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Day 3 Alsace: Chateau du Haut Koenigsbourg and Obernei - 10 May


Promising a day in the mid-20’s, it was be the perfect weather to explore a castle, the Chateau du Haut Koenigsbourg no less. Located just 12 km west of Selestat, it was a 45 minute drive away from our B&B. With clear skies and sun shining, the vineyards, mountains and countryside of Alsace were looking their bountiful best.

Covering an area of 1.5 hectares, Chateau du Haut Koenigsbourg (Haut Koenigsbourg Castle) can only be described as impressive. With the castle mentioned for the first time in the 12th century, Frederick von Hohenstaufens had noted the strategic importance of the Stophanberch mountain. Sitting at the top of the mountain,  the castle is virtually carved into rock, making good use of its natural and strategic position. Its construction took place over 3 distinct eras, from the 12th to the first half of the 15th century. This remarkably well preserved structure is an Alsace landmark that is well worth exploring.

After Chateau du Haut Koenigsbourg, Peter and I headed to Obernei for lunch. We shared a very generously portioned Vienna Schnitzel and a traditional delicacy of Asperges Avec Jambon (Asparagus with Ham). By the end of the meal we felt like the Goodyear blimp.

Obernei represents the very essence of Alsace, with its winding streets, high gabled houses and ruined walls. Ambling aimlessly around its streets and soaking in the Alsacian ambience, it amazed us how the flavors of the Alsace region in terms of architecture and style were so strongly and identically reflected from village to village, city to city. After a few days touring and taking happy snaps of the towns along the Route des Vins, I had difficulty figuring out which town was which from my hundreds of photographs. However, every one of the towns was a delight, with a character that is so uniquely 'Alsacien'.

On Alsace Cuisine: Pace Yourself!
While the traditional Alsace cuisine is extremely flavorsome and a novelty on our first few days, the heaviness of the food combined with mammoth portions is making me feel more elephant than gazelle. Oh for a bowl of vegetable soup and a salad! Although I haven’t had the heart to weigh myself, my trousers and skirts are starting to strain embarrassingly against my waist. Thank God for stretch jeans.

Here are some things to remember when ordering at restaurants in Alsace:

* If you'd like an entree, then share it with your travel partner. You will have more than enough food with a shared entree and a main as the portions in Alsace are extremely generous.

* In general, a main meal for each person will more than suffice for dinner. For lunch, you may want to share an entree and a main between 2 people.

* If you want to enjoy an entree, main meal and dessert, then go for the set menu, where the portions tend to be slightly smaller.

* Lastly, leave your dieting behind in Alsace. It'll only lead to defeat and frustration!


Posted by Victoria Ugarte on 10th May, 2012 | Trackbacks
Categories: France
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