ELAINE QUEHL, Quilt Artist, Teacher, Dyer, Designer

Friday, October 13, 2017

The Charm of Strasbourg

I didn't really have any preconceived notions about the City of Strasbourg. To me it was a city that we would fly into and fly out of in order to visit the wine route and villages of the Alsace. We decided to stay there the last three nights of our trip.

We were warmly welcomed to Strasbourg! As we were checking into our hotel, I saw this cat watching us from the apartment across the street. When it sensed that I too was looking at it, it began to perform :-)

Strasbourg is a city of about 200,00 inhabitants. It was also a pleasant surprise. We were asked incredulously by a local as to why we would choose to go to Strasbourg when we could go to Paris? Well frankly, I prefer smaller cities. Strasbourg was very walkable and very charming. Our hotel was near the University, and just outside the old city, which is surrounded by a canal. All we had to do was walk down our street, cross a bridge over the canal, and we were soon in the old town.

Like many European cities, the main square of Strasbourg contains a very large and beautiful cathedral.

It is an intricate and artful piece of architecture.

We spent a lot of time just walking the streets and soaking in the ambiance. OK, we also indulged in some pastries. Of note, wherever there are crowds of people (airports, train stations, shopping districts, the main squares) you will find groups of police and military on patrol. They carry large machine guns. I guess this is a result of terrorist attacks in recent years.

This is the canal that encircles the old part of the city.

Again the canal, with the Strasbourg Cathedral in the distance.

This is the final post sharing our wonderful time in the Alsace. Since being home, I've been busy dyeing kits, and preparing for classes this fall. I will be heading out to Newmarket, Ontario later this month.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The Haut Koenigsburg Castle and the Town of Eguisheim

You may have noticed we had a fair number of cloudy days and some showers during our trip, but things improved a great deal during the second week.

We spent a day visiting the Chateau Haut-Koenigsbourg, built in the 12th century, and restored by German Enperor Wilhelm II at the turn of the 19th century. I've probably mentioned before in my posts that the Alsace region passed between France and Germany several times during many tumultuous centuries.

The views from the castle are spectacular. The number of stairs inside are challenging and remind me that few people lived long enough to have arthritis in those days. Lots of spears and weapons inside from many years of conflict.

On our drive back to our little blue cottage in Bergheim, we explored the village of Rodern and the vineyards surrounding it. Well mainly we looked for a good view of the church through the vineyard.

On our last day along the wine route, we explored the beautiful village of Eguisheim. Certainly one of the prettiest, loved by tourists (although not too crowded). Two of the most appealing features are the beautiful fountain in the town centre, along with the many narrow cobbled streets.

While all the villages are decorated with flowers, Eguisheim really takes it seriously!

In that fountain in the town square, I found these sparrows bathing. I spent a fair bit of time photographing and am enamoured by the thought of using these photos as inspiration for a quilt. Stay tuned!

Monday, October 9, 2017

Of Vineyards and Villages

The villages we stayed at in the Alsacian region of France, were situated along the wine route. This route extends for about 170 km with numerous vineyards along the way. So we often found ourselves driving along the tiny roads that pass through the vineyards. Sometimes we would just sit and admire for a while, and sometimes we would take lots of photos.

This is one of my favorite photos, and really captures the experience for me. It was taken late in the day when the light is magical. Love the light and shadows!

You can see autumn had also arrived.

The little village of Hunawihr is situated among the vineyards. This is the sight that greets you as you approach the village.

In our opinion, Huhnawihr is also one of the prettiest villages we visited.

Check out the main flower-bedecked intersection. There is an old decorated well, and in the building is a fantastic restaurant that serves Alsacian fare.

This is the view from the church in the earlier photo above. What a panorama! I love the lines of the roads that cut through the vineyards, and isn't that round tree just the little bit of variety this composition needs?

Another popular village we visited, not too far from Hunawihr, is Riquewihr. This one is raved about in tourist books, but the result is that it is way too packed with tourists.

It's certainly a pretty village with interesting architecture, and lots of shops.

This is the one memory of Riquewihr that stands out most in my mind: the macaron tree!

We noticed that many villages have memorial statues to honour those that died in the first and second world wars. Let's not let there be another war!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

The Little Blue Cottage in the Walled Village of Bergheim

After four nights in Ottrott, Alsace, France, we moved south for six nights, to the little blue cottage in the village of Bergheim. 

Some mornings this cat would be sunning itself in the window of the yellow house next door.

We chose well in choosing Berghaim. It was definitely one of the prettiest villages we visited. Not touristy, fairly quiet, with friendly people, and an amazing boulangerie (bakery)!. You can still see, and walk around, the original wall that circles the village. The wall was important protection against invaders during a time when battles and feuds were frequent in this area. The view you see in the photo below, was the section of wall that ran just behind our little blue cottage.

Other sights along the wall.

This was not my first time walking the wall of a medieval walled village, and once again I commented on how interesting it was to look into people's backyards.

These are esome of the original gates where you enter the village. Just inside the north gate is a row of plane trees. That's my husband being a tree hugger on the right.
Time for another espresso!

One day we drove to Rosheim, another pretty medieval village very close to Bergheim. Here are the gates.

This Romanesque church dating to the 12th century.

On the left is the 300 year old well. Most villages have at least one well no longer in use.

The patina of time shows in the moss coloured roof tiles

and the weathered shingles.