On Sunday morning, we got up and had breakfast at the hotel. I picked up an egg I thought was boiled, but when I cracked it, it turned out to be raw inside. That did little to make me feel good about the culinary wonders of Alsace. Fortunately, there were croissants, loaves of bread, cold cuts, cheeses, yogurts, and juices to be had. Bill and I filled up, marveling at how good the local honey was. I don’t usually like honey very much, but we ended up buying some from the hotel.
This was near Mulhouse. I thought it was appropriately phallic looking, so I photographed it.
Many roads in eastern France have neat rows of trees on either side next to fields.
I hope the person who owns that house is getting paid big bucks for letting Clear Channel put that ugly ass billboard in their front yard.
Cameras are always watching you…
We decided to drive around the area to see what was there. First, we went to Mulhouse, which is a large city and not nearly as cute or charming as Colmar is. I was glad we were based in Colmar instead of Mulhouse because what we saw of it wasn’t very attractive. But I will admit we didn’t hang around there for long. Instead, we drove northwest through lots of cute little French towns that were totally dead. The weather wasn’t all that great because it was a bit cloudy and rainy. I managed to take some pictures, though, and noticed that France doesn’t seem to completely shut down on Sundays like Germany does.
One of many cute but deserted towns we drove through…
A deserted snack stand on the way up a mountain side.
Brief instances of sunshine… It didn’t last.
Cool looking tattoo parlor.
When it got to be lunch time, we started searching for somewhere to eat. We finally found signs of life in a town called Remiremont in Lorraine. We parked the car, again for free, and started walking. Bill really needed to find a bathroom and finally found a public one that cost 40 euro cents. But he didn’t have the right change. I put in 40 cents and got a buzz and a locked door for my trouble. We kept walking around and finally ended up at a creperie called La Gavotte.
Helpful map for tourists.
We went in there and sat down. A baby was crying and my nerves were a bit jangled because I was hungry and my blood sugar was dropping. Bill looked at me and asked, “Do you need wine?” I nodded, so he asked the very friendly proprietor for a carafe of sauvignon blanc. While Bill was using the one toilet in the place, which he had to climb a flight of spiral stairs to get to, I watched the guy draw the wine from a box in a nearby fridge. I had to laugh at that. It was decent wine, but getting it from a box seemed decidedly “un-French”. When I went up to use the unisex bathroom, there was a guy ahead of me waiting. He was pretty funny when he came out, wiping his brow, smiling, and saying “Phew!”
Yesterday’s special at La Gavotte…
Bill savors the cheese. My husband loves all dairy, especially stinky and flavorful cheeses. I can barely tolerate sharp cheddar. The raclette was mild enough that I could eat some of it. A little went a long way, though. Next time, I’ll get one with a less pungent cheese.
Dessert was fabulous… the man gave Bill the colonel. Under normal conditions, it would have made sense, since he is a colonel. He had to drive, though, and the vodka would have put him in dangerous territory.
We both had the daily special, which was a galette with ham, raclette cheese, béchamel sauce, and potatoes, and a small green salad with a delicious mustard vinaigrette. I am not a big fan of raclette; it tends to be a little too strong for me. Bill loved it, though, because it was obviously made from raw milk. I ate maybe half, though I loved the salad with its tangy dressing and fresh greens. Frankly, after the dinner we had that was swimming in sauce, my body was wanting some roughage.
After we ate lunch, we had dessert. I had a “colonel”, which was two scoops of lemon sorbet with vodka poured over them. Bill had a salted caramel sundae, which was absolutely delicious. My dessert was good, too… but I knew that with the wine, water, and “wodka”, I would soon be swimming in the urge to pee. I did my best to relieve myself as much as possible before we left, but within a half an hour, I had to pee like a racehorse.
By the time we passed this lake, I was about to bust.
We were by that time in Gerardmer, a touristy looking town by a lake that had a map that showed there were public toilets. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find them. And when Bill asked at a gas station, they couldn’t help us with a toilet or directions to one. So I ended up finding a quiet spot behind some bushes. It was raining, so at least I know my whiz got rinsed. I wouldn’t have done that under ordinary circumstances, but I seriously had to go. Besides, we did see a man rather brazenly zipping himself after peeing on the side of the road.
After that, we started heading back to Colmar. Our route took us through the beautiful forested Vosges Mountains. There were lots of golden leaves to be seen and even a couple of natural archways as we made our way through switchbacks and around cute little mountain towns. Even though it was raining, it was really beautiful. I can see why the area attracts travelers and skiers.
A natural bridge. Too bad the wipers were going.
We got back to the hotel at about 5:00 and decided we didn’t want to deal with dinner in Colmar again. Instead, we had dinner at the hotel… and it turned out to be a great decision. Even though Le Relais du Ried is a basic, family owned hotel, it boasts a wonderful restaurant with a talented chef. I had delicious duck breast for dinner, while Bill enjoyed veal with mushrooms and noodles. We washed down dinner with a lovely bottle of Rhone wine. Bill loves wine from southern France. For dessert, I had three kinds of creme brûlée. He had two kinds of chocolate mousse. And then we shared a bottle of Alsatian riesling that was surprisingly good and not too sweet.
There were a few kids eating with their parents in the hotel restaurant. One was a boy who appeared to be about four years old. He had a pacifier in his mouth. It was kind of odd because he looked a bit old to be sucking on a plug. The kid and his parents sat near us and though he acted up a little bit, he was basically well behaved. We saw him again this morning and he said “Au revoir” to everyone. It was very cute!
There was also another American couple there– older folks who appeared to be Francophiles. And lots of Germans. I had to admit, the staff did a good job keeping up with everyone’s languages
France is sooo pretty!