Strasbourg, Colmar and the Zombie walk

One cute zombie

While we have the opportunity to do things differently and spontaneously, Jo and I try and go somewhere we have never been before and experience something not yet ticked off on our list of adventures. So for a special treat, each time we individually clock up another 583 million miles ( That’s approximately 938,247,222 kilometres for all you metrics) around the sun, the person who clocks the miles gets to pick a new place to explore. Last weekend I happened to log in another 583 million miles and I thought it would be cool for Jo and I to take a spin up through the bottom left hand corner of Germany, somehow get across the Rhine and go to Strasbourg.
The only two things I knew about Strasbourg was that it was in France (my favourite European country) and that when I was a kid I loved to have Strasbourg sausage and tomato sauce (ketchup) on my sandwiches. I know most people would not base their holiday destinations on such flimsy information but hey, you guys all know that William Blake line;  

‘Art can never exist without naked beauty displayed.’

I’m not sure if that is the Blake quote that I was looking for however, despite that quibble, we booked a room at the Athena Spa hotel in Strasbourg and early Saturday morning were on our way via Bern and the German border on the north side of Basel.
The other thing about this particular journey that interested me was giving the Alfa a taste of the Autobahn. Again, like Strasbourg, I knew very little about the Autobahn system in germany and most of my knowledge was limited to the unrestricted speed limit on large stretches of this national motorway in Germany and the lyrics of the Kraftwerk electronic pop song from 1974, Autobahn. In German, the Autobahns are officially called Bundesautobahn (plural Bundesautobahnen, abbreviated BAB), but for this example I will stick to the abbreviated version.

The recommended speed limit on the unlimited speed limit section of the Autobahn is 130 kilometres per hour. But as I soon found out, when I was overtaking a slower vehicle at a speed of 150 kmh, if I didn’t quickly convert the Alfa into the right hand side, slow lane I would have either Vin Diesel, Schumacher or Tron almost instantly superimposed on my rear vision mirror. There is definitely no logic in driving a car at 160 kmh when other cars are regularly passing you at 250 kmh (and this theory was reinforced when I watched the local news that night and saw what was left of a new Audi sports and its inhabitants when it took on a guard rail and another car out doing 200 plus) so we found the first exit and headed on to some meandering, country roads hugging the Rhine north towards Strasbourg.

We stopped at a village market in Breisach, ate some freshly cooked Bratwurst in a bun (well I did), then walked down to the banks of the Rhine where one of those passenger boats that look to be about 300 metres long was loading up for the next transportation of tourists who were waiting eagerly along the shore. Our road trip then continued north with a few side excursions thrown in, where we overrode the decisions of the GPS, until we came to an abrupt stop on the eastern shore of the Rhine but were rescued very quickly by a vehicular ferry that made its way to us from the Strasbourg side of the river.
Now this could go on and on and start to sound like family holiday slide shows on paper, so I’ll condense the rest of the story. It went something like this:

Jo at Petite France - Strasbourg
 The Athena Spa Hotel was great, though the room seemed smaller than the photo. But then real life experiences can be sometimes deceiving. We caught a ten minute tram ride right into the centre of the city and the fun began as soon as we got off. There were zombies everywhere. Not people zonked out of their heads on drugs and alcohol, but real life zombies, covered in blood and bandages, clothes ripped off their flailing bodies as they dragged their feet and jerked spasmodically, arms outstretched and subject to unexpected lunging at unsuspecting normal people (like us), who were trying to work out if these people were just regular everyday locals or there had been some major catastrophe at the local Strasbourg sausage packaging plant. 
Zombies en force
This guy kissed me while I was taking his photo - disgusting

Anyway it turns out there was a European Horror Film Festival on in Strasbourg this weekend and a Zombie Walk was one of the events scheduled to take place on Saturday afternoon. Now Strasbourg turned out to be a beautiful city. Really interesting old village architecture (with houses over 400 years old that people still live in), an abundance of restaurants overflowing with yummy tucker, fifteen kilometres of retail store frontage, canals, one of those larger than life Gothic cathedrals that you can’t  even see until you walk around the last corner and it freaks you out with it’s immensity (147 metre high steeple), architecture and elaborate art and a recorded history that dates back to the Romans and 15 B.C. And as creative and amazing as everything that we experienced that day had been, it was the zombies and their Zombie Walk that truly made that day different and special and something new for Jo and I to remember Strasbourg by.
Someone's first date
What a day...  for a fright wedding
We finished the night off with a spa and again we had to laugh. The spa tub seemed a lot smaller also than it had appeared in the website photos.
The next morning I headed off on a run just as the sun was rising. Don’t you hate it when you run into a near perfect sun rise and you haven’t got your Canon 400D (or equivalent) stuck in the side pocket of your Rip Curl (or some other well known Australian brand)boardies. The sun rise over the Rhine,  partly obscured by thin cloud, was almost identical to a sunset I photographed in Laguna Beach, Calif., three or four years earlier.  

We made a plan to get to the bigger town of Cormal for lunch and we succeeded via a sojourn through the quaint little village of Sy Hippolyte and a self guided tour of a monolithic castle that towered over this Plaine d’Alsace region. The castle of Haut-Koenigsburg has an extremely interesting history of almost omnipotence and devastation but it remains today to tell its story to the many like us who saw it and thought ‘Hey that looks pretty cool, let’s go visit.’
This 300 y.o for rent @ 300 euros pm

My faves in Cormal

Perfect - from another angle
Bountiful harvest
 Colmar in one word? Hanschristianandersen. A magical old Centre de Ville that will transport you back to your childhood and beyond. Again great food, another one of those freaky cathedral experiences and cobblestone streets filled with candy coloured, licorice all-sort houses to get lost in. And the bonus in Colmar, besides the delicious company of my beautiful wife? I actually found where Darth Vader lives in real life and I took a photo of his car to prove it.
And here it is - Darth's car!
The Strasbourg- Colmar Zombie Excursion rating: *****


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