I’ve just returned from a five day walking holiday in Alsace! After last year – my first such walking holiday – in Shropshire my sister and I vowed “never again”. But as the months went by our memories of the tough climbs and steep descents on the Offa’s Dyke Path Day gradually faded so much so that earlier this year we decided to take the plunge and book another such trip!
Here is Edina on the back cover of the ATG Footloose 2012 Brochure
Many companies will arrange independent walking holidays but ATG Oxford (Alternative Travel Group) came with an excellent personal recommendation from friends of mine. As they say on their website “almost everyone comes through personal recommendations”. They send out a Route Booklet, transfer bags from one hotel to the next along a continuous route and (I don’t know whether other companies do this) they add in the services of a Route Manager. Ours was the lovely Edina and in her ATG have a star!
And here she is just before we said our goodbyes, yesterday
One reason for choosing the Classic Alsace Walk was the fact that it’s accessible by train and I love to travel on Eurostar, it is just so civilised and exciting. We met up in London last Wednesday evening and the next morning took an early train to Strasbourg via Lille and from there we caught a local train to the village, or maybe town, of Obernai – deep in the Viticulture and Degustation Region of Alsace.
The market square at Obernai
Obernai Corn Exchange
Obernai Place du Marche
Obernai Ramparts Walk
The Obernai Town Hall
Light rain was falling that Thursday evening but even so we dined on a restaurant terrace, walked the ramparts and generally relaxed before starting our four day ‘ordeal’ (which turned out to be nothing but a pleasure from beginning to end) the next day. Friday dawned brighter and sunny and Edina arrived ready to talk about the trip and transport us to our starting point. We met with two other lady walkers from the US who, although starting on the same day as us, were tackling the 8 day version. So our paths never crossed with them again.
Edina insisted that before starting out and before leaving Obernai we must visit the monastery of Le Mont Saint Odile way up above the town. Although anxious to begin walking we accepted her kind invitation and were delighted to have the opportunity to visit this most popular summit in the whole of Alsace. It’s quite a climb (even by car!) up to the summit of the sandstone crag but as you might expect the views are spectacular. It’s an important place of pilgrimage – popular, at least last Friday, as an excursion for young French school children.
Mont Sainte Odile
Gardens at Mont Sainte Odile
Courtyard at Mont Sainte Odile
The Tomb of Sainte Odile
Spectacular Views from Mont Sainte Odile
Finally, we said Goodbye and Good luck to Pam and Joyce and thanked Edina and set off on our own, with the Route Booklet as our guide, from Barr to Kaysersberg a distance of nearly 40 miles! Read more about our adventures in future posts.
Alsace is somewhere I’ve always fancied visiting ever since I studied the Franco-Prussian war when I was taking my O level in History! I’ve always wondered how they reconcile their French and German heritage. They make good wine too! Did you manage to sample any? (and the choucroutte)
Thanks for your comment. Alsace is well worth a visit and yes the France-German heritage is curious. There are very many German tourists and many French seemed to mistake us for Germans – was my French accent so bad?? The Gewurtztraminer is exquisite but I gave the sausages and choucroutte a wide berth!
I’m glad you enjoyed your trip.
(p.s. Personally, I love choucroute!)
[…] Odile is the patroness of good eyesight. She was born in Obernai and the Augustine foundation at Mont Sainte Odile was founded in her name by her father. She had been born blind but was cured at age 12 on being […]
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