The second day of our holiday dawned bright and clear, and Mr full-of-foie gras Basu decided to jog while I blogged. I was up at 4, from a combination of jet lag and the excitement of being on the bike.
Nick met us after our breakfast of croissants with cheese, Nutella and coffee. He had an exciting route mapped out for us – to Dambach la-Ville then Epfig, Ebersmunster, through Ebersheim and back to Scherwiller. As we’ve come to expect, Nick gave us some good ideas on where to stop and what to see.
Half an hour later, we were all saddled up and ready to go.
First task – take the bike path through the village of Kientzville to The medieval town of Dambach la Ville. And we got lost. The good news is that the spires of the chapels in nearby villages can be seen from a distance, and a few wrong turns later we were back on track.
Dambach is a fortified city dating back to the 14th century. We stopped in the shop to pick up some lunch first – un baguette, fromage, pêches, deux oranges, then cycled to the town centre to park our bicycles at the Office de tourisme. Then wandered around to admire some 15th century buildings, half-timbered houses, fountains and other structures.
Right out of Dambach, we turned left to climb the hill to the Chapelle St. Sebastien. That hill sucked the juice out of me, and I had to walk up from midway. For a fabulous view of Dambach La Ville below.
We spent a few minutes inside the chapel, a cool relief from the intense sun. And it wasn’t even noon!
Then we set off on a longish ride, through Bienschwiller, toward Epfig, through the farms and vineyards on dedicated cycle paths, to the Chapelle Saint Marguerite.
The ‘highlight’ of this chapel is the ossuary – holding skulls and bones of juveniles during the peasant revolution. The interior of the chapel is calm and inviting, and they have a short commentary about the history in 3 languages. I loved it!
We moved on towards Kogenheim, and turned off towards Ebersmunster. But not before stopping for lunch at a banc de l’impératrice (the Empress bench), built all over Alsace for peasants to rest. Feasted on our baguette and cheese, slurped our peaches and were refreshed for another long ride ahead.
The Abbey of Ebersmunster was to be our last stop, suggested by Nick as a study of contrasting styles from the previous chapel. And what a shock it was!
The ornate interiors would not have put me off had we not seen the simple dignified structure just before. Interesting, though!
Getting out of Ebersmunster, we had a little confusion of the north-south direction, but just ended up taking the longer way to Ebersheim, and continuing straight home to Scherwiller.
Dinner that night was at a charming family run restaurant in Itterswiller (among the few to be open on Sunday evening).
We had a detailed discussion on every course (!) during which I agreed to try the fish, knowing that Souvik would eat most of it. We started with a glass of delicious Riesling, then starters of toasty bread with salmon pâté and little shrimp (Souvik ate them all), salad with mushrooms and other standard ingredients (delish) for me, and chicken confit for the hungry husband. Followed by the grilled fish and noodles in a delicate cheesy sauce and fluffy pastry for me and a gigantic chicken cordon bleu with sautéed potatoes for the boy. I had a few bites of that fish, and passed the rest to Souvik, trading for the yummy potatoes. When we couldn’t finish the entire quantity, the lady offered the local Munster cheese with cumin. We were expecting some durian-type smelly cheese, but this one was harmless, and very nice with the toasted cumin. Not done yet – a small portion of citron glacé to round off the meal, and we were in food coma!