La Petit Venice du France: Colmar
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It was our first venture into France, and despite the cold rain, we just may have to agree. We drove into Colmar, only 2 hours from Zurich, on the first full day after my mom arrived. She was thrilled to get a chance to visit France, and this little town really packed the punch.
What better way to spend Sweetest Day than in what the French call their petit Venice?
We took a little train tour where we were able to see all of the sites of Colmar and hear a bit about them (in English, even!)
It is the home of sculptor Auguste Bartholdi, best known for creating the Statue of Liberty. Comlar is a small town of about 3000 that was not destroyed by the war, so many historical buildings and architectures can be seen. It is called petit Venice because of the little canal that runs through one of the streets.
As soon as we finished the train tour we came across a couple of problems, a sleeping toddler in the stroller on cobblestone streets, on and off icy rain, and ATM cards that were not granting us any Euros. The street front vendors were not taking "la credit carte," so our French shopping was put on major hold.
We were not even able to ride the gondola style boats down the canal (but maybe that was a blessing, considering the weather)! We were able to buy some pastries, coffee, and crepes as we wandered through the chilly wet village.
Alexander was walking along the canal with his umbrella saying oooh-la-la! I talked Kayley into getting a French beret (sort of), and we were also able to buy some wine and other small goodies from the area.
I was a bit turned off by the idea of ordering French dinner that would come to the likings of the kids, so we got really creative for dinner. We bought rotisserie chicken from a butcher, along with wine, sodas, sandwiches, and sweets, and ate in a cozy café where the kids could watch a street performer as we finished our wine
By the time we got back near our car, we were all tired, cold, and a bit sore (Pano's knees did not appreciate the cobblestone). Our drive back took longer than needed due to traffic, a few missed turns, and torrential rain.
I was at the wheel, and it was probably the most nervous I have been driving. Mostly because the day before, Brian let me know that I “won the prize” for getting the first traffic ticket. In following the GPS and keeping track of street names and turns, it is really difficult to maintain a speed of 50kph (which is like30!). We got surprise notice by mail of my going 7 over. The part that makes me nervous is that it was from our very first weekend here. Imagine how many more of these little surprises I have racked up since then!?!
Our neighbor Anita tells me there are speed traps all over town that people just know about, and that sometimes a letter explaining your situation will be enough to get it removed. The fee is only around $50, so I may save that get out of jail card for a future infraction (running a red is $250? uh-oh; that may be what I want for Christmas this year).