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With eager eyes and attentive ears glued to presence on stage, students listened attentively as he spoke of his culinary journey and shared memorable experiences. He later gave students an opportunity to ask questions and seek guidance.










Dr. A K Bansal on his way with fellow cyclists to promote good health as a part of International Chefs Day. Few more hours to complete the cyclothon!




Dr. A K Bansal on his way with fellow cyclists to promote good health as a part of International Chefs Day. Few more hours to complete the cyclothon!




Dr. A K Bansal on his way with fellow cyclists to promote good health as a part of International Chefs Day. Few more hours to complete the cyclothon!




Dr. A K Bansal on his way with fellow cyclists to promote good health as a part of International Chefs Day. Few more hours to complete the cyclothon! (V)













We are looking for energetic and friendly people to provide a warm & welcoming service for our guests at this traditional lively pub. Visit for more info.












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Tuesday, 24th September 2019 – Mulhouse, Riquewihr, Glottertal

And so, on the Tuesday, we got up, repacked the car, and set off away from Mulhouse, aiming at Riquewihr based on two things, the guidebook to the Alsace Wine Route that we’d bought and the direction we wanted to head in later on. Riquewihr had been sold to me as one of the prettiest places on the wine route (aren’t they all?) and had a couple of wine producers I was interested in visiting based in the town. We motored away from the Logis de Hansi into something of a grey day compared to what we’d got used to and spent some time fighting the SatNav’s urge to send us down a closed road before we found our way to our target destination.  On arriving in Riquewihr we found a parking space and then spent ages waiting to pay for our parking because the people in front of me in the queue at the machine seemed incapable of using common sense and actually successfully paying for their stay. I have no idea what their problem was because it took me about ten seconds…

The entrance to the town is very attractive and the place is clearly well cared for as a whole. We consulted the map in the gardens in front of the city wall and established that the tourist information office was dead ahead. As with all the Alsacien towns we’d visited, there was a free tour map that would navigate you past all the main sights in the town. We sat down with a coffee and studied it to figure out where we were and where we wanted to go first. As we sat there it became clear that this would be a town full of Japanese tourists taking selfies, and Chinese tourists doing much the same and elbowing the rest of us out of the way to do just that.

There were also a lot of guided tours going on, but we opted out and decided we’d go at our own pace and stop off to look at whatever we wanted to see. It was quickly clear that the place does not look very different to how it would have looked in its heydey, and it’s no surprise to find out that it is another of the “most beautiful villages of France”. It was doing its best to live up to that reputation when we visited. It has a population of just 1,250, so I suppose it’s more of a village than a town but I really don’t know quite where the dividing line is in this part of the world, but it’s beautiful out of all proportion to its size. It lies at the bottom of the Schoenenberg hills, at the foot of the Vosges mountains and the terroir makes it perfect for growing Riesling wine.

Wine has been grown here since at least Roman times, when there was an observation tower there. The village started to grow in the 6th Century, during the Frankish period, the name evolving over time to Richovilare (1049), and eventually Riquewihr, or Reichenweier. It was under the protection of Reichenstein Castle, which was the property of the Dukes of Alsace, then of the Counts of Eguisheim-Dabo, the bunch of bandits who caused all the trouble over at Rheinfels as well. They were sorted out by Rudolph of Habsburg, future King of Germany, who in 1269 destroyed the castle and executed the bandits. Legend has it that the future king was impressed by the local wine and thus raised the village to the rank of town, before passing it on to the Dukes of Horburg. They rebuilt the castle and set up ramparts to protect the village, enabling the locals to build up against the walls.

The Horburgs didn’t keep the place long and soon sold it off to Ulrich X of Württemberg, whose descendant Count Eberhard IV of Württemberg got engaged to the Henriette d’Orbe-Montfaucon, Countess of Montbéliard in 1397. When they married, and unified their two counties, they chose Reichenweier as their capital, which gave the place a massive boost. The golden age, which saw the town’s wine exported throughout the Holy Roman Empire and the cities of the Hanseatic League, lasted right through to the Thirty Years War. In that conflict Riquewihr was besieged and plundered twice, in 1635 and 1652, by the Duke of Lorraine. Epidemics of plague, typhus and cholera followed and did even more damage to the local population than the war had.

