It had been a glorious week on the Viking EIR, (courtesy of Viking River Cruises).* Our voyage on the “Rhineland Discovery” river cruise would soon be coming to an end. There was one last day to savor — with a morning excursion to the medieval village of Colmar, France and an afternoon exploring the beauty of Germany’s fabled Black Forest.
A Walking Tour Of Colmar, France
“Welcome aboard,” said our tour guide Rhona as we readied for the bus trip to Colmar. It was a brief ride and Rhona provided a history lesson on the way. She told us that this area of France was occupied by Germany during WWI and WWII.
As we neared the roundabout there was a replica of the Statue of Liberty. “We have a tiny bit of New York City here,” said Rhona. “In 2004 an honorary statue was placed at the entrance of Colmar to honor it’s hometown creator Bartholdi, who designed the original monument as a thank you to Americans for their help in WWII.”
Visiting the Hansi Museum
The village was charming with cobblestone streets and handmade shop signs produced by another Colmar artist, Hansi. Rhona told us that “Hansi liked to portray happy villages of the Alsace.” Maybe that’s why all of the Hansi signs were taken down by the Germans during WWII. So glad that they were reclaimed after the war and put back up.
I spent my free hour visiting the Hansi Museum. It was filled with an eclectic collection of his artwork and a lovely shop to buy souvenirs.
An afternoon of beauty in the Black Forest
My boyfriend L and I were excited for our travels into the Black Forest, situated on a mountain range in Baden-Württemberg, southeast Germany. I told L I wanted to sit by the window so I could take in all the breathtaking views. He didn’t argue, knowing that perhaps he might nap along the way. Not me. My eyes were wide open the entire time.
Up, up, up we climbed into the mountains. I felt like I was in a storybook land. We saw the highest peak (at 4000 feet) where skiers down the mountains in winter and dense evergreens so close together that they appear black instead of green. We passed a thatched roof farm house and pastures covered with cows. Our guide Dominic said that there are more dairy cows in the Black Forest than people.
We traveled around sharp curves to reach Hofgut Sternen, a hotel and village, where we were educated on how cuckoo clocks are made (cuckoo birds are famous inhabitants of the forest) and learned how to prepare Black Forest Cake.
I passed on buying a cuckoo clock. If you ever want to buy a cuckoo clock you can order one online. I didn’t pass on purchasing a large slice of Black Forest Cake which L decided to share with me. “I don’t think I’m hungry for cake,” said L. “When in the Black Forest I must eat Black Forest Cake,” I replied.
Ooh, ooh, ooh, the whipped cream, was so light and airy going down. Ooh, ooh, ooh, the cherries were so tart and sweet at the same time. Ooh, ooh, ooh, the kirsch liquor soaked into the chocolate sponge cake adding just the right flavoring. Being a nice girlfriend, I gave L a fork and together we polished off every last bit of whipped cream. It was the best Black Forest Cake ever, ever, ever!
We had experienced the forest through our senses. By listening to the sounds of the animals and trees wavering. By tasting the sweetness of the Black Forest Cake. And most of all, with our eyes, seeing all the beauty around us.
Saying our goodbyes
After a wonderful day in the Alsace region and Black Forest it was time to pack our bags. We would be taking many great memories with us.
“This is our home and we hope you chose us again,” said the hotel manager Chris. “I learned at a very young age that ships that pass in the night are often forgotten. But nights that pass on the ship are never forgotten.”
So dear friends, did you book your Viking River Cruise yet? The 2017 and many of the 2018 schedules are already available. What are you waiting for? It’s time to live in the moment and enjoy your life after 50.
P.S. – In case you missed my first recaps you can find them at:
♥ My Travels on “Rhineland Discovery” – A Delight for the Senses
♥ My Travels on “Rhineland Discovery” – First Stop Beautiful Bruges
♥ My Travels on “Rhineland Discovery” – Adventures In Amsterdam
♥ My Travels on “Rhineland Discovery” – A Lovely Last Day In Amsterdam
♥ My Travels on “Rhineland Discovery” − Welcome To Kinderdijk and Cologne
♥ My Travels on “Rhineland Discovery” – The Great Castles of Germany
♥ My Travels on “Rhineland Discovery” – A Best Ever Full-Day Feast in Strasbourg
*Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored post.” Viking River Cruises provided me with a complimentary press trip river cruise on the Rhine. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.