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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21 comments on “Day 10

  1. Joanna says:

    Such a shame you couldn’t take the garlic back with you, but these bio-security measures make sense sometimes. There must be ways around it, otherwise we wouldn’t have different varieties of vegetables travelling the globe.

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  2. NebraskaDave says:

    Bill, the European countries have some things right as far as food goes. I really liked the town square farmer’s markets in Germany when I was there. It’s good to know that still remains common place there. I guess if it would have been me with the garlic, I would have just taken it and declared it when they asked and see what they would do. I think some times we can be a little shy of customs and miss out on some things.

    Have a great vacation memory day.

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    • Bill says:

      I was planning to do that, but at the last minute decided not to. I couldn’t honestly claim I thought the garlic was allowed, I didn’t want to spend a lot of time in customs, and I didn’t want to be responsible for introducing some new plant disease into America (although I knew that there wasn’t much chance of that). I just hope the housekeepers at the hotel kept it and used it.

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  3. It’s getting cold here – snow flurries yesterday and today, plus the super short days and the pretty constant rain – so I thank you for these posts! I’m “vacationing” in France vicariously.
    We don’t wash our eggs and I store them on the counter in an egg skelter. I sell extra eggs from our backyard flock to a few people and explain to them the European practice – not only do they prohibit egg washing because of the protective coating, but it also serves as an incentive to farmers to keep their coops very clean. Clean eggs sell better than dirty eggs.

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    • Bill says:

      We have a friend who offers her eggs either washed or unwashed. When she first started selling at the market another of our vendor friends came over whispered to us, “She’s asking people if they want their eggs unwashed.” The look on her face was a mixture of horrified and incredulous. 🙂

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  4. avwalters says:

    I confess that while in Paris I am constantly perusing the farmers markets. When we travel we almost always rent a place with a kitchen. Since the list of things I cannot eat rivals the list of what I can, I cook wherever I go. Buying fresh produce in Paris, and planning the menu with whatever is fresh, makes missing out on the restaurants well worth it.

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    • Bill says:

      If we go back we’re going to do that too. We made simple picnic lunches, but didn’t cook any meals. It’s nearly impossible to find vegetarian meals in French restaurants, so they’re usually not an option for us anyway.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Ed says:

    I think I would try searching for some online and seeing if you can find it there. It seems like you can order just about anything online these days.

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    • Bill says:

      I just went ahead and planted our mixture of Nootka Rose and Silver White. We’ve been planting from saved seed for many years. It’s likely that the garlic was hard-neck and I’m not sure we can grow that here, so we’re probably not missing out.

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  6. Scott says:

    I’ve been fascinated with the architecture pictures you’ve posted. As building is on my brain, I’ve pondered “how did they build that??” many a time. But this time, how do they INSURE that??
    Anyway, thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bill says:

      You made me laugh. How DO they insure buildings that old? It’s pretty amazing that these 500 year old homes are still occupied and looking good.

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    • BeeHappee says:

      Which one were you thinking of? You should travel a little more. 🙂

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      • Scott says:

        I guess it struck me on the houses with 3rd or 4th story balconies. It may not be a problem in actuality, but all my experience with home insurance is from companies that are only trained to ask “brick or vinyl?” Europe has a lot more historical buildings and the companies are probably used to it.
        I’m worried about getting insurance on my new house, even though it is mostly conventional, much less a house built 500 years ago that can’t be replaced for any price.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. shoreacres says:

    I laughed when I read ail violet la tresse. In Arkansas, I found ladies’ tresses orchids — so named because the central stem resembles a braid. I never expected to bump up against an orchid/garlic connection!

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  8. mukhamani says:

    Such a beautiful place, and it was sad about the garlic, maybe next time from another place 🙂

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  9. Eileen says:

    Hello, lovely tour and images. The farmers markets are fun. I like the sights of the city too. Happy Friday, enjoy your weekend!

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