It was annexed to France in 1680 by Louis XIV, but continued to be governed using the laws and customs of the Holy Roman Empire until the French Revolution, and the time seems to have forgotten it, and in WWII, because it was on a dead end road, it avoided the destruction that occurred in other places. As with Colmar every time we turned a corner there was something new to see, the streets lined with 16th and 17th Century painted half-timbered houses. As ever, being us, we didn’t start at the beginning though we did at least go round in the suggested order for once, starting with the Place des Trois Églises, which houses what was the 12th Century parish church, dedicated to Saint Margaret, that has been superseded by a mid-19th Century protestant church…

The pilgrimage Church of Our Lady founded in 1337 and now a presbytery…

And the Church of Saint Erhard which was attached to the former hospital and dates from the 14th Century. It became a boy’s school in 1539.

Next we nosed our way out through the gate of the original fortifications, built in 1291. The north gate and its walls were not doubled up in 1500, unlike the rest of the defences, probably because beyond the gate is quite a steep vineyard, and anyone trying to get in that way would be knackered before they ever got to the walls. Unfortunately, your chances of getting a good photo are somewhat hampered by the presence of a parking ticket machine right in the line of sight.

The Cour des nobles de Berckheim was next on the list and unlike most of the tourists who just looked at it from the street, we went into the courtyard to get a better view, having scrambled along a tight medieval alley first!

The courtyard is surrounded by an attractive looking building that now provides accommodation for tourists rather than just the nobility. We were increasingly thinking that a December weekend for the Christmas markets might be something to consider. It was built in 1523, and seems unchanged on the outside though I would suspect the inside has been modernised somewhat.

We were directed next to look at a number of houses including the House of the Gourmet which was interesting both for its decoration, and the fact that the title was that of the person who acted as a sworn intermediary between the wine makers, finding them customers and arranging tastings for the wine merchants, and that dates from 1686 in its current incarnation. We got slightly sidetracked after that as we tried to avoid a bunch of guided tours, but then poked around in the court of the winemakers, a series of stone buildings rather than the more traditional – and much cheaper – wattle and daub. The winemakers were clearly doing very nicely at the time, because only the wealthy could afford to build in stone, and Riquewihr apparently has the largest number of stone houses in Alsace.

The nail-maker’s house is also an interesting one with corner posts carved into statues of various men including a nail-maker. It dates from 1686 and is really rather wonderful.

We moved on to the Fontaine de la Sinne (the Fountain of Gauging), a fountain built in 1560. It was used as an essential tool of winemaking because it was a device for checking the capacity of wine barrels. There is a coat of arms carried by an heraldic lion with a star that represents the Horburgs and the coat of arms of the town, in the shape of antlers and another star.

It’s next to the Dolder tower which served as a watch tower. a belfry and the upper gate of the town. Like the North Gate it dates from 1291 and is solid and menacing on the outside and highly decorated on the inside. It’s also covered in window boxes but then I think if you stood still for more than 10 minutes in Riquewihr they’d probably attach a window box to you.

It was time for some history so we headed to la Tour des Voleurs (the Thieves Tower) which also dates from the original fortification of the town in 1291. The structure was reworked in the 15th Century and became the seat of the seignurial court all the way through to the 18th Century. It contains both the courtroom and the torture chamber and cells where the accused would be held prior to trial. The museum takes in both the gristly history of the prison and a lot more besides, as it also includes what is called the Wine Grower’s house. The house is from 1563 and is a typical house of the area, complete with kitchen, bedroom and a cellar full of wine producers’ and coopers’ tools. The lovely lady selling tickets gave us a brief history before we went in, and also checked that we were able-bodied enough to cope with the very medieval stairs that you have to navigate to the to the exhibits.

If you are at all wobbly on your feet, this is not a museum for you. From the top of the tower the views were well worth it, and the history was well related with a recording available in several languages telling you all about the jail and its history.

