St. Peter's Blog 'The Beautiful Alsace' from St. Peter’s Evangelical Lutheran Church – North Wales, PA's Blog

The Beautiful Alsace

Image Wednesday, Jun 29, 2016
Author: Pastor Andreas Wagner

For the next few weeks my blog will turn into a travel blog. If you like,

watch where we are going... 

My wife wasn't so sure what we would be doing here for three nights, in the Alsace, the cross-cultural region between Germany and France, separated by the Rhine valley. As soon as she saw the beautiful villages and towns with their plentiful colors, flowers and half timbered houses, with features such as houses built over the local creek, cheese making places, local jam, buildings that go back to medieval times and vineyards, vineyards, vineyards... oh she was very happy!

We are staying for three nights in the picturesque town of Kaysersberg near Colmar. Doctor Albert Schweitzer was born here in the parsonage of the Protestant church, across the street from us. There is a museum there with lots of artifacts and facts about his life. His portrait also adorns the wonderfully renovated apartment where we are staying.  It's been fun to try to refresh our French. Julia learned some from her mom and on trips to family in France as a child. I had a few years in school  but unfortunately didn't put enough effort into it.  So, we are now both trying to communicate with bits and pieces of French and some German and English mixed in as well, enough to impress our children I guess.

Yesterday we went up to Haute Koenigsbourg, a castle dating back to 800, which was thoroughly renovated by the Germans between 1900 and 1908. It was really a marvel on top of a mountain, providing the visitor with a stunning view of  the Vosges and Black Forest mountains, the Rhine valley, the  hills of Alsace and, they claim, the Alps on clear days. It was one of the most interesting castles of that type that I have visited (and I have visited a few). At night, Julia and I went to Colmar for dinner. A brass band was playing on the marketplace in the old historic town. It all felt very German, including the traditional sauerkraut, Alsacian style.

This region features a beautiful mix of German and French cuisine and it is known for its Riesling and Pinot Gris vines, mostly white wines. In some of the villages you feel simply transported back in time. They are really not overly touristy, although there are tourists here for sure. I sometimes wonder how people here dealt with the two world wars as their loyalties were surely conflicted. The veterans of the World Wars, listed in front of the main church in Kaysersberg often had French first names and German last names. I think the region has in a good way maintained its own identity.

I am glad we came here. It gives rest to the soul just to see the simple beauty of these towns...

And our kids? Enjoyed Flammkuchen, the Alsacian "pizza," made with sour cream, bacon and other ingredients on a thin crust, and croissants of course... We will visit Strassburg, the old regional center later today.

Greetings from France...   Salutations de la France!

The Wagners

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