An Alsatian Tale: Now and Then

36 Fall View of Vineyards Kaysersberg Cemetery

(The cemetery in Kaysersberg, Alsace, France.)

It’s fall in France. Everywhere I look, from the once green ivy blushing red to the golden vineyards, life is preparing for winter. I look at the cemetery and wonder who’s buried here? I don’t think so much about how they died, but I find myself imagining how they lived. What must life have been like to live and work in this small Alsatian village?

All work and no play makes for a really, really long day. Yesterday, Jim and I decided to break up our work day with a short trip across the Rhine.  I returned to Kaysersberg on a three-fold mission. First, to find the sun and enjoy a piece of quiche-Lorraine for lunch. Success on both parts. With tummy full and skin soaking in the Vitamin D, I embarked on my second task. Shopping. Success again.

37 My Favortite Kaysersberg Clothing Shop

(This is my favorite clothing shop ever, well it’s right up there with Anthropologie.)

There is a shop I step into every time we visit Kaysersberg. Many times I leave with some new weird and wonderful piece of clothing. The couple who own the store are really cool. He has long gray hair, and she has short magenta hair. Very artsy looking. I think we might be good friends if we lived there. And if I spoke French. They speak no English. But we somehow manage to get along quite well.

Yesterday, something crazy happened. After making another fun purchase at their shop, we walked down a couple of stores and stepped inside a shop that had watercolors, prints, and drawings of various Alsatian villages. The owner began speaking English with us (How did she know?) and explained about the artists, and then said she knew we come here every year. (Of course, we’d been there twice in as many weeks as of late.) It appears we’ve become known! Can I just say, I LOVE THIS. Who knows what they say about us. One can only imagine!

I’ve gotten carried away with the shopping, but just one more thing about this part of my mission. I was determined to buy two cookie tins I’d seen in a bakery with cute Alsatian children painted on top of them. Hansi style. (If you’re not familiar with this artist you should check him out.) They were 6.90 Euros. I thought this was very reasonable. What I didn’t know was the only way you could purchase said tins was to fill them with the gourmet cookies sold in the shop, it was after all a French Bakery. Just let me say the final cost of the tins was more than I would normally spend in a month on cookies, but the tins were so cute and the cookies, well…gourmet. Yum.

38 Me at Chateau Gate by Bridge Kaysersberg

My third and final reason for returning to Kaysersberg was to wander around as if I were my latest character and try to see things from her eyes. I walked down alley ways and took more pictures of town. I looked up at the woods on the hillside and wondered if she hunted wild mushrooms there.  I looked at the small stream running through town and imagined she might have washed her clothes there.

I left Kaysersberg feeling excited about writing her tale. Armed with more photos and story ideas, we drove home to the Black Forest. As we left France, the sun disappeared behind the low-hanging clouds and the multi-colored leaves of the forest covered hills welcomed us back to Germany. And, I wondered…

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