Eguisheim is just too lovely to give up the opportunity for another walk through the village, this time in the softer, morning light. It really is quite magical – I’m surprised it hasn’t made its way into a movie set or two.
We learn a little more today: the colourful vineyard cottages with their exposed timbers didn’t always look this way.
When they were first built, up until the 16th century, the colours were far more sober. Colour wasn’t introduced until the 17th and 18th centuries when it indicated the wealthiest owners. Horrifying, in the 19th century, the trend was to render the cottages with concrete, hiding their beautiful timbers. Colours were again plain in this time. Luckily, by the 20th century, the trend swung back around – cement renders were removed, painstakingly restoring the cottages’ original appearance. In recent decades this century, colours were reintroduced, sealing the final touch to the gorgeous village we see today. I’m rather smitten, as you can see.
We also learn that the village grew up around a castle built in 1,000 AD, following on from a smaller wooden castle from the Roman period. Only parts of its original wall remain (below) which now surround the central chapel.
The castle formed the base of the village and was the birthplace of the man who went on to become Pope Leon IX (1049 – 1054). The chapel which stands in its place is dedicated to his memory.
Our last stop is the chapel. We see now it’s home to not one, but three enormous stork’s nests. Inside, it’s the only historical place of worship we’ve been to which looks like it was finished yesterday.
Despite its age, the mediaeval paintings on the walls are bright with colour – it’s very beautiful.
On our way out, of course I squish my purry ginger kitten one more time. I can see he’s created quite a trade in pats aplenty from all who pass. This time I leave photos to Chris, who swears he took two, but there are none on later review. Meanwhile a nice German lady has a great shot of me with a teeny ginger kitten headbutting my neck, purring his little pink nose off. I’m pretty sure I looked just as happy. 😻
There’s just time to take a few more photos, pop in to the boulangerie to pick up a last baguette and a rather fine looking Schwarzwald torte – we’re headed there next, afterall.
The afternoon sees us cross into Germany, into the heart of the Schwarzwald – the fabled Black Forest. It’s stunning, barely touched by autumn, trees as far as eye can see.
A diversion takes us right over the top of a mountain range, through the ski slopes, luckily with no terrifying roads. Even in summer, there are plenty of people here. Europe utilises its skiing areas really well in summer. There are hikers galore, adventure playgrounds and water parks. The mountain roads are very popular with motorbikes too, although we see rather terrifying road statistics about accidents.
We settle in Todtnau and walk into town for drinks under its imposing church, admiring flowers along the way.
I think Jake and Elwood approve.