Colmar is a picturesque town in the Alsace region of France known for its lovely Marchés de Noël, or Christmas markets. I have wanted to check out the town for quite some time, regardless of the season, but it never worked out. Now with a departure date ticking down, I knew this Christmas would be my last chance. I’d set up two potential dates to go. The first one called for rain/snow and temperatures of 33. It wasn’t very appealing to have a temperature hanging at the freezing mark but not committing to freezing ( and thus snow which is better than rain), so Plan B became the fall-back.
I awoke last Thursday (Plan B) to another forecast of rain and 33 degree temps. But a little freezing rain wasn’t going to stop me this time, especially with it being the last chance! I took off, connecting in 3 towns, for a trip of about 3 hrs & 45 minutes through Northern Switzerland and into Eastern France.
I had about five minutes of no rain where I captured a few photos.
Then, the rain showers came…and continued. It even started snewing, which is my word for the wet thick fat snow / rain combo. While I love snowing, I don’t love snewing. It doesn’t stick, but just makes everything wet. It was interesting to balance the umbrella and take photos!
I ended up staying a few hours to visit all five of the markets in Colmar, and coming home very soggy. However, I am happy to have gotten my fill of Alsace Christmas beauty, as evidenced in these snapshots.
If you are ever in Alsace, I have heard from friends that the wine road is really cool. My PT recommended biking it in the summer. S & S loved exploring it as well as some of the other quaint Alsace towns. While I didn’t have it in me this trip, I’ll provide a few related posts to this area below:
Living in Geneva: Deck the Halls
Schwingen in Switzerland: Too Much Can Get You Alsauced, Alsace’s Wine Route (Route du Vin)
Schwingen in Switzerland: Colorful Colmar
Schwingen in Switzerland: Euguisheim, The Cutest Town In The World?
Schwingen in Switzerland: The Malgre Nous, Forced To Fight Against Their Country of Birth During WWII.
One of my favorite neighborhoods in Geneva is Carouge. It just has a beautiful feel to it, with an influence of Mediterranean in its architecture and its many artisans for residents. In fact, you can often see them working away in their shops, making everything from hand.
As December arrives, Carouge dresses up in the finest Christmas decorations to show its spirit, and also make its lovely shops inviting. Last week, my photo group met up for a drink and to take some photos of this great neighborhood. Here are some of mine:
And also there are the Santas! Every shop has one, but they are slightly different in dress.
Some are even themed to their shop!
We thought as long as we were all the way in Edinburgh, we should see some of Scotland’s countryside. We’d booked a small bus tour, a twelve seater, out of Edinburgh on Grey Lines for Saturday. It picked us up at 8:45 in the morning.
Our first stop was Glasgow where we saw the cathedral where St Valentine is buried as well Georges Square. We were then onto Loch Lomond and had the option of taking a boat tour. Although chilly, we decided to take the plunge into the water on the small vessel. We delighted in lovely Scottish views.
We then continued to the town of Aberfoyle and onto Duke’s Pass where we viewed ‘the Highlands in Minature’. Our uber-short time in Scotland (36 hours on the ground) didn’t leave time to go to the Highlands, in the North part of the country. Nevertheless, the scenery in the midlands was really neat and we enjoyed the unique animals.
We ventured on to Stirling and had an opportunity to explore. While we didn’t go into the castle, we had a good time meandering around. We tried not to fall down on the rock solid ground and icy paths. And, when we got too chilly, we headed to a local pub for a scotch.
While we were continually cold that day, we’ll always have warm memories of Scotland.
We never saw Edinburgh when it was truly light……we arrived after dark Friday evening, spent the entire Saturday on a countryside tour which departed before the sun was fully up, and departed for the airport at 8:00 Sunday morning.
But, still, we enjoyed seeing this beautifully historic city. We found it vibrant, active and loved the architecture. Below are a few images:
As I mentioned last week, if we are on a road trip, we love to discover interesting places to stop on the way home.
As we left Champagne around 11am, our lunchtime fell in the town of Troyes, France. We parked and while exploring a place to grab some food, soon designated this as the most crooked town we’d ever seen. No, not because of any shady deals that took place. Literally, the architecture:
Lonely Planet highlighted an alley way called the “tiny street of the cats”, and it was crooked as well.
Even me, who hangs up the most crooked of photos and pictures and can’t draw a straight line to save my life found it uncomfortable!
While you might not be able to live this way permanently, Troyes was still pretty cute.
By the way, in French, Troyes isn’t pronounced Troys or Troy but Twaaaah. Before I mastered this knowledge, the French would have considered my speech a little crooked as well!