We crossed the Rhine River from Germany on our way to the Alsatian town of Colmar, France. In years past people would have to stop at the borders check points to show passports before traveling into the next country. Now with the European Union there are no formal borders. This section of the Rhine River has a lock which the Viking Atla traveled through last night. Most of the locks the ship went through were at night so we did not get to see how it operated.
On the ride from Germany we passed the French twin town to Breisach of Neuf Brisach. Louis XIV had it built as an octagon fortress with four gates to keep the invaders out. The design of the outer landscape and inner fortress are amazing to view on Google maps.
When we arrived at the town of Colmar the first thing we saw was a statue that was very familiar to us. It was a smaller version of the Statue of Liberty. The artist Frederic Bartholdi that designed the Statue of Liberty for the United States lived here.
On our tour through the town our guide pointed out many of the shops, bakeries, and restaurants had tin signs above the establishment. These tin signs had a lot of symbolism which back in the days of the World War were placed at the shops to somewhat mock the Germans. Colmar is a very quaint walking town with a great pedestrian friendly area. Colmar is known for its half-timbered houses. These buildings were built with masonry on the lower level and then timber was used on the upper levels. As the next story was built, the floor usually stuck out some over the story below so that there would be more room on that floor but the owner would only have to pay taxes on the square footage of the first floor.
The day we were in town there was an outdoor market where you could buy all kinds of things. We could smell the great pastry, bread and cookie shops along our walk. Colmar is known for its many wineries. I was lucky enough to bring home a nice Alsace bottle of red wine. Many of the vineyards and wineries are located up in the Alsace Mountains which is the backdrop of Colmar.
Next we are on to the City of Strasbourg, France