Memories of Alsace

 

wine
Alsace mountainside, vineyards and a castle

We made some wonderful memories in the Alsace region of France.

After saying “Auf Wiedersehen” to Oberstdorf, we embarked on a train adventure to Lahr, Germany – an adventure because apparently the train can be late in Europe.

Luckily, with some help and re-routing, we arrived at our destination only one hour late. Our friends picked us up and we spent four days with them at their home in the little French village of Rhinau, France.

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Colourful buildings in every village, adorned with flowers

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What a beautiful area of the world. This region in eastern France, nestled on the Rhine River, has passed between French and German control four times since 1871. The area has its own dialect, and both the German and French languages are prevalent. Germany is just across the shores on the other side of the river, the villages in the valley are full of beautiful sights, while the mountainsides are full of vineyards. There is much history in the area, as witnessed in every village.

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Statue of Alsatian boy and girl in traditional costume, built into a teeter totter/waterfall

We wandered the little village of Rhinau, and our friends took us on two days of touring around the famous wine region of Alsace. We drove through, and stopped at, perfect little French villages, mountainsides covered with wine vines, castles, and trees turning fall colours.

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French village with castle in the distance

In Alsace, the houses are painted different colours, so each village is marked with brightly coloured stone chateaus. The villages are rated by the greenery and flowers growing in public areas, ranked as one- to four-flower villages depending on the beauty of the greenery.

Wines grow up the side of the mountains and produce grapes of a variety of white wines, and some red as well.

Most of the grapes in the region had been harvested when we arrived, so we were able to experience a Fete du Vin Nouveau, a festival to celebrate the harvest. There was music, food, families gathered to enjoy the festival, and of course wine.

We had the Vin Nouveau (new wine), which is sweet and murky, and the traditional tarte a l’oignon or onion tart. The wines then ferment and age and we sampled Riesling and Gewurztraminer from the region during our home-cooked meals.

French wine
Vin Nouveau and tarte a l’oignon

We also found a few vines with grapes still growing, and sneaked a taste of the juicy fruit. We sampled local cuisine such as tarte flambé. We walked the cobblestone streets, marveled at the old stone ramparts, moats, and remnants of past wars.

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Vineyards and castles galore!
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Wine grapes in the afternoon sun
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A monk watches over the grapes in this beautiful valley in the Alsace region of France

We would recommend a visit to Alsace, and hope we will return.

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