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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Alsace, my Fatherland

Today we had the pleasure of visiting Colmar, in the Alsace region of France. Alsace is interesting in so many ways, not the least of which is its shared German and French heritage. Founded in the 9th century, and French for most of its recent history, Colmar was under German control from 1871 to 1918, and again from 1940 to 1945. (It also did a brief stint under Swedish rule in the 17th century.)

Today, traces of all eras of Colmar's history are evident in its food, architecture, language, and culture. Also of special interest to Americans, Colmar was the home of Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, the sculptor who created the Statue of Liberty, and many other works throughout this city. Such a delightful city to visit!

Before sharing a few of our favorite snaps of the day, I have to vent my weather woes yet again: Colmar boasts the driest climate in France, thanks to the protection of the Vosges Mountains to its west... But guess what? We got rained on! All day! Yes, snowed on at the Eiffel Tower, and almost frozen out of Disneyland Paris and even my sister's wedding, and now rained on in France's driest region. Quelle surprise! But a wonderful day, nonetheless. See what a charming city:

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A quick look at my family's Alsatian history: my great-grandfather grew up in Alsace. There was a significant difference in age between my G-G and his brothers, enough that my G-G grew up speaking German and eventually emigrated to the United States as a German speaker, while his brothers' formative years were under French rule, thus when they eventually moved to the US it was as French speakers. Perhaps this split language family history contributes to our on-going fascination with languages. Peut-être...

Un jour de plus en France, puis on rentre encore une fois à Deutschland. À la prochaine...

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