One of our favourite forms of sightseeing
26.05.2017 - 26.05.2017 25 °C
Day 2 Friday 26 May 2017
Freyming to Xonrupt - Longemer / 230 km
- Fine, sunny & cloudless blue sky - no really! We are so lucky.
- Despite earplugs and eye blinds we are woken early by the persistent squawking of a crow or two. There must be a nest or a meeting perch just outside our velux window. Each type of bird has its moment of glory during the dawn chorus - it would seem the crow has its turn first. What a nasty bird, and how ugly its call.
- Jean Pierre, the B & B owner and as we discover trained masseur, ( he is a big strong man with large hands! ) has already been to the local bakery. We enjoy delicious fresh rolls & croissants at breakfast.
- It would be music to the ears of many a classic rally navigator - JP kindly allows us to make our picnic lunch direct from his breakfast table. No surreptitious food pilfering is necessary in this establishment. What a star!
- We leave Freyming around 9. It's evidently white asparagus season - roadside stalls are selling this tasty vegetable along our route.
- AG has planned today's journey. For the first 70 km we travel along a minor motorway until we reach the start of the Route des Vins d'Alsace. Wine routes - one of our favourite kind of sightseeing. This route des vins meanders some 120 km along the eastern foothills of the Vosges, a range of small mountains or rather big hills.
- We are not alone - today is the start of the Ascension weekend and France is having a 4 day break. There's a lot of leisure activity going on. The roads are busy with motorcyclists, cyclists and cars alike, but the infrastructure can cope and we experience no traffic jams.
- We're not driving the whole route, just a short section which leads us through typical Alsacien villages & towns such as Obernai, Mittelbergheim and Dambach la Ville. All offer great examples of half timbered houses, flower boxes full of flowering geraniums and quaint public fountains. And vineyards.
- The name of tonight's destination, Xonrupt Longemer is obviously of Alsacien origin. Alsatian / elsaessisch is an alemannic dialect of German, similar to that spoken in nearby German regions and Switzerland. But it has no written form & Interpretative spelling on menus etc is a rather ad hoc affair. Apparently pronunciation varies greatly.
- Language & politics do not necessarily respect the same geographical borders. This is true the world over. Although we are in France, true locals of this area also speak an Alsacien dialect. When SG overhears some local women conversing in the street, she understands not a word despite being pretty conversant in both French and German. Really names are linguistically very interesting in this part of the world. Earlier today for example we stopped for fuel at "Aire de Katzenkopf". The first two words being obviously French and the latter having firm German roots.
- We pass within 30 km of Strasbourg. It is the capital of Alsace and a fairly significant centre of various European institutions: European Parliament, Council of Europe, & the European Court of Human Rights. Given Alsace's frequent & enforced change of ownership, it is not surprising that after World War 2, it became the symbol of hope for future Franco German relations and of pan European projects.
- We have booked a table at L'Hors du temps in a nearby town called Gerardmer. We are looking forward to sampling some Alsacien wine with our meal. We have noted that the Sylvaner grape is grown around such wine villages as Mittelbergheim - of grand cru quality. But the region also produces fine Riesling, Pinot Gris and Gewürztraminer wines. We will take advice.
- We choose a bottle of Pinot Gris, which is a bit sweet for our palate. Not syrupy sweet, fruity sweet. But it goes well with AG's first course of Foie Gras.
If you happen to be in this part of world we recommend both our Chambres d' Hote ( L' Eden de Floridylle ) and the L'hors du temps restaurant. An appropriate name since we always seem to be out of time!out of time!