My Introduction to Alsace

Colmar Travel Blog

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This past weekend was really fun, but a little frustrating at the same time. On Saturday there were 5 of us who decided to take the train south to Colmar. Then from there we were going to take a bus to Keyserberg. Keyseberg is wine country. We were going to go wine tasting. So we got to the train station and were trying to buy our tickets on one of those machines. None of us could get the machine to take our cards. It was only later that we learned that European cards have a special chip in them and many machines only accept cards with the chip. So we went to the counter where they had a person who would give us the tickets. Apparently it was really good that we did this because the train system gives discounts to groups of 5 or more. So instead of paying 25 Euros that we thought we needed to, we each only had to pay 5.50. That was a really nice difference.

The train ride was fine. Their trains move fast. It is awesome. Nothing like Amtrack where it takes forever to get somewhere. So it was about ½ hour to Colmar. When we got there we decided to have lunch before taking the bus to the vineyard. We were all really hungry. Colmar is a really cute little town. So we had a nice lunch and then strolled around for a little bit. We had to go to the tourist office to figure out which bus we needed to take to get to Keyserburg. So they told us. But we were still really confused. We got to the bus stop a couple minutes early and there was a bus already there. However, it was up ahead of where we were, so we did not think that this was the bus that we needed to take. However, it turned out that it probably was the bus we needed. So we had to wait ½ hour for the next bus. So that bus shows up and as we are getting on we realize that if we take this bus it would only give us about 20 minutes at the vineyard before we would have to get on the last bus to take us back. So we decided not to go.

We got instead on the train headed for Strasbourg. Then we went to dinner. Dinners, or meals in general here take at least 1 ½ hours. The service is really slow, but that is just how things are done here. We went to a little Italian restaurant. The food was good. I am just ready to have a pizza that I don’t have to eat with a knife and fork. They don’t eat with their fingers here. The crust is really hard to cut to. By the end of the meal my wrist and fingers hurt from sawing away at the crust.

By the time we were done with dinner it was about 10:30 so we all decided that there was not much else we wanted to do so we went home. My friend Kelly lives very close to me, so we walked back together, which is really nice, because then I don’t have to walk home in the dark by myself.

The next day we had an outing with the entire program. I am not a big fan of getting together with the whole group. Everyone is really nice and everything, but there are a little over 40 of us and everything is just loud and obnoxious. I much prefer a smaller group. Kelly and I decided to meet near the school and walk to the meeting place together. The funny part was that she was running really late, and we still had to walk 10 minutes to the tram and then take the tram to the place where we were supposed to meet everyone. So she comes running up the street and then we start walking really fast and this car stops right next to us. I am thinking “what the heck is going on?” The next thing I know Kelly is getting in the car. I about yelled at her “What the hell do you think you are doing?” Then I realized it was our teacher and his wife. They were the tour leaders for the day. I felt like a real idiot then. So they picked us up and took us with them to the meeting place. Prof. Marxer, our teacher, said that he was afraid we were going to be late, so they decided to pick us up. That was a big relief because then we did not have to rush.

Our first stop of the day was to a Chateau. It was beautiful. It was positioned up on this very big hill and so it looks over much of the Alsace region. It has just the most amazing view ever. Of course my camera is broken so I could not take any pictures of it. I will be stealing everyone else’s pictures. (My camera was broken because it fell out of my pocket and the battery compartment broke and would not shut and finally got back to the point that it would not even turn on again.) We had a tour of the Chateau, then we went and had lunch.

Lunch was supposed to be a really special deal. They served us wild boar. It was good, but I don’t know what all the fuss was about. For the last week the teachers had been always telling us about how good the boar is. I liked it, but it really was not all the good. The texture of it was like roast beef, but it had its own flavor. I can’t really compare it’s taste to any other taste. It was just not really my thing.

After lunch we went to Colmar and were given an hour to wander around the town. However I was in Colmar the day before and so those of us who were there already just sat down at a café and had hot chocolate and coffee. It was actually really pleasant. We just sat there, drank, and talked.

Once we left there we went to a vineyard for wine tasting. It was supposed to be a ½ hour drive there, but we hit traffic, and it took us just over 2 hours. It was ridiculous. Once we did finally get there I had a really good time. We tried 4 types of wine. I liked 2 of them. I liked the Riesling, and another that is a German name and I can not for the life of me remember what it is called other than it starts with a “G” I will know it when I see it though. We spent about an hour there and then headed back to Strasbourg.

It was almost 9 pm by the time we got back and none of us had eaten dinner. We all also had a ton of homework to do. So we all went to McDonalds and grabbed a quick dinner and went home and did dinner. I was a little luckier than most because I brought my reading on the bus with me and I got a lot of my homework done on the bus. So I did not have to stay up as late as everyone else.

Well, that was my weekend. It was just a good introduction to my new home.

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photo by: Vikram