Saturday, December 20, 2008

Breisach Dec 16

Breisach, Germany and Colmar, France December 16

Last night I had a particularly difficult night. I slept badly and the ship's movements and noise as we sailed to Breisach made it all even worse. . I got up eventually and sat around having coffee until breakfast was available.

Our trip to the Black Forest was good on scenery but the rest was not too interesting. We went to the town of Sankt-Peter to see the Baroque church, which was very baroque. Fortunately we also managed an ATM and some scarves and a hat. Then we went to Hofgut Sternen. Evidently Goethe and Mendelssohn stayed there. But we got to see cuckoo clocks and the largest Swiss Army knife in the world. We could also have eaten Black Forest cake but it didn't really appeal. We came back through Freiburg, which looked really nice. It could be a good place to go for a couple of days.

We just had lunch and will leave for Colmar in about 15 minutes. We are really looking forward to seeing the Isenheim altarpiece by Matthias Grunewald and some other things in the Unterlinden Museum.

We also hoped to get some chocolate on this excursion. This trip has been woefully deficient in that commodity, although Judy gave me a piece this morning.

Well, Colmar was a wonderful place but it would have been better if the Unterlinden Museum had been open and if the weather had been warmer. I can see going back in early summer or early autumn, not on a Tuesday, and finally seeing the altarpiece, enjoying the fantastic houses, and hanging out in Little Venice on the canal having a nice meal. Not getting to see the altarpiece was a huge disappointment but we do have a good booklet and reproduction so all was not lost. You can see some pictures of it above. We did go to see the Virgin in the Rose Garden by Martin Schoengarten in the Dominican church. The altarpiece is a mixture of fifteenth-century painting with nineteeth-century additions and sculptured elements that were added later as well. There is a similar painting in the Isabella Gardner Museum in Boston.

We had a more or less French dinner (the vegetarian option was bean burritos) and Judy, John and I walked up to the Breisach münster. It is mostly Romanesque. Although it was misting heavily, we had a very nice walk and the old part of town was quite nice. Even at night the view from the münster was impressive. The only difficulty was walking on slippery cobblestones. But the climb wasn't too challenging, even with my breathing problems.

Tomorrow we will be in Strasbourg.

Early this morning, for no discernable reason, our phones finally registered the correct time. So that should be set for the rest of the trip.

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