I haven’t felt much like shooting this summer, and I think I just figured out why: I still haven’t finished sorting through the 6,000-plus images I took while traveling with Esteban last December! Well, let’s see what we can do about that backlog, shall we?
“Have you been to Colmar?” That was the response I’d often get when I asked friends about day-trips out of Freiburg, Germany. They’d wax poetic about the beautifully preserved medieval center …
… the Christmas markets …
… and the canals of “petite Venise.”
But try as I might, I couldn’t figure out how to actually get there (at least not without a car).
A train used to connect Freiburg and Colmar — which are only 45 miles apart — until the bridge over the Rhine was blown to smithereens in 1945. Since then, the tracks have ended abruptly at the German border in Breisach.
“Wie kann man nach Colmar fahren?” I asked the teller at the Banhof in Freiburg. Stifling a laugh at my horrible Akzent, she told me to take the train to Breisach, and then the bus.
Esteban and I have an unhappy history with buses — we once got stranded in rural Tuscany — but getting to Colmar could not have been easier. Here’s a synopsis, as a service to future travelers.
Getting from Freiburg to Colmar by train
Take the ICE train from Freiburg Hbf to Breisach. Get off the train in Breisach (there’s only one stop) and walk across the street to the bus stop.
Look for route number “1076” on the sign. When the bus arrives, pay the driver (about €9, if memory serves) and you’re on your way.
If you are at all a history buff, the sights from the bus alone will be worth the price of admission. Our bus driver wasn’t especially talkative, so I’m not sure whether these trenches were Napoleonic or a leftover from World War II. But I’m pretty sure they’re historic.
Once you get to Colmar — about a 45-minute ride — you can get off at either the Theater stop (closer to the old town) or at the train station. Please note that there is no luggage storage in the train station, so plan accordingly.
And once you’re actually in Colmar, try to step back from the overwhelming “holy-moly-this-is-beautiful-why-didn’t-my-mother-give-birth-to-me-here?” first impression, to notice the zillion little architectural details. Like the old merchants’ signs …
… this whimsical (but macabre) weather vane above a butcher’s shop …
… and these Victorian-era boot-scrapers.
If you’re curious about the rest Esteban’s and my adventures in Colmar (including the day we almost caused a fire), you can catch up here.
Otherwise, here’s a synopsis of our last morning. It got off to a hazy start, which I was sure would burn off …
… but instead, a thick fog soon enveloped the entire city. It felt so different in the subdued light that I risked missing the train to Strasbourg to squeeze in one last stroll.
There is much more to say about Colmar, but Strasbourg and Paris and New York and Chautauqua await. So, for now, I’ll leave you with one last look at this beautiful medieval town. Back with more travel adventures soon!