Thursday, July 13, 2006

France - 2002

Haut-Koenigsbourg Castle - Alsace

Imagine a land of deep dark forests filled with great stands of spruce and fir; great pine trees that tower 200 feet - and higher - into the sky. Birches are here, brilliant in golden plumage, and maple trees, still green, but also with red, yellow and bright orange leaves. A land of fox, rabbit, and deer, a place where great castles tower into the sky like piercing boulders and gaze down upon an ancient river far below. Where on earth? The Black Forest of eastern France, home to the chamoix, stretching out along the Rhine River, south of Strasbourg, north of Colmar. "The mighty Cathedral of Notre Dame in Strasbourg is one of the truly incomparable sights of Europe." This from The Lonely Planet, comments about the 430 foot high cathedral. After dinner one night, JoAnn and I toured its interior again. Earlier in the day one of its organs had been playing; tonight it was quiet with the silence of a thousand years. Outside a guitarist was playing and singing Ave Maria in the moonlight, seated in front of the Cathedral. Next day we went south to fabulous medieval towns: Obernai, Sélestat, Ribeauvillé,

Ribeauvillé, France, in Alsace

Riquewihr, Muenster. Here the smell of frying onion, sausage and Choucroute Garnie (fluffy sauerkraut served with smoked ham, sausages and potatoes) mingle
with that of freshly squeezed wine in the golden October afternoon, and flute and accordion play strains of Moulin Rouge, here in the land of escargot and pâté de foie gras, French Onion Soup is served the "right" way along with Quiche Loraine and the Alsatian specialty, Onion Tart. Well, it's all here in the land the French call Alsace-Loraine, where the sunlight

Outdoor Café in Ribeauville

warms outdoor cafes that cluster beneath half-timbered buildings, and which serve bread and beer with cheeses and wine that America will never know. The land where chocolate is a passionate way of life. Photography is also a passionate challenge in Alsace because of the bright skies, dark overcasts and constantly changing landscape - all part of October days in Germany and France.


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