Wine Villages Of The Alsace – 16th September – 23rd
This is a new area of France for me and for many of our group. Kaysersberg, our base, is a lovely small town in the Weiss valley – it has steep slopes covered with vines. For centuries, it has exported its wines across the nearby Rhine to Germany.
The town was badly damaged in WWII, but it has been meticulously restored. The half-timbered houses with their colourful window boxes and cobbled streets, bring visitors from all over the world.
Under sunny skies, our walks took us through vineyards to pretty towns like Riquewihr and Ribeauvillé. We also encountered ruined castles such as St Ulrich and an impressively restored castle on a ridge called Haut-Koenigsbourg. We walked through lovely woods of beech and oak, just beginning to acquire autumn foliage.
Having lunch amongst the vines in perfect weather was one of the delights of the holiday for me. By way of contrast, we spent a day sightseeing in the nearby town of Colmar. Small enough not to get lost in, it has plenty of museums and churches to satisfy and a delightful area near the river called Little Venice.
Originally part of Germany, Alsace has changed nationality a number of times over the past 300 years but is now firmly French and its reputation for quality wines is assured. It supplies France with a third of her white wines. Towards the end of our holiday, we enjoyed a tasting in a local winery and it seemed a pretty good way of ending a holiday!