rocky terroir and cool, wet climate here and Alsatians are quick to pair these crisp dry wines with their famous version of the German Flammkuchen, or Tarte Flambee in French.

So we winded our way through town, munching and sipping to our hearts’ content.

IMG_1055 IMG_1035 IMG_1033IMG_1034IMG_0961 IMG_0966 IMG_0973IMG_0959IMG_1198The next day it was off to explore the Route des Vins itself.

We stopped first in the town of Riquewihr, an unbelievably picturesque collection of pastel-colored houses, cobblestone streets and fairy tale ramparts.

At the heart of the Route des Vins, its home to some of the most acclaimed wine makers in Europe.IMG_1239

IMG_1202 IMG_1217 IMG_1222 IMG_1219 IMG_1204 IMG_1231 IMG_1232 IMG_1235 IMG_1240IMG_1238 IMG_1236We walked through town and then up into the woods and vineyards that covered the hillside, giving us an amazing overview of the region from a bird’s eye view.

Walking through the vines made us understandably thirsty, so we dipped in to the Domaine Dopff winery for tastes and a few cases for the road.

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Afterwards it was further north to the impressive structure of the Ch ateau Haut-Koenig sburg. This massive fortress was the centerpiece of the region as it exchanged hands between the revolving owners of German, French and Austrian conquerors.

If only we had more time to explore this magical place, we would have continued up the route and unlocked its many treasures. But like the best of the Alsatian Rieslings, sometimes just a taste is all you get and maybe all you need, before leaving the wonderland between worlds and heading home.

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