Europe 2012: Day 90, Colmar


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Colmar, France.

Tuesday 9/04/12

Woke at 8am.   It is cloudy and dry.  According to the web, it was supposed to be warm and sunny.

Today we decide to go to Colmar, another quaint Black Forest town recommended by Rick Steves.   According to Wikipedia, “Colmar is the home town of the painter and engraver Martin Schongauer and the sculptor Frédéric Bartholdi, who designed the Statue of Liberty. The city is renowned for its well preserved old town, its numerous architectural landmarks and its museums, among which is the Unterlinden Museum.”

We catch the 10:51am train because I spent a good deal of the morning looking for an open café to get a cup of coffee.   What is it about Strasbourg that the cafes do not open until 9am?   Are there not tourists that want a cup of java to get an early start?    I finally find one and have a nice cup of coffee as I watch everyone go to work.   The air is brisk and it feels like fall.    I think, “the leaves will soon be changing colors in Wisconsin.”  Boy, have we been gone that long?

The train ride to Colmar is uneventful, or maybe nothing phases us anymore – I really can’t tell.   By the time we arrive, it is cloudy.

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Our arrival in Colmar was gloomy…

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…but the sun eventually came out!

So the first place we go is to the Unterlinden Museum to wait out the clouds.    This is a fabulous museum and a great audio guide!    We were there an easy two hours going from room to room looking and learning about more medieval art from the German-Franco prospective.  I dare to quote Wikipedia again, but “the museum is the most visited in Alsace; Famous above all things for the Isenheim Altarpiece by Matthias Grünewald, it also displays a major collection of Upper Rhenish medieval and early Renaissance art, among which the Colmar native Martin Schongauer occupies the most prominent place with several altarpieces and a large number of original drawings, engravings and woodcuts. “   These altar pieces truly are a work of art.   My DH was able to take some great pictures…

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Entry to the Unterlinden Museum in Colmar, France.

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After paying for our admission to the Unterlinden Museum, we turned right and see a lovely courtyard. This building was a monastery.

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The monks did lovely illustrations of religious stories.

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The chapel is now the gallery of the Unterlinden Museum.

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These are two of my favorite paintings at the Unterlinden Museum — I like the animals!

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The Isenheim Altarpiece by Matthias Grünewa.

Sure enough, the sun did come out!   After the museum, we made our way to the Tourist Information office and got a map of the city (complete with a walking tour).   By this time it is 1:30pm and we are hungry.   We find a little place off the beaten path called La Perla.  This place is cozy and cool since it sits in the shadow of a large green house.   They were about to close for their lunch break, but the nice waiter takes our orders anyway.  For my DH, a Potato Gratin made with Munster cheese (a regional specialty).  I order a Munster and Bacon tart.   Both were tasty and just enough to share.

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This big green house castes a cool shade for our lunch.

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This little man is craved into the corner of the big green house.

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My DH’s lunch, a yummy and filling potato gratin.

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My lunch was a yummy Munster and Bacon tart!

After lunch, we continue with the walking tour that takes us through the beautiful streets of Colmar.   Here are some pictures:

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Lovely old buildings…

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…they are everywhere!

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Colmar also has dreamy canals.

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An interesting store sign — I love the ducks on top.

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Oh, another wonderful market!

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More timber and plaster buildings.

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Meat tarts!

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One of a few town squares in Colmar.

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St. Martin’s Church.

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Where are all the tourists?

Our last stop is the Church of the Dominicans (Eglise des Dominicains) that houses the Flemish-influenced Madonna of the Rosebush (1473), by Martin Schongauer (1445-91).  This is truly a stunning painting of the Virgin in an unusual setting.  No photos were allowed, you need to go to the link to see this painting.

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Exterior of the Church of the Dominicans.

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Entry to the Church of the Dominicans.

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Altar of the Church of the Dominicans.

With weary feet, we caught the 5:37pm train back to Strasbourg.   After a rest at the hotel, I searched TripAdvisor for a restaurant while my DH checked email and feeds on the laptop.   So far, his lost iPod has not been recovered.    I find four possible restaurants and choose one based on food and price.  By 8pm, we are off to find L’Epicerie (#11 of 400 in Strasbourg) which specializes in tartines (open-faced sandwiches on crusty whole-grain toasted bread).    When we arrived, it is packed with students but we are able to find a nice spot by the door.   My DH orders a turkey tartine, I order one with Pork Pate (Liverwurst with pickles).   Both were good, filling, and the price was right!

After dinner, we took a walk around the neighborhood.  Nothing is happening here in Strasbourg tonight.  The streets are quiet and sleepy and so are we.

Quote of the day:  “Where are all of the tourists?” – Anna to DH.

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