Friday, October 30, 2009

Alsatian Wine Road plus the Stork Park

Day 16 - Today we rode through the famous wine region of Alsace where there is a delightful blend of French and German cultures. We passed through the Elsass region to the foothills of the Vosges Mountains to travel the Route de Vin past rolling vineyards and flower-decked villages.

Our first stop was at the Stork Park where these birds are being repopulated. After dropping to 10 mating pairs, a program to break their migratory instinct to keep them safe was implemented and there are now 500 pairs. They do this by removing some of the eggs from the nest, hatching them in incubators and keeping them in captivity for three years. When released, relative safety and easy food at the park make "hanging around" an easy choice for the storks without confining them in adulthood.

Continuing on through several delightful villages, we arrived at Riquewihr, the "gem of the vineyards." This town was producing grapes for wine during the Middle Ages and most houses were erected in the 15th to 18th century. It is protected by twin walls.

We strolled through the streets until we arrived at the place of our wine tasting.

Once again we entered a cellar, this time by a narrow stairway with a rope banister. There were several round tasting tables with glasses ready for us. The floor was gravel and we were told to pour any unwanted wine on it. I didn't like the wine as well as at the German wine tasting but I'm certainly no connoisseur of wine. Here we all are - Peter, yours truly and Ted, Tom & Jeanne, Les & Pat with our ever-present earphones. Instead of "hat hair" we had "receiver hair" but our ears were warm!

That evening the crew put on a variety show for our entertainment.

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