Thursday, August 23, 2007

In the Drome, France

8/17 – Friday
One more morning at our favorite cafĂ©… the hot chocolate is the best. We bought a whole kilo of it. We took off fairly early and headed south toward Dijon. We arrived at the hotel outside Dijon at 7:30. The “Premier classe” motel was bare bones basic: a tiny room with one window, a tiny prefab bathroom, and three beds with metal frames. No pictures on the walls, nothing but the necessities. It reminded us of a ship cabin - We went on in to town and picked up Celia, Keith and Rebecca at the train station.

8/18 – Saturday

Loading the luggage this morning was a challenge. We were packed all the way to the ceiling. The five of us shoehorned ourselves in and drove toward Dieulefit. On the way, we passed by a dramatic mountain range, then went up and over a high hill with many switchbacks. We arrived at the house at about 7, and were greeted by an enthusiastic Scholten family. They had prepared dinner. The house is very nice, with plenty of bedrooms and a nice outside patio with a view of the hills nearby.

8/19 – Sunday
After having tea, melons, and yogurt, all nine of us drove away toward Nyon.
There we experienced another French market. Pottery, lavender, soaps, and clothing were plentiful. Our last stop of the day was a “cave du vin” where one could taste and buy. Jan spent a long time talking with the lady there about the different wines. We tasted by sniffing, then tasting, holding it in our mouths and spitting it out. Jan bought quite a few bottles of wine, which wasn’t very expensive, between 4 and 10 euros per bottle.

Fill 'er up! People came in with large containers to get their wine.

8/20 – Monday
We ended up going on a hike from the house, into Dieulefit, then up to Montagne des Ventes – 600 or so meters of elevation gain, and steep. We were able to see Dieulefit as well as the next valley, up toward the Foret de Saou, a rugged mountain range. We stopped at a viewpoint and ate bread. The way down was really steep and difficult. We finished the walk by walking back into Dieulefit, eating ice cream, and looking around at stores.

In Avignon, "sur la pont"

We took a drive and then a very steep hike at ForetdeSaou. What a view!

Some of the joys of the market in Dieulefit!

Celia and Keith at nearby Poet Laval.

Friday, August 17, 2007

16 August - Route du Vin

16 August – Route du Vin
As we left the hotel on the way to our favorite boulangerie, we were delighted to discover that there was a market in Obernai. We spent at least an hour sampling cheese and sausage, buying bread and fruit, and looking at the wares of the many merchants. Then we headed by car to the “route de vin”, heading south today.
In addition to visiting several medieval towns, we hiked to the ruined castle Bergstein, where we ate lunch overlooking the villages we had just driven through.

15 August - Strasbourg

8/15 – Wednesday
A day in Strasbourg

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Getting Alsaced

Yesterday we arrived in Cologne, Germany in the morning and drove to the Alsace region of France. Below are pictures of Obernai, where we are staying. With the help of coffee in the morning and melatonin at night, we haven't experienced much of the discomforts of jet lag.

On Day one we visited the castle ruins of Fleckenstein. This castle fortress was built right into a rock.

Day two began with a lovely breakfast of quiche, pastries and cafe au lait. We drove the route du vin through beautiful contryside and villages. Here is the gate of Rosheim.

Most of the towns have a medieval town well.

We drove to the top of Mont de Odile, where there was a monastery set on a spot with cliffs on three sides. We took a walk along a wall built by Celts.

We ate grapes, took pictures of grapes, and sampled some wines.