There was also a fascinating temporary exhibition about the First World War, “1914-18: Riquewihr to the Rear of the Front Line – Local History in the Context of History”. This covered the period of Alsace being part of Germany from 1870 through to 1914 as well, and was intriguing. As the woman in the ticket office pointed out, not everyone was happy to suddenly become French and it did divide the population in all sorts of ways. History is never simple and this museum made that point very well.

And then we needed lunch! We looked up and down the street and decided that we liked the look of Au Vieux Riquewihr, a lovely looking building.

The weather was still holding but we didn’t fancy the terrace in case the rain that was threatening showed up. We went upstairs and were shown to a table in a cosy room. A quick study of the menu and we decided that we would go for one of their rösti dishes and a glass of local wine each.

Lynne opted for the Rösti “Au Vieux Riquewihr” which was served with bacon, “smocked” sausage and creamed leeks. The sausage was disappointingly not patterned into little diamonds, and was just smoked, but it tasted fine!

The Rösti Munster was a very fine thing, all cheesy and served with bacon and tomato garnish.

Service was a bit stressed but friendly and we were well pleased with what we had. It was starting to rain when we stepped back outside, but it remained a light drizzle that didn’t really impede us in any way. Next we went to check out the High Gate, which is part of the second wave of fortification, reinforced around 1500 when the town became more important and thus felt itself in need of extra protection.

We hunted down some of the other houses but it was getting increasingly grey and we needed to move on if we were going to do everything else we had planned and still get to the hotel in good time. By the lower gate was the town hall, a modern (1808) structure that was built near the now demolished low gate, and that was right next to one of the two wine makers I wanted to visit, Dopff & Irion. They have been making wine since the 16th Century and I was keen to buy from them. It helped that we realised there was a free car park right on the edge of the town hall square which would mean we wouldn’t have to drag any purchases too far!

I moved the car and we went in, emerging a little later with another two boxes of Pinot Noir, a free crémant the guy serving us thought we should try, and a bottle of gingerbread liquer which will be used at Christmas for aperitifs. They don’t explain how they have come to be in possession of the original chateau, constructed in 1549, of the Princes of Wurtemberg but it seems a good use for it! On our walk round we also stumbled across a couple of other likely looking gîtes, in historic buildings, including Les Remparts de Riquewihr and Laterale Residences, both of which look like good choices should we get the chance to go back.

And then we moved on. The local wildlife reserve was calling us and we were keen to make sure we got there, rain or no rain. We were on our way to Naturoparc, also known as the Centre de Reintroduction des Cigognes et des Loutres (Centre for the Reintroduction of Storks and Otters), just outside Riquewihr. Established in 1976, it offers you the opportunity to explore the local natural environment in area of 5 hectares where they work to protect and preserve various wildlife species threatened with extinction, including the white stork, – the European otter and the European Hamster (also known as the Grand Hamster, or as the Marmotte de Strasbourg).

It’s fair to say from what we had seen already they have been remarkably successful as regards the storks, which at one point were down to a handful of breeding pairs in the region, and which now are thriving once again. By “domesticating” a number of pairs so they wouldn’t migrate, the storks have thus avoided being trapped and killed during migration and there are now around 200 of them living permanently in the park, and breeding each year.

In addition to the breeding programmes, the centre goes out of its way to educate the visitors, with feeding time “shows” that are actually far more serious than just showing off the animals. Two of the otters were being fed at the same time as the keeper was checking their general health, weighing them and ensuring they were thriving.

They were pretty keen to join in, chasing him around the enclosure if there was the slightest chance of fish! The smaller of the two got bored with doing as she was told, knocked the bucket over and helped herself though.

The otter was pretty much extinct in Alsace prior to the work done by the centre. Between 1998 and 2000 they started their programme and now otters are doing well in the region and “can be observed indulging in its favourite activities: swimming, playing, eating and sleeping”.

They also have a few European hamsters, which look just like your pet hamster scaled up significantly! When we first reached their enclosure there was no sign of them, probably because there was quite a crowd gathered around it and a lot of noise. We went back later and there was one. It’s not the clearest photo because I really didn’t want to use flash, but you can get the general idea.

