Edited by Sheila MacCallum
Using our rental car’s GPS unit, we programmed in our next destination, Colmar, using the device’s “direct route” setting. This is the best option to avoid getting lost but to also have a bit of an adventure driving through a series of gorgeous small towns as the setting avoids the faster route of the highways.
As an aside, I do highly recommend a GPS unit if your Alsace trip involves a rental car. Although not perfect, it does help navigate the narrow, twisty roads of the country villages. Occasionally it will lead you astray - in one case our GPS’s pleasant voice cheerfully recommended a route through a restaurant. Apparently there was a road on the other side of it that we needed to get to. However, despite the occasional satellite confusion on our exact location I’m sure we’d still be in Alsace if it weren’t for our GPS companion.
Driving into Colmar for the first time is an alarming experience as the town’s outer sprawl has not maintained the charm of its original centre. However, once you get past all of the near ghetto-looking low apartments and budget shops you arrive at the most charming of city centres. Colmar’s old town is truly a diamond in the rough.
Bypassing the more expensive executive hotels near the old town centre we stayed at an agreeable Holiday Inn near the train station. This left us more money to spend on food and wine, which was the point of our trip. Arriving at 6 pm we quickly checked into our room, changed, and hurried out to explore the beautiful old town while we still had daylight. Little did we know that Colmar’s charm increases dramatically as the sun sets. - LC
(Photos by Liam Carrier - Copyright 2008)