We slept soundly in this little medieval town, Riquewihr. We had no big plans for the day except to walk back to Hunawihr and then to Ribeauvillé, maybe get some lunch, take the bus back to Sélestat, then catch the train back to Strasbourg, and then walk back to our apartment.
But first, breakfast. We headed downstairs to the basement where the breakfast room was and were warmly greeted again by Brigitte. She showed us to a large table filled with breads, jams, cheeses, hams, yogurt and fruit, and after exchanging greetings, we sat in between a couple from Belgium and a French family. Fresh, hot coffee was provided in a carafe along with a pitcher of hot milk to be mixed together in wonderfully large cups. Ah, café au lait – I love espresso in their tiny cups, but for breakfast give me a big mug-o-coffee.
Anyway, as we ate, there was little conversation, the young French family and their young child departed, and we were enjoying the variety of foods in front of us. Brigitte returned and asked something we didn’t immediately understand, and our Belgian table companions provided a quick translation. Soon, since she spoke English and her husband understood and spoke some, we were all chatting about all sorts of things. It was a delightful conversation, and since there was quite a bit of translating going on, Brigitte soon joined in. Everyone was interested in hearing about our adventure and commented on how they value the concept. But the sky was cloudy this morning, and the forecast was calling for some rain, so we needed to begin our walk back to Ribeauvillé soon. After saying our good-byes, we retrieved our backpacks and took off.
Though it was overcast, the temperature was cool. The route back to Hunawihr was the same as we took to get here, but there were other routes we could take through the vineyards and farm lanes to get back to Ribeauvillé.
It was necessary to use three maps to navigate, since two were coarse tourist maps with the walking routes, and our accurate topo map without. To top it all off, neither of the tourist maps seemed to agree with each other. Well, we trusted the topo map more and together with our smartphone GPS/compass, we made our way through the maze of vineyards to arrive back in Ribeauvillé.
It was Saturday, and the town was busy with lots of tourists and locals coming and going as we turned onto Grand Rue, the main street. But as we walked further and looked more closely it was the color pink that we noticed … everywhere.
Not only was it market day, but there was also a festival of “La Vie en Rose” or Life in Pink (a loose meaning is more like “life is beautiful”). There wasn’t the association with cancer as in the US, though there was a table set up for that purpose. It was more of a reason for people and local businesses to get out and enjoy life. There were things for kids, live rock music, and a brass band, “Rhinau – Schalmeien”, in very curious attire that paraded down the Grand Rue right past us as we enjoyed a drink at a café before heading to the bus stop.
Going in the other direction was a parade of vintage cars that rolled down the narrow Grand Rue promoting the Tour Alsace, a 4-stage (plus prologue TT), 637 km (396 mi) bicycle race that had 23 teams participating. We were waiting for our bus when the peloton and dozens of support vehicles rolled through. I tried not to blink, because that’s how quickly they were here and gone.
Shortly after the race had passed, our bus arrived to transport us on the first leg of our return to our apartment. Tonight we would be “home” and we were ready for that.