Its described as “a cute-faced little rodent living exclusively in Alsace” which is not entirely true as the name suggests, though is is true that within France it is only indigenous to the Alsace region. It may have something to do with the 2011 ruling by the Court of Justice in Luxembourg that France had failed to protect the European hamster and needed to up its game or face fines of up to €24.6 million. Either way the hamster is now back, and very cute it is too.

It’s also known as the Grand Hamster, the Marmotte de Strasbourg, or in Alsacien as the “Kornfarel” which means “wheat piglet”! They grow to around 20 to 30 centimetres, and can weigh up to half a kilo, which means they could probably eat an awful lot of grains. They’re not out of the woods yet in survival terms, though, and there is a long way to go to re-establish them in Alsace.

As if that wasn’t enough the park is also home to a colourful collection of coypu, known  to the French as ragondins. I had not realised they came in so many different shades, and I wonder if this is as a result of them being introduced to Europe to be bred for their fur originally. I’ve always assumed they were pretty much universally grey – turns out they’re not.

There is a small colony of raccoons as well, though they really weren’t interested in meeting the public. One was sleeping up a tree, well hidden in the branches…

Some more of them were sleeping in a tree, though they were just beginning to stir.

We passed by the Grand Cormorants which were mostly sitting on branches waiting for something to move in the water, and flapping those powerful wings madly in the hope of disturbing something edible…

And a black swan that was in a different pond to the one it was listed as living on.

There are a couple of daily events that are worth a look too, include what they describe as the Spectacle d’Animaux-Pecheurs where a selection of birds and beasts are fed in a large clear sided pool so people can see their fishing skills on display.

The show started with a cormorant which caught numerous fish no matter how far or fast they were flung by the keeper, who also provided a factual commentary (French only) while the bird fed. The sheer speed is incredible; the fish never stood a chance.

Otters came next and they seemed just as hungry for fish as they had been earlier.  It was interesting to be able to watch them both above and below the water.

Next up was another cormorant proving just how easily it could catch an eel, and despatch it.

A Patagonian Sea Lion came on next and was not quite as efficient as say the otter, because the odd fish got away. Not many, but one. The sea lion was quite vocal about it.

The fish lived to fight another day, although I’m not sure it survived the mob of Humboldt penguins that came in after the sea lion.

I’m not sure quite why they have penguins but, smelly though they are, they are good value in these sorts of situation, diving down…

And then launching themselves out of the water as if they have some trace memory of once being able to fly!

The half hour show finished with a white egret, which was basically not having any of it, seemingly taking a “What do you think I am? A performing seal?” line! It sat on the edge of the pool, watched the fish being thrown, and mostly ignored them.

It really did not want to know. It did eventually fly across the pool a couple of times to snag a fish or two…

Then it decided it really had had enough and it flew off to sulk on top of one of the enclosures.

Maybe it had been inspired by the low flying stork that shot over the pool while we were all watching the penguins, which I just caught sight of in time.

On the way out we stopped to look at the stork nursery, where you could look at an example of a nest and get an idea of the size of the eggs.

The only things being raised in the incubators at this time of the year were a pair of Alsacienne hens, or Poule d’Alsace, a breed of domestic chicken that has existed since the 1880s. They seemed to be thriving.

In the children’s zoo, a couple of goats were after trying to eat my camera strap but I was able to escape uneaten. They were cute but over-enthusiastic!

And so, stopping to look at the Florida turtles, which were mostly lurking below the surface, we were on our way to Germany and three nights in the Black Forest, at the Hotel Schlossmühle in Glottertal, just outside Freiburg im Breisgau.

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Travel 2019 – Alsace and Baden, Day 12, Mulhouse, Riquewihr, Glottertal Tuesday, 24th September 2019 - Mulhouse, Riquewihr, Glottertal And so, on the Tuesday, we got up, repacked the car, and set off away from Mulhouse, aiming at Riquewihr based on two things, the guidebook to the Alsace Wine Route that we’d bought and the direction we wanted to head in later on.
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From @accor (@get_regrann) - Accor’s luxury brands bring unforgettable experiences to life. A prime example: “Les Dîners Extraordinaires” by Sofitel incarnating the brand’s new #LivetheFrenchWay promise! The goal is to reinforce @sofitel’s position in the luxury segment & leverage its inherent strengths.
Relive Les Dîners Extraordinaires’ first edition in collaboration with award-winning Chef @yannickalleno
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[Video] The Police State of Greece: Seven cops abuse one person at Syntagma metro station in Athens

Athens, Greece: Scenes of everyday life in the “civilized” country that gave “birth to democracy”. Sea, sun and police brutality. Book your holidays now!

