Day 10

We left Strasbourg, driving south toward Colmar. I was pleasantly surprised at how rural Alsace seems to be and particularly surprised to see tobacco fields.

Because Colmar managed to avoid being destroyed in the many wars that have raged about it for the past thousand years, its beautiful medieval buildings now make it a popular tourist attraction.

It is indeed a pretty place. But for us, the first stop was the farmers market.

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Notice the eggs, stacked and unrefrigerated. That is the way they’re sold in Europe. Eggs have a natural protective coating that keeps them from spoiling. In the U.S. we remove that coating when we wash the eggs, making it necessary to refrigerate them. In Europe it’s illegal to wash eggs before selling them.

This beautiful violet garlic caught my eye.

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Having not yet planted our garlic, I thought it would be good to take this home and try growing it in Virginia. I did a little quick research and saw that garlic was not a prohibited item, so I bought it. Later, after I posted about it on Instagram/Facebook, fellow farmer and frequent commenter Joanna replied that garlic isn’t allowed through customs. Looking into it further I learned that only peeled cloves are allowed–bulbs are not. In other words, it’s not allowed if it can be planted. I considered bringing it back anyway, and taking my chances with customs, but decided against it. Sadly I left the garlic in our hotel room at the Paris airport. I hope it was put to good use. As it turned out I could have brought it in with no trouble. When we went through customs I had to declare that I was bringing in “fruits, vegetables or seeds” because I had foolishly brought an apple off the plane. Without even asking about the declaration, the customs agent waved me through. I could have had a suitcase full of garlic. Oh well.

As with everywhere else in France where tourists gather, this was a common sight.

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Less grim were the beautiful ancient timber-framed homes on narrow streets.

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“Little Venice” is a particularly picturesque part of town

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We spent the night in Colmar, knowing that the next day we would have to turn west and begin wandering back toward Paris, and our flight home.

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