Wine Villages of the Alsace – September 23rd – 30th
At the end of September 2010, the storks on their perches from lofty ridges and towers watched a group exploring the Wine Villages of Alsace. As the ramblers much enjoyed the spirit of new friendships in the glorious countryside, what was the best thing? Was it the exquisite historic architecture, or the sparkling river flowing down through the Vosges Mountains, through our village and out into thousands of hectares of vineyards? Was it the possibility of glimpsing wild boar in the forests, or perhaps the luscious bunches of grapes on the vines awaiting harvest? Perhaps it was the French cooking in huge German proportions or maybe it was the delicious wines in rather generous glasses. Whatever it was, they didn’t quite capture the delightful holiday in their poetry!
‘If’…(with apologies to Rudy and Kipling)
If you can find your way when all about you are losing theirs,
And men wave maps and point, north, south and west;
If you can trust red blobs and green triangles, changing colour in the mist;
If you can wait and not be tired of waiting, while folk find a loo, or crave another beer;
If you can walk with groups and keep your humour, with sixty second’s worth of ‘nearly there’;
Above all, if you can sit before a heap of steaming choucroute, complete with sausage, port and spuds,
Yours is the earth and everything that’s in it, and a Ramblers Leader you will be, my son.
A few Rambling Rhymes
(Inspired by the wines and cuisine of Alsace)
A demoiselle from Amenerschwihr
Binge-drinks bottles of wines, but no beer,
With great gusto and stamina
She glugs Gewurtztraminer.
She’ll be dead before 40, I fear.
Her Papa, who lives in Mulhouse,
Is also quite partial to booze
He will swig Pinot Blanc
Whilst playing petanque.
And in 10 years I’ve not known him lose.
Good old Adrian saved me from harm,
With his twinkly-eyed, mustachioed charm.
Each day, after dusk, at
A bar he’d drink Muscat.
One pichet per hour kept him calm.
Encore La Choucroute
By train down to Mulhouse, in Adrian’s care,
With a brief stop in Paris en route.
Then onward to colourful Kayersberg
And my first taste of choice French choucroute!
We walked among vineyards, viewed ripening grapes,
Which is surely the noblest of fruit.
Then what were we offered to soothe our tired limbs?
‘Twas another great pile of choucroute!
I longed to see wild boar stampeding
With Adrian in hot pursuit.
But the only pig I have set eyes on,
Came cooked, on a mound of choucroute.
I asked Erica ‘What is your favourite dish?’
She replied ‘Well, of that’s there’s no doubt.
You can keep all your beef braised in Burgundy wine.
Give me haggis with neeps – and choucroute.’
Now sadly it’s time to pack up our things
And dust down each well-walked old boot,
I’ve a large doggy bag, draped in the French flag.
And it’s full of Alsatian choucroute.