(Monday 14 October 2019, Athens Metro Station, Syntagma Square)

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Lingkaran Berkah VS Lingkaran Setan

Pikiran buruk memicu perasaan buruk
Perasaan buruk memicu tindakan yang buruk
Tindakan yang buruk memicu hasil yang buruk
Hasil yang buruk menguatkan pikiran buruk.
Itulah lingkaran setan

Mulailah dengan pikiran baik untuk menghasilkan pikiran baik.

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Saturday, 21st September 2019 – Colmar, Turckheim, Eguisheim, Rouffach, Mulhouse

Saturday morning I got up early and then headed out before breakfast to buy some supplies from the market. We were moving on from our lovely hotel where everything arrived as if by magic, and would now be self catering for three nights. Thus we needed some food and probably some wine. The market was only partly in action with some stalls not yet open but I managed to rustle up some yogurts, some cheese, some bread, and a tourte, which seems to be an Alsace thing in that it’s basically a meat or cheese pie. It’s described as a wine growers’ pie comprising of marinated meat cooked in flaky pastry and often flavoured with Riesling, It looks really good and clearly people throw in all sorts of things these days – I got a Munster cheese, potato and bacon one. I didn’t buy any wine in the end because the stalls that could have sold me some appeared not to be open. Anyway, I knew we had enough for the next day or so and wouldn’t have to chase around the suburbs of a strange French city on a Sunday trying to find an open supermarket or restaurant. I was good with that.

After that I went back to the hotel and after breakfast we settled up, packed the car, and set off. The plan was to head north to the nearest town on the Alsace Wine Route and take it from there.  That would mean we were heading in the wrong direction, but that was fine. When we were done, we could head towards the motorway and get to Mulhouse quite easily that way. As a result the first place we hit was Turckheim, which looked altogether intriguing from the outside. We parked and located the tourist office, because we’d now discovered that most of them had very useful maps setting out a walking route that would make sure you didn’t miss any of the main sights.

The earliest records suggest there have been people in Turkcheim since 27BC but it remains pretty quiet in terms of the historical record until around 896, when an act establishes (or possibly just confirms) the Abbey of Munster and its consistory court in Turckheim. In 1312 the Emperor Henry VII made the place an imperial city and in 1354 Turckheim became part of the Decapolis. The city prospered thanks to the wine trade and levies tolls on anyone wanting to trade there, and there are Renaissance houses in the city to prove it. It was badly impacted by the Thirty Years War though, and went from a population of 1200 in 1618 to a mere 18 families in 1648. It then, of course, went through the whole French – German – French – German and so on rigmarole of the next few hundred years. It didn’t prevent the from prospering through, due to the rise of the textile and paper industries, which saw the arrival of a significant immigrant population from Switzerland. A railway line also helped (the Colmar-Turckheim-Munster line inaugurated in 1868). Finally, since 1945, the city has experienced a real renaissance in trade, industry and viticulture and of course tourism.

It’s a really pretty small city with three medieval gates still in tact and dozens of half-timbered, painted houses. The cobbled streets are a bit of pain if you don’t have good shoes, but it’s worth the pain for what you can find. Round a corner from the 16th century building which houses the tourist office, and the old Watch House,is the Church of Saint Anne, a Romanesque structure at its foundations (the tower anyway) but that has been rebuilt more than once, leaving a building that in effect dates from 1837. Like a number of churches in Colmar and its environs, it also has a finely patterned roof, something I’ve only really seen in Austria before.

Inside it is bright and airy and the light was fabulous that morning.

There is also a rather pleasant garden that includes a replica of one of the gate towers that’s been set up as an insect hotel.

