Alsace is not a town but rather a department (state) within France with a very special character. Tourists visit in droves for good reason. The wine is fine, and the small villages of half-timbered houses are a delight. The people speak a dialect that probably drives Parisians crazy. The food, too, is fine, especially if you crave sauerkraut.

Alsace is just to the west of the Rhine River, the border between France and Germany. Over the centuries it has belonged to France and then Germany, then France and again to Germany so many times it’s hard to keep count. After WWII, many of its citizens wanted to rejoin Germany but it didn’t happen. We spent five days wandering around our home base of Wintzenheim and a few neighboring villages.

Wintzenheim

Wintzenheim, France – home of many wine makers

Wintzenheim is a no nonsense, frill-free village surrounded by well-tended vineyards with essentially no tourists. We found a very nice apartment there so it was a good home for us.

Surrounded by vineyards

Surrounded by vineyards

A mere kilometer away was Turkheim, where tourists were bursting its seams to experience a gussied-up village with all the usual souvenir shops selling plastic storks.

Gateway int Turkheim

Gateway into Turkheim

Inside Durkheim's city gate

Inside Turkheim’s city gate

A real stork

A real stork

Town hall

Town hall

Former town well

Former town well

Lots of half-timbered buildings

Lots of half-timbered buildings

Fine door

Fine door

Nice window

Fine window

Later we spent a few hours in Kientzheim, also with storks, vineyards and wineries by the dozen.

A bit further north on the Route du Vin we came to Kaysersberg, a bustling tourist and wine town made famous as the birth place of Albert Schweitzer.

Albert Schweitzer's birth place

Albert Schweitzer’s birth place

A canal runs through it.

A channel runs through it.

Narrow lanes

Narrow lanes

Tourist

Tourist

Woman eyes the pastries

Woman eyes the pastries

We eat well

We eat well

French style

French style

Eva buys a whole tart

Eva buys a whole tart

Visual touch

Visual touch

We pass beyond the gate

We pass beyond the gate

We say goodbye to France

We say goodbye to France

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