Posted: 7/13/2006


  Arriving at Strasbourg Gare (Hbf) (which is being totally reconstructed)and ready for the TGV (trains grande vitesse) (VERYfast) that will link Strasbourg and Eastern France to Paris in just over 2 hours in 12 months time, there is a little newspaper and magazine store I always visit for the latest news.  L'EQUIPE ARIVE 11.00am !!  says the notice.There is already a line for the most prestigious of daily sports newspapers in Europe, and its THE DAY AFTER the final.  NO time to wait, I'll pick up a copy in COLMAR, an hour South.
  Colmar is about one tenth the size of its more famous neighbor, but is an absolute gem. I am met by my colleague Edolie who helps with tours and we visit some training sites and sports hotels.
Colmar is near to some really great little villages on La Route du Vin, the Alsace wine road. Each is only a km or so apart but very distinctive villages and wines. Lots of 'cavs' or tasting houses, where you can get samples and pick  packs of 3, 6 bottles. and lots to eat of local fare. My favorites are RIQUEWIHR and RIBEAUVILLE, the first  a walled town and the latter famous for giant Cigognes (storks) that make tractor tire sized nests on the top of chimneys.
  Colmar has a section called Petit Venise and lining the River Lauch are half timbered houses some now attractive restaurants. There is the cathedral, the Quartier Tanniers, and many fine museums.  We pass a restaurant called Restaurant Abattoire-I think we will pass, and go to a quiet place for a fish lunch and some local pancakes with apricot and ice cream.
  Famous foods include gingerbread, Choucoute Garne, which I have had before. Lots of sauerkraut with Strasbourg sausages, pigs breast, knuckle of ham etc. Also Kugelhopt. Last time we played here they served this giant cake. You can eat it with sugar or with salt!!
We go to Elodies house and her parents who have a building business next door. They have a Santa Barbara size swimming pool, unusual for a French family.
  Colmar is the home of Frederic-August Bartholde, who in 1886 designed the Statue of Liberty and there is a giant replica on the entrance to town, and he has his own museum, one of many interesting museums.
  Finally I pick up today's L'EQUIPE.  "REGRETS ETERNAL " is the headline "What shall we tell our children" is the front page editorial and goes on about ZIZOUS shameful act. Well, the kids will get over it, they always do. Another newspaper says  " All month we have been dreaming with Zidane: This morning we wake up to Chirac".(the French President).
  I bumped into Spike Lee at a previous match. He was wearing a Thierry Henri French tricolor jersey.  I think Malcolm X was his  movie of great acclaim that nobody saw, but now is the time to make JURGEN K -it will sell out in Germany at least.
Next, over the border to SCHWARZWALD, and the home of cuckoo clocks, Rottweilers and much more...
Ron on Tour