We bade farewell to Freiburg and drove back across the Rhine into France and our last week here. We headed back to Colmar as its one of the only places with a campground open in November apart from Strasbourg, which will be the last stop before we return the van to Mannheim. Wow we can't believe its almost over.
Back in Colmar and it was freezing. Winter is encroaching on late Autumn and days are cold and wet. The sun when it shines has little heat in it due to the biting wind. The town is just as beautiful in the cold Autumn as it is in the Spring sunshine. Colmar will really shine in December when the Christmas Markets get into their full swing. We sat in the warmth of Café Dussourd looking out onto Place des Dominicains, which is the main venue for the Christmas Markets. The coffee and pastries here are excellent and welcome on a chilly morning. We wandered around familiar streets sparse of tourists thanks to the weather and time of year. La Terrasse at the distinctive Covered Market was our lunch break. We tried the Flammkuchen. This is a German style pizza made with crème fraîche and topped with onions, lardons and cheese. It was delicious. The market sits alongside the picturesque canals of the Little Venice district. Even in the cold and drizzling rain this place is still eye catching with its colourful houses overlooking swans on the water. We love it here any time of year.
We left on a cold and windy morning and headed for Strasbourg. The journey was short and after parking up we headed into town. The weather had improved. It was no longer raining, there was an insipid sun in a barely blue sky and the breeze was bracing. But it still would have been a great day if Margie's purse hadn't been stolen. It was a sobering moment but it didn't end up costing us monetarily only emotionally. We didn't let it spoil our time here as it is another one of our favourite cities in France. We spent four days here and despite the cold, rain and theft we had a great time. It is so easy to get around and reasonably cheap.
Strasbourg is a city of contrast with two distinct faces. There is the old city rich in history and architecture and full of interesting and beautiful places to explore or just absorb its ancestry. Then there is the new city. The home of the European Parliament just to the north. Separated in distance, time and reality from the old. Its a steel and glass menagerie full of itinerant taxpayer funded freeloaders whose theme song is Tears For Fears 'Everybody Wants To Rule The World'. Fortunately parliament was in recess. Their Christmas Hols will be fraught with visions of what will happen to their lifestyle without British taxpayers footing the bill anymore.
We left cold and sad that this adventure is now over and headed back across the Rhine for the last time. We made our way back to Germany and Mannheim where we spent the last cold night in a beautiful little campground on the local lake resort of Weisensee. We dropped the van back the next morning and headed for Frankfurt Airport. We were torn by two conflicting emotions homesickness and wanderlust. The former is now satisfied and the latter will be in the not too distant future.
Until then Au revoir Europe!