A few metres further on, we found an intriguing museum which was open free of charge because it was the first of two Journées Européennes du Patrimoine 2019 (Saturday and Sunday) when lots of places across Europe that are not normally open throw their doors open, and places that normally charge a fee let you in for nothing. The museum in question was the Musée Mémorial des Combats de la Poche de Colmar – Hiver 1944 / 45, a museum and memorial in the basement of a former presbytery.

It tells the story of two months of fierce fighting in the vicinity of Colmar in winter 1944-1945, and is dedicated to all the veterans (German, American and French). It aims to act as a symbol of freedom, to preserve an endangered heritage and to teach future generations. It certainly taught me a few things because I really didn’t know anything about the details of this period of history.

After we’d nosed around sufficiently we walked round to the various sights listed on the tourist information map, starting with the various gates (the Porte de Munster, Porte de Brand and Porte de France). The Porte de Munster is also a stop on one of the many pilgrim’s routes to Santiago de Compostela, which we keep stumbling across wherever we go. The gate dates from the 14th century and has windows decorated with scallop shells which pretty much give the game away. Apparently it was also the gate through which witches were taken for execution.

The Porte de France, through which we entered the town, faces towards the river and was intended to let traders in and out. The lower section dates from 1330 though changes were made more than once. It had at one point a drawbridge, a portcullis and doors that were closed at night and during mass on Sunday, and was further enhanced with turrets in 1871, which were removed in 1912.

You may note it also has a storks’ nest on top of it now. The stork is very much a local symbol and the town has at least six nests. We had been told on our tour of Strasbourg that the birds return to the same nest every year and they add to it each time. The result is often a massive structure and they can get up to 500 kgs in extreme cases (it seems you tend to find out that has happened when the chimney crashes through your roof). I’ve more to say about the storks of Alsace in another post so I’ll not say much about them here. There have been storks in Alsace at least since the Middle Ages, with the Dominicans of Colmar mentioning their return in the spring in a 13th century manuscript. There was still a large population in 1945 with 177 nests, but by 1974 there were just 9 pairs left. They have been brought back from the brink and steps have been made to stop them from migration (there seemed to be a very high rate of mortality when they migrated back and forth to Africa) so that the population has recovered. Of the nests in Turckheim, five were built for the birds on the Porte de France, on the school, on the Cave de Turckheim wine cellar building, at the camp site and on the rue de Lattre, and they’ve built one of their own, a “wild” nest, on another street.

The Porte de Brand was all about defense. It was massive and solid with a drawbridge spanning a ditch and two swinging doors that were kept carefully shut, except during the harvest. In 1843 it underwent a major reconstruction, and a weather vane was added, and then in 2006 it was fully renovated, inside and out. It now sports a large sundial as against the Porte de Munster’s small clock. It certainly still looks solid and capable of repelling invaders.

By now we were flagging a bit so a sit down and a coffee was in order. We took a table opposite the lovely fountain in Place Turenne (mentioned in the 1660s) and watched the multitude of cyclists navigating the cobblestones and fighting the urge to join us on the terrace for a short break.

Afterwards, we completed the historical circuit walk, finding it had taken somewhat longer than the 50 minutes the tourist information office suggested, probably because we kept being side-tracked into alleys and shops and anything else we could find. We also stepped into the tiny supermarket and grabbed a roll of kitchen towels and some sellotape. The wine we had already bought was packed in such a way that pretty much every single bottle rattled against every other bottle and it was driving me insane. A repack was needed and being in a self catering apartment would be the perfect opportunity to do that. And it was now the middle of the lunch hour so we headed back to the car, failing to buy any wine on the way because the woman who ran the shop had gone for lunch! I think the only thing we’d missed was the night-watchman who apparently does his rounds every day at 10pm from May to October, but we really weren’t going to hang about for that. We also missed the local hill climb but perhaps another time for that!

