Saturday, August 20, 2011

Selestat - the old city

I realized the day before we are due to leave to come home that I had not done the blog on the old city of Selestat. So while Marianne is busily vacuuming, I am busy blogging. How's that for division of labour.

Let me first say that we have really enjoyed our time here. It's only a few hundred yards from where we are staying to the old town and it is a pleasant walk.

Of course, Selestat has oodles of old half timbered houses in all shapes and colours. Most of the streets are narrow and not really suitable for cars, but they fit them in somehow.

There is just such a huge variety in these houses that after almost three weeks, it is still a pleasure to look at them. I like the unpainted wooden shutters on this one.

Oddly enough, it's not the cars you worry about but the hoons on motor scooters that rush round the sharp corners at high speed. The cars are going slow. Hoon is a very useful piece of slang.

Even the unpainted houses are interesting.

I have no idea what this is.

Selestat is just as pretty as Colmar but it doesn't have a 'Little Venice' section with a canal.

What does make it better than Colmar is the relative absence of tourists. There are some tourists of course, but you get the sense that the citizens of this town 'own' the town, not the visitors. 

There are some outdoor cafes, but only enough for the people of the town. 

The one thing you don't see much of are empty shops like you do in the US or many outback towns in Oz. Of course like many other countries, France has its share of economic problems, but Alsace seems to be doing quite well.

The old gate to the town.

Yes, it's a drain pipe.

If you love colour, come to France. They know how to use it.

It's great to see how many people use bicycles. When you think about it, you can see why. The temperatures are relatively benign. For example, the hottest it got here was about 85 degrees and mostly it was in the 70's. That makes for more pleasant riding. In Selestat itself, there are few hills so a simple bike will do.

A solar powered parking machine. These French towns have a sensible attitude to parking for visitors. There is always free parking just outside the old city so that visitors are encouraged to come and linger. The idea is to get visitors to spend money in shops and restaurants and not have to worry about whether they are going to get a ticket for overstaying their parking time limit. 

But they do charge if you want to park in the old city itself which discourages people from parking their cars in the prime tourist areas. The French may think differently but they are always logical.

You don't see too much graffiti in France. Or galvanized iron for that matter.

I never worked out what this building was. Looks impressive though. 

So this has been a great place to do a house exchange. First, there is plenty to see within short walking distance and driving distance. I spent only 60 Euros on diesel for the car which is nothing for almost three weeks of travel and if you have looked at the other blogs, you can see that we visited a bunch of places.

Second, we hoped we would be able to live as the French do and I think we mostly accomplished that goal. We shopped at the same places, ate much the same food and drank the same wine. And of course, I had a siesta after lunch. The French have a great lifestyle.

No comments:

Post a Comment