7 Nov 2012

Reminiscing Alsace, France

Two years ago, hubby and I won free flights to Europe. It was an exciting and memorable trip, a blessing from above. We back-packed, starting in Rome, heading northwards through quaint little towns by train, spending more time in Rome, Florence and Cinque Terre before moving on into France, Switzerland, and then departing for home via Milan. I've not blogged about the trip except for a post I wrote last year entitled Missing Cinque Terre.

Well..it's about 2 years exactly now since our trip, and I am reminiscing again, this time of our visit to dear friends in the Alsace region of France. Equipped then only with a tiny compact, these are not great shots, but looking at them brings much joyful memories to me. The best part about this leg of the trip was meeting with close friends. I cannot forget the joy of seeing Leen at the train station, and then going out into that cold air to find her family waiting in the car, the children still wide awake despite it being way past bedtime. :)  Such joy to be reunited. Anyway, there were as usual hundreds of shots...just a few basic ones below now.
Leaving Italy for France via train was a very long journey. We passed by many small Italian towns on the way.

We don't get to see this sort of scenery in Malaysia..bales of hay. I remember days of being a student in the USA...where sometimes my  friend Heather and I would trek through the quiet woods to enjoy autumn's colours, then sometimes climbing onto a bale of hay for a rest and a chat under the cool, misty sky.

The journey was so long we munched on junk food, learned and revised bits of Italian and of course sketched a couple of pictures.
It got exciting when we began passing through Switzerland. Sometimes the pressure from going into the tunnels would create a sudden pop/pressure in the ears!We later visited beautiful Switzerland with Leen, but that'll have to be a different post, perhaps next year. ;)

Reunited with Leen we spent some lovely time in her kitchen. (Me in black)

 One of the days, Leen took off from work and took us across the lovely country side, enjoying views of vineyards made bare by the constant rain and chilly air...Can't remember the name of this building though.

 Sometimes getting lost while looking for shortcuts.  haha...:)

 We visited the Haut-Koenigsbourg castle built in the 12th century, and I was just in awe of almost everything in the castle..from the paintings on the wall, to the glass windows, chandeliers, the really antique furniture etc.

 Sorry bad picture, cropped too near. But notice the use of animal's skull a part of the chandelier. Fancy having one in your house?


Hubby thought the view from the very top of the castle would have been really breath taking if not for the fog. Still for a person who comes from such a warm country, I found all that fog beautiful, and serene.

We visited a quaint little town not far off (sorry again, I've forgotten the name. I should have blogged this 2 years ago!)  I remember just loving the Christmas decorations, the smell of delicious delicacies oozing out from some of the bakeries inviting, tempting me!

I was ever so tempted to just buy tonnes of christmas decoration, but was reminded that I was back packing, and there was a limit as to what I could carry. In the end, we just got several ginger bread soft toys, a few boxes of ginger bread cookies/bread for family.

We also had a delicious lunch of veal, potatoes, salad and of course, Alsace wine, of which there are no photos coz there was much to catch up on with Leen (minus kids). What else? I got to taste a bit of Leen's life when we walked her children to school, looked at her amazing batch of huge pumpkins, and hubby helped her fix the tree house. *smile*...beautiful memories.

Finally, the above was a view from the castle we visited. I was just thinking again about that trip....how earlier in the year, I was just sighing and wishing we'd have some extra money to visit Europe. Also it had been so long since hubby and I had a trip together. And walla...the free tickets came. Truly, God looks through the window of my heart, He knows me best, and He provided for it all.

And it was also in celebration of our 10th Wedding Anniversary. What perfect timing it was. :)

@poundthegarlic.blogspot.com 2012



marie said...

What charming pictures. I love seeing your friend's kitchen, it's fun to see how other women keep their home (especially the kitchen) in other countries.

The picture of Switzerland is stunning. I would love to go visit Europe. And eat gingerbread. I've only been once and that was to Belgium. I loved how truly old everything was and the stone walkways. I of course being an American tourist was in tennis shoes while all the fashionable European women were in heels, on cobblestone streets!

Martha said...

Dear Marie, totally understand the part about shoes! Haha... I'm so influenced by american culture, I was in rubber shoes n jeans, and the Europeans were doning leather pants with knee high boots with heals, leopard print shirts, etc. I remember craving for boots, bit I knew they'd be chucked in a corner as soon as I got back to my warm country so I resisted. Haha..
Yes Switzerland is stunning, and good company made it memorable. Oh yes, I loved my friend's kitchen, ESP the dish washer and the amount of cheese and ham she had in her fridge! :)

gail said...

So happy you had such a great time and can relive it through photos!

Martha said...

Dear G, indeed. :) I remember feeling anxious before the trip coz I had planned the rail routes, booked motels n stuff all by faith, trusting g reviews o line.
We did get lost a few times, missed some trains, but all so memorable. :)

Leen said...

Dear Martha ,
Thank you for sharing. Time has indeed gone by too quickly...The village with the Christmas shop is Riquewhir and the one with the church is Hunawhir. Had a lovely time with you and hubs....come back...I got myself a GPS now, so will not be getting too lost, hopefully :-).♥

Martha said...

Dear Leen, hehe..thanks for all the names I'd forgotten. :) Time goes too quickly. I was just thinking back of Jo performing on stage last Christmas, just 6 years old. And now she's 7. And I was looking at a dress that used to be far t oo long for Nel, and now Jo's wearing it. Oh boy. I hope someday to revisit France. Fingers crossed we will. Love to you and family. :)

Carolyn (Lil' Dahling) said...

Ooo..it's such a blessing! How did you win the tickets? Lucky you, I'm so jealous. LOL. And you're already trekking as a student! haha. Everything looked so beautiful in the pictures. No wonder you're missing it.

Martha said...

Hey Carolyn, we won it at mpo, where we filled in a survey. It was the only time where I've ever won anything! Haha..

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