Having spent the morning in Colmar, the travelling librarians visited the medieval town of Bergheim. The gate tower was built in 1300.
People in the Alsace region traditionally spoke Alsatian, a German dialect, and like Strasbourg and Colmer, the German influence is evident in Bergheim. I have a kind of curiosity about German culture simply because I am often mistaken for German when I travel. In Turkey, about ninety percent of footpath carpet-sellers greeted me with “Sprechen sie Deutsch?” (The remaining ten percent said “Hello Australia! I have a cousin in Melbourne!” No one ever thought I was British or American.) I’ve also been asked if I’m German in France.
Bergheim has an added layer of Germanic history. German, Swiss and Austrian migrants moved to Bergheim in the seventeenth century after the population was wiped out by war and plague.
A sixteenth century house.
Bergheim has some lovely gardens, including a medieval-style walled garden.
There’s a stretch of path where you look down into people’s backyards – vege patches, cubbies and all.
Lunch was delicious though not ideal for the dairy intolerant – pastry filled with melty Munster cheese, chicken with Spätzle (German pasta) in a cream sauce, and ice-cream and a huge pile of cream for dessert.
Then it was off to the Chateau de Haut-Koenigsbourg, a medieval castle perched high on a mountain-top. Actually, it’s recreation of a medieval castle – built in the 12th century, destroyed and rebuilt in the 15th, destroyed again by Swedish Protestant forces in the war against the Catholics in the 17th century, then left in ruins for over 200 years. Kaiser Wilhelm II had it rebuilt in 1900-1908 as a symbol of German empire. He never stayed there and visited it only three times. It was claimed by the French after World War I and has been a major tourist attraction ever since. As Yves the tour guide says, “Everything you see is fake” – except the furniture, most of which which is medieval. Also, the view is very real.
Finally, I have to include a shot of Mike from Mildura, who is travelling with his little buddies the Daleks (also a cyberman and a weeping angel), whose adventures he posts to Facebook. Here are the Daleks investigating the weaponry of imperial Germany.