Published: June 11th 2012June 11th 2012
Before we left home we made two resolutions. The first not to travel along the same road twice. This relates to years of staying in gites or rented houses where we drew a 75 mile radius around the property and found ourselves travelling up and down the same road every day. The second was to have an open mind about the villages of Alsace. Blogs had suggested that when you had seen one village you had seen them all.
We loved the area and paid for another two nights stay before we left to visit Eguisheim. We broke our first rule by having to drive along the same Colmar road we had arrived on. It was though beautiful and I spent time trying to take photos through the van window .None of which did justice to the scenery.
The town is mainly German speaking. Eguisheim is a much loved and much visited town on the wine route. Mostly made up of medieval buildings it seemed an interesting place to visit. We were prepared to ignore the second remark as we felt that each town would have its own individuality and it would be interesting to compare and contrast Eguisheim
Before we set out we paid for two extra nights at the campsite as it was handy and a good site for touring the area.
We arrived at Eguisheim at 8.30 on a holiday morning and found the local car park empty. We picked a large plot, paid our 2 euros and noticed that we were parked in a bus parking spot. As the car park was empty it was not difficult to find somewhere else to park. Our first destination was the photogenic Rue des Ramparts Nord. A cobbled street which followed the footprint of the towns ramparts. The houses all neatly painted in luscious pinks and peaches and pale greens were adorned with boxes of geraniums. Pots filled with plants lined the street outside the doors and up the steps which led to front doors. The twin street to the Rue des Ramparts Nord was the Rue des Ramparts Sud. Another neat cobbled street with painted and wooden houses.
The streets opened out to neat and tidy flower filled squares. Each square had its own fountain and water feature. Shops lined the streets, cafes opening for business, boulangeries selling all manner of bread
- kugelhofs at 14 and 18 euros which seemed excessively expensive. Charcuteries with wonderful displays of meat.
We stopped for a coffee and a pretzel. The pretzel a cross between bread and pastry and covered with salt.
As the morning wore on the crowds started to appear filling the tiny square beneath the pretty pink church.
We left to attempt a visit to the castle of Haut Konigsberg. High on a hill it was high on our list of to does. We had google earthed the road up and knew we could get the motorhome up the hairpin bends and that there was ample parking on the road further up. The drive up took longer than we thought it would as the road wound its way up the mountainside. Flowers lined the sides of the road and the view from the higher ground to the valley below spectacular. When we arrived at the roadside parking there was no room and it felt like the world and his dog had decided to visit the castle today. The lower car park was full and with nowhere to park we had to leave with a heavy heart and a sadness
to have missed such a lovely castle. The gendarmes instead of helping us to park seemed to be spending the day booking car who had one tyre over the white lines or were parked in more than one spot. It seemed like they like their English counterparts cannot miss the opportunity to issue a parking fine
When we arrived back on site our plot had been taken and we found our Dutch neighbours had moved in their caravan, car, awning and bikes having been told that they could park anywhere they liked. We tried to explain that we had paid for the spot but they would not move and we had to go to the reception to explain that personne in our emplacement. It did no good and we told to move somewhere else which we did. We spent the rest of the night wondering if someone else would turn up and want our new plot. Moral of the story, put chairs outside, place washing on a tree or washing line or buy a sign saying this is our plot Keep off !!!
Our other neighbours Vera and Peter had another soiree of cheese, biscuits and coffee inviting another English couple they found on the site. They were determined to make friends with every English person they could find. I did feel like that too as I started talking to another English couple who had a larger Swift model motorhome that I called Suzy's bigger sister. They had motorhomed for years and this was their second van. We discussed models, damaged locker doors -they had had no problems- cookers and the facilities in the van. They came to this part of the world to walk in the mountains and found the site handily situated.
We planned to visit another of the towns tomorrow Kaysersberg. This would be the last before moving on to Langres. Plan B as we never intended this as a destination but it is on the way home and I am sure we will enjoy it.