Vive La France – Day 5

After the excitement of the previous day, we decided to take it easy for a bit.  I took a light breakfast of coffee and bread with marmalade to fuel me up for a leisurely bicycle ride through the neighboring villages.

Marie, the professional tour guide.

The weather was perfect and we all got a bit of sun.  A lot of the countryside in Alsace looks like this:

Rolling grassy hills with corn, wheat, and cows.  And, of course, churches and cute villages.

The church in Bretton.

We were the most exciting thing this cow had seen all day.

A traditionally-styled house with gardens.

Rolling around through one of my favorite foods, corn!

We made the most out of the sunshine by having lunch out on the deck.  In the distance we could see a member of the family, Joseph Mangue, driving his tractor around harvesting hay.  Lunch was beef bourguignon with spätzle noodles.  It was pretty awesome.

Roger poured me a glass of my first Eau de Vie.  This is a digestif similar to a grappa but made from orchard fruit, in this case cherries.  It was good, even though it made me want to take a nap afterwards!

After we finished our late lunch, we all piled back into the car to head back up to the Vosges mountains.  We twisted through serpentine roads and found ourselves along the crest of part of the mountain range.  There were a lot of ski lodges along the way, as well as a big war memorial dedicated to French soldiers.

Just to the right of this photo was the Cross of Lorraine, a big mountaintop cross that can be seen from the valley below.

The top of the highest peak is called the Grand Ballon.  At around 1400 meters tall, it is the highest point in all of Alsace, and offers views in all directions.  We hiked up the trail to the top, tasting berries and looking at flowers along the way.

Roger in front of a radar tower at the top of the Grand Ballon.

View from the summit. The monument is a dedication to Les Diables Bleu, in memory of all the soldiers who fought in the mountains during WWI.

We went to dinner at a ferme auberge (a mountaintop restaurant that was also a farm) where we had omelettes and charcuterie platters with white wine.  Everything we ate was grown right there on the farm.  I ate blood sausage as well as some sort of head meat suspended in jelly, not knowing what they were, but they were actually pretty good.

Mountain living at its finest!

After a quick cup of coffee, we were headed back down the mountains and into our beds.  Another day full of amazing sights!

About the Author: Justin
A 34 year old Software Engineer in Seattle, WA with a love for coding, music, video games, and the great outdoors.
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