Today we shifted a whopping 10km’s to Colmar. We did make a side trip to another Alsatian town on the way to Colmar.
We both woke up about 5 am smelling smoke. I lay there wondering if something was burning when Ton also woke up and asked if we were on fire. This motivated me to get up and check to see if anything was burning in François. It turns out that we were not on fire, but the smoke from the wood fires in the town next to us had settled into the little valley the campground was in. Once we determined we were safe we went back to sleep for a couple of hours.
We finally got on the road to our primary target for the day a town called Eguisheim. In 2013 it was voted the most beautiful village in France. I had punched in a free parking site on the soccer field, but when we got there the town had blocked access due to all of the rain, so we headed over to the municipal parking. The parking was brand new and high tech with bar code readers, but the area designated for RV’s cost €6 for 4 hours. It seemed excessive but I didn’t see any other options, so I gnashed my teeth and ponied up.
Eguisheim is indeed a lovely village. Originally a double walled village. It is built in a circle which is unusual in France. We walked the space between the two original walls, over time when security became less of an issue the space between the two walls was built up with homes and work spaces. These half timbered buildings are really well preserved. The colorful paint is from the 20th century. Up until then the buildings were earth toned. We had a great walk enjoying the variety of buildings.
Many of the towns we have visited in the last few days still have Easter ornaments up. Apparently the Easter Bunny is a big deal, and in addition to a lot of bunnies the French decorate trees and bushes with colored Easter eggs. The displays remind us of the Christmas and Halloween displays we see at home.
As we were wrapping up the walk thru town we came around a corner to finds a very imposing man dressed in medieval clothes and doing a vigorous sword dance. It turns out he was the owner of a coffee shop who had no customers so he was filming himself in the ally. We decided we would have a coffee. He was an interesting character, originally from Germany, I asked him if it was a traditional dance, he said “nah, I just make it up as I go, maybe in 100 years it will become a traditional Alsatian sword dance.”
As we went to pull out of our expensive parking I inserted the barcode paper I was given when I purchased the ticket to the machine that controlled the gate. It said reading and then did nothing, I repeated this several times without the gate opening. Finally I got out and tried several more times figuring it might work if I was standing next to it looking irritated. As I was about to give up and go looking for help, a guy in a parking attendants uniform walked up and took the paper, he tried a couple of times, then punched my code into his electronic device to make sure I was not trying to get away with something. He finally started muttering about technology in French while he worked on getting the gate to open, it finally did and with a Voila and an apology we were on our way to Colmar.