Saturday, June 14, 2014

The Vosges Mountains

Wednesday 11 June
After the past few busy days, we wanted a light day. All day yesterday we kept seeing stuff like this on top of the mountains. 

(I took this from a moving car)

(And this too)

Carole and Philippe tell us that the first picture is Château du Haut-Kœningsbourg, a big tourist attraction with excellent views. A coworker of Mom's also told her about Mont-Sainte Odile, a former monastery also in the mountains near Haut-Kœningsbourg. Those two things, and of course more of the Wine Road, seem like the perfect plan for a light day of sightseeing, with the added benefit of riding in the air-conditioned car vs walking in the hot sun on cobblestone streets. 

We drive the 'scenic route' that is shown on one of our many maps, despite Celeste (our GPS) not recognizing my imput. ProTip for driving in France: having a GPS and a regular map is beneficial. The road zigzags up the mountain and through forests so it's not very 'scenic' but it's still beautiful. 

We decided to be cheap, shocking I know, and didn't buy a ticket to go in. Instead we wandered the forest around the castle and were very happy with our decision. 

From here we drive towards Mont-Sainte Odile. Mom pulls off the road outside of a tiny village so we can have a photo shoot in the vineyard. 

The amount of pictures I tried to take while driving through all these adorable villages is ridiculous but I'm restraining myself and only posting a few. 

We drove through that. 

Sign that we were going in the right direction. 

We found our name and had to do some interesting driving to turn around to get a picture. 

We end up in Barr, and stop to have a little picnic. Once again, we have no idea what to see in this particular village so we head to the tourist desk to get a map. Once we find a bench in some shade we, yet again, eat more bretzels and cheese (told you there was a theme happening)  and decide what we want to see. Mom was interested in the Protestant church, so we nix the walking map and trudge up another hill. We don't expect to love it as much as we did, but it was so cool! A stone entry with beautiful woodwork and the balcony had stadium seating. 

It's hard to tell because the picture is too close, but I had to step up three large wooden steps to get up there. 

You can kind of see the walkway and steps at the bottom right of the picture to get an idea of now high up I was. 

It's hot. 

Cemetery behind the church. 

Vineyards behind and around the cemetery and church. 

Back into the air conditioning to our next stop: Mont-Sainte Odile. From the parking lot we had to walk up a hill, yes again, but it was all pavement and really hot so we took some stairs heading into the shaded woods hoping it went into the right direction. 

It was a gorgeous walk and we were happy to walk right up to the entrance of the monastary and were treated to some more epic views. 

Inside the Chapel of Tears 

A glass of wine sitting in the monastery gardens was our best idea yet. 

Note: the typical Alsacian style wine glass. 

We got back to the Bouchards in time for them to take us out to dinner for an Alsacian meal: tarte flambée. 

So much delicious. 

Justine and I needed scarfs to control our hair during the convertible ride. We channeled our inner Audrey Hepburn. 

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