A La Retour
With a poor weather forecast, we set off back North, towards Kaysersberg. Only two hours away, so it was still early when we arrived. Even so the “aire”, a large car park within 5mins walk of the historic town, which held 80 spaces, had about 4 free spaces by 3pm!
As I mentioned before, when we called in here on the way down, Kaysersberg is a Christmas, Gingerbread of a town. Medieval, with houses dating back to the 1300s, a bridge fortified in the 1400s, it lies on the border between France and Germany. The locals speak French, but the street names are in French with German subtitles, and the delicious pastries all have German names- Kugelhopf, Linzer tarte, Quetsches. Qutcsches are blueberry tarts, and Kugelhopf are wonderfully light brioches, which can be savoury, filled with lardoons and cheese, or sweet, with raisins and almonds. As in Switzerland, the drink of choice is white beer, again something you don’t often see in France. There’s also a big thing about smoked pork, in sausage and ham form, garnished with “choucroute”/ sauerkraut! (We’ve brought some back to try for lunch tomorrow). Sitting in a café,eating sausage and choucroute, with white beer, surrounded by timber-framed buildings, dripping with geraniums, and you might imagine yourself in Bavaria!
The town was and still is famous for its pottery production, and there is a pottery market every Saturday- beautiful but pricey!
Albert Schweizer, the famous medical missionary, was born here. We visited his home/museum. He set up and ran a hospital in Africa, was a proficient organist, and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He died in 1965, aged 90. That was when I remember learning about him in Padiham Green Junior School, aged 10!
On the way back to the van, we bought a few bottles of Gewurztraminer and Cremant, and I called in at a small “cave”, run by Francois Stoll. I apologised for my poor French and said how frustrating it was to try and have a conversation! He then told me about the story in the Bible of the Tower of Babel, reminding of how before this every one spoke the same language, and after the goings-on in Sodom and Gomorrah, we were punished by an inability to communicate with each other! Must look that up when we return! Lovely guy, who didn’t seem to mind at all that this crazy, English woman wanted a natter and was only buying two bottles of his lovingly-produced pinot-noir! The way out took me through his rambling “atelier”, full of wood and housing a 1930s motor-bike. When I told him that we hoped to cycle on the Route de Cretes,, he said he could never understand the attraction of cycling, when there were perfectly good engines there to do the job.