A Weekend Getaway in Colmar, France

When we were preparing for the big move to Switzerland four years ago, we decided to forgo buying a car upon arrival in favour of travelling abroad more.

Back then I used to panic at the idea of not owning my own car because I didn’t know anything else. I started driving when I was 15 and drove around everywhere ever since.

The public transport system in the area where I lived ticked on its own clock, and I didn’t have monster calf muscles strong enough to cycle up and down the hills of Auckland.

I had to part with my beloved station wagon when I moved. I was absolutely heartbroken when I had to say bye to it because it was such a good car. I used to be able to fit my entire life into it and feel invincible.

So far we’ve done pretty well. Switzerland’s public transport system is so great and reliable that I actually don’t mind being on buses and trains. I hardly ever felt the need or urge to go out and buy a car … well, until one particular weekend in February when we had a car long enough to use it beyond necessity and drove to a beautiful place for a weekend getaway for no other reason than ‘just because we can’.

This little town was called Colmar of the Alsace region of north-eastern France, and the architectural landmarks had me practising tai-chi at a distance with my camera.

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Fun fact: If you’ve watched Howl’s Moving Castle, you’ll love walking around this town even more : )

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To get to Colmar without a car would be very time consuming and expensive from where I’m at. I’m told that there are many more places like this in the bordering countries of Switzerland that one could easily explore with a car, so that’s reason enough for me to invest in one soon.

If you’re after a cozy place to eat, I highly recommend this restaurant: Brasserie Des Tanneurs. Their tarte flambées were delicious.

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11 thoughts on “A Weekend Getaway in Colmar, France

  1. Such beautiful photos! I cannot wait to plan a trip here someday! My husband and I are travelling to Switzerland this summer – we’re thinking of spending our time in Zurich, Bern, Lucern and Interlaken. We’re so excited!

  2. It looks beautiful. And I cannot imagine getting around without a car. But then we don’t have much of a public transport system to speak of over here.

    • If they are on time the rest can be forgiven, I think. It used to be a pain trying to get around Auckland because the buses were never on time. I think they have gotten much better now with the new bus lanes, but I remember feeling so free when I finally got my license.

      • Over here being on time is not the issue. It’s getting there alive. See, we have public transport, but it’s not a system and it’s not run by government. It’s everyone for himself with the expected consequences. Ever heard the term ‘taxi wars’?

      • The bulk of our public transport are taxis of the minibus variety. Typically several taxis would be owned by one person or syndicate. These taxi companies are rather territorial and literally goes to war (as in shooting at) rival companies who try to steal their passengers. Add political allegiances and government’s attempts to regulate them. Luckily this hasn’t happened in a while.

        They are also just plain unsafe. In the eternal drive to maximise profits they are often overloaded, unroadworthy, and reckon stuff like stop signs don’t apply to them, thus the attempts to regulate the industry.

      • Yikes. How do tourists get around? Driving in general sounds pretty dangerous so hiring a rental doesn’t seem like a wise idea.

      • Rentals are usually the way to go. Driving’s dangerous everywhere. We just have some unique hazards. And tourists actually take these taxis for the novelty of it.

        To be fair, it’s not all bad. I’ve used minibus taxis (and metro trains which are equally infamous) myself with no problems. Some taxi operators are very professional and take real pride in their work. For tourists I’d just advise to not get in just any taxi nor ride them alone, but have a local you trust to act as a guide. It’s an integral part of the African experience, after all.

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