Wednesday, our 15th day traveling in Germany. We head south. Our destination is the Alsace in France. We cross the industrial zones around Heidelberg, Mannheim and Ludwigshafen and follow the Deutsche Weinstrasse of the Pfalz southwards.
Bad Bergzabern – a charming quiet town – forgot my jacket here
Bad Bergzabern is about 10km north of the German border with France. It is a small pretty town with a castle,…
… half-timbered houses – such as the “Weinstube zur Reblaus” or “Wine Tavern for Vine Fretter”,…
… a church with this lion fountain,…
… and the market square woth another fountain.
In the second hand shop called “Hoppla”, Ursula finds a pair of elegant German design shoes for 15 Euros. I find a linen white jacket for 15 Euro and a pashmere scarf for 5 Euros. We take it all – thank you, Ursula… but then – hoppla – we forget my favorite blue windstopper jacket in the shop called “Hoppla”, and we only notice it, when we are already in France. Ggrrrr… We drive back – it is about 10km – and we find the shop closed – until 2 PM. We look for a place to eat lunch. We find restaurants that are closed, uninviting or unwelcoming. Hesitating we stand in front of one of the closed restaurants, when a couple of about our age passing by says: “Just round the corner you will find the restaurant Haas, they serve excellent regional food.” Some minutes later we share a table in the restaurant Haas. We enjoy a great Leberknödelsuppe and a salad plate. We learn that the couple lives in Namibia and comes home to the Pfalz every year, now that they have retired. I have been in Namibia as well, and we have a lot to chat – about the town Windhoek, the Etosha park, the Waterberg and the Namibian winery (yes that exists…). Well, hoppla, sometimes unluck produces luck.
Shortly after 2PM the shopkeeper of “Hoppla” opens her shop and returns me my favorite blue jacket. Now we drive back to France.
The Weintor (wine gate) at Schweigen – a touristy tourist attraction
Schweigen is the last German village at the French border The Deutsche Weinstrasse of the Pfalz starts here. The beginning is marked with this gate.
The gate attracts tourists. Hords have come here in busses. A train is ready to take them to Wissembourg just across the border in France.
We leave this touristy place immediately. Both Ursula and I carry an old Dumont Kunstführer of the Alsace, mine is from the year 2000. The information about history and historic buildings are still valid.
Wissembourg – a charming Alsacian town and a harmonious Romanesque-Gothic church
Wissembourg is our first village in the Alsace with half-timbered houses and a small creek -this is an arm of the Lauter.
In the 11th century, a Franciscan-Claristic monastery was founded here and the construction of the cathedral St. Peter and Paul started. This cathedral is a gem with much preserved from Romanesque and Gothic times (source: “Die Kirche St. Peter und Paul”, Editions du Signe).
This Romanesque tower is from the 11th century.
The second tower is Gothic in style – here is the view from the cloister.
I love the solemn, dark-cool atmosphere inside with the 11th century representation of Christ made from one piece of painted glass with a diameter of about 25cm (the original is in Strassbourg).
The windows are preserved – they are from the 14th century and earlier (one rosette is from 1190). There are frescos like this Christopherus from the 14th century.
This guy – you can tell – is working hard. The column weighs heavily on his shoulders.
The organ is from 1766.
The attached Romanesque chapel hosts an art exhibition. We love this church and spend something like two hours here.
Soufflenheim – pottery – and The Moulin de Wantzenau – a quiet place after noisy Heidelberg
Next stop is at Soufflenheim that produces pottery. The shopkeepers speak this soft Alsacian dialect, German mixed with French.
I buy an Alsacian cook book (“Kochen im Naturton von Soufflenheim” or “cooking in natural earthernware from Soufflenheim”). I plan to prepare the rabbit cooked in cider – it looks tempting.
We decide to look for a hotel near Strassbourg and find the Moulin de Wantzenau, just some 5km away from Strassbourg. The Moulin is a charming place to stay. It is quiet here in the middle of nature. The attached restaurant serves delicious meals. We enjoy another warm summer evening in the garden.