Our next destination was Husseren-les-Châteaux, not because we wanted to look around it, just because I wanted to try and get a photo of the  ruins of the three fortifications, Dagsbourg, Wahlenbourg and Weckmund, erected from the 11th to the 13th century. It wasn’t easy and we drove around the village a couple of times before giving up and heading back out to stop on the edge of the vineyards. I found myself wishing I’d packed my 100-400m lens…

We moved on, heading for Eguisheim. All the literature suggested we really needed to stop there. We battled our way in and managed to find a parking space, though it wasn’t easy. It felt like the entire population of tourists in Alsace was trying to visit. Once we got inside we could see why. On a gloriously sunny Autumn afternoon, the place looked fabulous. If we’d thought Turckheim was attractive, it was knocked sideways by how utterly captivating Eguisheim is. It’s immediately apparent why it’s listed as one of the most beautiful villages in France (though I’d argue it’s a town not a village) and in 2013 it was voted the “Village préféré des Français” (Favorite French Village), an annual distinction that passes from town to town throughout France.

Once again, having discovered there were some really useful maps available in the local tourist information offices, we headed straight there and grabbed a guide. Needless to say there has been a settlement of sorts here for a very long time. Certainly the archaeological record places human ins the area as early as the Paleolithic. This became clear when two parts of a human skull were found in 1865, undisturbed between animal bones, which allowed for a relative dating at a time when the existence of prehistoric humans was still in doubt. The find became a topic of discussion in the debate over what would became Paleoanthropology. Much argument followed about the skull, but I’ll leave you to look that up for yourselves.

By early historic times the Senones, a Gallic tribe, occupied the site and then the Romans arrived. It’s highly likely that the cultivation of wine was already a major occupation, but even if it wasn’t (which seems unlikely), by the 11th century when the Dukes of Alsace built a castle, it was definitely a factor in the town that developed around the fortification. There is also a claim that Pope Leo IX was born in Eguisheim in June 1002, a connection that is still cited now in tourist literature and on shops, businesses and so on.

We set off on foot to explore first the outer circle of streets that has sprung up along the line of the old double city walls. The map shows most clearly the medieval street plan, something almost every one of the towns on the wine route seem to have. You can very clearly see how the town developed from it so I’ve nicked this one from the brochure we collected.

To be fair it’s also obvious from the ground with painted, half-timbered houses everywhere you look, and flower pots and hanging baskets and window boxes attached to everything!

And just now and again we came across a building where you could actually see the structure underlying all the glorious paint and half-timbering.

After we had walked around the ramparts, and found our way to the centre of the town, we decided we really needed a break, a sit down and a light lunch. There was a restaurant with a shaded terrace overlooking the place du Château, and they had space so we parked for a while and ordered a local speciality, a fleischschnaka, which is basically a relatively thick pasta dough, stuffed with meat, rolled, cut into slices, fried in butter to brown them, and served with pot-au-feu broth.  Whatever they claimed on this menu, this is not a light snack. There is nothing light about it! This is the sort of thing you eat after a hard day’s physical labour in the vines, not a light afternoon’s effete sightseeing. We couldn’t finish it, tasty though it was.

After lunch we went and took a good look at the fountain in the centre of the square, which is apparently the Fontaine Saint-Léon, one of the largest fountains in the region, with a capacity of 80,000 litres. It began life in 1575 as the water source for the whole commune, and is topped by a statue of Saint Léon (as in Pope Leo) which is rather less venerable (1842). It’s ostentatiously pretty, surrounded as it is by so many photogenic buildings, although I have to say the water was more than a little green looking. With the sun shining on it, I was more than prepared to overlook that.

Above the square is the Chapel of Chapelle Saint-Leon, which is relatively recent (1894) but stands on the site of the castle that originally dominated the town. It’s meant to be beautifully decorated inside, but we couldn’t get in because there was a wedding in full swing. What we could see from outside looked gorgeous and I could see why you would want to marry somewhere like that. We could get into the attached presbytery where an exhibition of calligraphy and illumination by a local artist, Annie Bouyer, was underway, so we stopped to look at that in the hope the wedding party would be out of the way by the time we’d finished.

Sadly, it wasn’t but we did admire the wedding car, parked up by the old castle walls. We weren’t the only ones admiring it.

The car for the second wedding of the afternoon was nowhere near as much fun.

