Sunday, September 7, 2014

A Little Bit of Baden Baden and a Bit More of Alsace

We wanted to show Abby and Jack a bit more of Germany and some beautiful parts of France, so we headed out one afternoon to Baden-Baden, Germany.  It is a famous spa town very close to France (baden translates to bathing, to bathe or baths).  And so nice they named it twice (not my joke).  

We found a festival on the grounds of the Baden-Baden Casino and grabbed some French food for dinner.  The dress code for the casino is jackets and ties for men, so we just stuck to walking around outside and enjoying a beautiful night.

The next morning we spent a few minutes checking out the town (but saved the spas for our next visit).  It's a beautiful and historic area that was initially founded in the Middle Ages and has been popular since Roman times for the natural spring baths.  Its heyday was during the 19th century when celebrities and other wealthy people were attracted to the high class casino, the luxury hotels, the horse races, and the gardens.

And then we were on our way to France!  We took the scenic route through the Black Forest, stopped at the ruins of Kloster Allerheiligen (All Saints' Abbey, built in 1192) along the way and checked out the nearby nature trail.  

Which included a long stretch of rushing waterfalls (Allerheiligen-Wasserfälle).
Jack loves it when you take pictures of him.

And then we finally made it to France!  Our first stop was in Colmar, a very cute town filled with colorful homes down every street. Of course, we started with food.

Rosti potato deliciousness.  And more macaroons.
Our last stop in Colmar was a section of town called Little Venice.  There is a canal winding through the middle with some of the prettiest buildings and flowers you've ever seen.

The next morning we headed out to explore the Alsace Wine Route, a series of towns among the vineyards of Alsace.  We started in Eguisheim, which is a particularly tiny, but cute town.  The roads in the town extend in a circular pattern from the town square.  Many of the roads are too narrow for cars, so you have to park outside of the town and walk (we found the outer ring to be the cutest).

From there, we rented some bikes and headed out into the vineyards for a lovely ride.  The weather was perfect and the vineyards were getting close to harvest time.

After all that hard work biking, we rewarded ourselves with a few more glasses of Cremant d'Alsace (French sparkling wine that doesn't actually come from Champagne) and some crepes.  

We spent a few more minutes enjoying the vineyards on our way back ... and then stopped for more wine.

After a long day, we headed back to Germany.  And Matt got to impress Abby and Jack with his Autobahn driving speeds.

I think they enjoyed driving fast.
We're so glad that Abby and Jack were able to visit us.  We love the opportunity to take visitors to explore new places around us.  Come back soon!!!

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