Sunday, April 6, 2014

Vintners and Timbers

We began today with breakfast at the hotel. It was a buffet with the usual European selections plus scrambled eggs, sausage and bacon. The coffee was good, strong and hot. At checkout I got some good advice about touring the Alsace Wine Route and we set out to do so. But not before first having the GPS set to English for us by the car valet. That made the rest of our trip go a lot smoother.

The "Route des Vins d'Alsace" is a two (sometimes one) lane road that winds among the vineyards and passes through small picturesque Alsatian villages every couple of miles or so, many the descendants of medieval walled cities and each with their own church and sometimes a castle on the nearby hilltop. We enjoyed the leisurely drive and stopped a few times for pictures. Our last stop was at the town of Eguisheim that claims to be the birthplace of Alsatian winemaking. Here we tasted some local white wines and chose a bottle to bring home.

From Eguisheim we headed east into the mountains of the Black Forest. The road twisted back and forth on hairpin switchbacks with no guard rails or shoulder as we climbed higher and higher, occasionally being zipped past by death defying motorcyclists. We passed through dense pine forests and a few remote villages before reaching our highest point. We got out for a view and some pictures and the air was quite cool compared to the pleasantly warm Alsatian wine valley we had come from.

We descended on a similar road to the town of Bad Wildbad which offers a funicular railway to the top of the Sommerberg, but we opted not to seek it out due to the lateness of the day and having already enjoyed a spectacular mountaintop view. We continued on to our final destination at a very nice Marriott in Sindelfingen, only a few minutes away from the Stuttgart airport where we will depart tomorrow. The hotel has a good restaurant where we had wine and steak and a relaxing finish to our day.

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