The chapel not being an option, we decided to go and take a look at the Eguisheim Virgins, on the church of Saints Peter and Paul. There has been a church here for a very long time, but the only surviving part of the original structure is the belfry which was rebuilt in Gothic style in 1220. The nave of the earlier church was demolished in 1807 and replaced by the present “barn”-style nave in 1809 and the interior, much like the exterior, is quite plain apart from a couple of very interesting features. One is the porch of the original church which has a splendid tympanum depicting Christ in Majesty, blessing the world, along with a scene showing the parable of the wise and foolish virgins.

In addition, below it, and on show as part of the Journées Européennes du Patrimoine 2019, was the “Opening Virgin”. Two side panels in the stomach of the carving of the Virgin open, each decorated with an angel. This work, dating from the 13th or 14th century is one of only two surviving examples in Alsace, the other being in Kaysersberg. It’s odd and quite a naive piece, but it’s also interesting.

We headed back to the car after that, stopping off at Pierre Henri Ginglinger to try some Pinot Noir, coming away with a couple of bottles for the evenings in our apartment (one of the Pinot Noir 2018 and one of the superb Pinot Noir Rubis 2017). We set off along the Wine Route again, planning to make Rouffach our next stop. In the 5th century, Rouffach was a walled village and home to the Merovingian kings. The chronicle of Ebersmunster state that the son of King Dagobert II gave the city to Arbogast, bishop of Strasbourg, in the 7th century, after the bishop had revived Dagobert’s son Sigebert from death. It is altogether more likely that it was one of the most ancient fiefs belonging to Strasbourg, and it became the main town of an episcopal fief which included Eguisheim which was when a wall was built around the city which quickly developed. During the Thirty Years’ War the Swedes severely damaged the city although it obviously recovered enough for Archduke Leopold Wilhelm of Austria to hold court in the city. At the end of the war, when Alsace was conquered by France, the fief was abolished.

The future of the city came to depend on wine growing and the production of kirsch from the cherry orchards connected with the chateau, and was lucky enough to be spared any further war damage when the wars that followed passed it by. We found a parking space and a tourist information leaflet and were told that the museum, housed in the bailiff’s residence, was open and free to visit. It provides a good introduction to thethe town, with exhibits explaining the evolution of the town through the centuries. There are artefacts from archaeological excavations in Rouffach and the vicinity, covering the Stone, Bronze and Iron Ages, the Roman era, the great migrations, the Merovingians under King Dagobert II, and the Middle Ages.

It was oddly quiet compared to the other places we’d been during the day, but perhaps that’s because it’s not a wildly pretty village. It’s full of interest though; we next went to take a look inside the church of Notre-Dame de l’Assomption, which combines Romanesque and Gothic styles. The transept is from the second half of the 11th century, the Gothic nave is from the 12th and 13th centuries, and there are Romanesque side portals. As with a number of churches we’d seen (Strasbourg Cathedral for example), although the building work went on for a long time (it was finished in 1508), the planned second steeple was never completed. The interior, post the French Revolution, is actually quite plain but there is a lovely 14th Century rose window.

It also has some intriguing side chapels.

We also took a look at the Witch Tower, built in the 13th to 15th centuries, which was used as a prison.

However, we were now running out of steam. There was more to see, but we didn’t have the energy to do it. It was time to move on to our next abode for three night, the Logis de Hansi on the outskirts of Mulhouse. It was a fabulously well-equipped apartment, clean, comfortable, with everything you could want for a successful stay, and unlike the place in Strasbourg, I would heartily recommend it to anyone. We unpacked the car completely, dragging all the wine boxes we were now in possession of into the hall, and stacking them up ready to re-pack them to stop the rattling, and then organised ourselves for the rest of the holiday, before heading out to find dinner for that night.

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Travel 2019 – Alsace and Baden, Day 9, Colmar, Turckheim, Eguisheim, Rouffach, Mulhouse Saturday, 21st September 2019 - Colmar, Turckheim, Eguisheim, Rouffach, Mulhouse Saturday morning I got up early and then headed out before breakfast to buy some supplies from the market.
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