We pulled the kids out of school a day early and started our vacances de Noel by driving up to Alsace.
Day 1 – Mulhouse (pronounced “muh-LOOZE” just to throw everybody off)
Pretty much the first thing we did when we got there was stop and grab a Bretzel.
The Mulhouse market was mostly set up in the square directly in front of the Cathedral – complete with a huge ferris wheel.
In the morning we decided to head out and grab some breakfast on our way to see some WWI trenchs. We never really did find any place to eat -and it ended up taking a bit longer to drive there than we hand anticipated, thanks to the road being “technically closed” -but luckily we were borrowing the Big Rig – so we made our way up the unplowed windy road and made it to the memorial site at the top of the hills.
At the start of WWI the French dug in at Viel Armaund – as it was a high point to be able to survey the German troops. For that exact reason the Germans also really wanted the crest at the top. For most of 1915 they attacked and counter-attacked each other – but neither one really advanced. From then until the end of the war they bascically entrenched themselves and by the time the war was done, everyone was pretty much where they started – except that 30,000 lives had been lost in the process.
By the time we got to Colmar it was noon – so we decided that we should probably have breakfast and then go see the sights..
Colmar was incredibly decked out for Christmas. The whole city centre appeared to be a a market.
The kids got to ride on some “Christmas Horses” that went around a track – bucking them fiercely all the way around. On their second lap – they were pelted in the face with artificial snow – just to make it a little more Christmas-y.
OK – so now it just looks like we ate a lot. I suppose we did. But we had a great time. It was great to be able to have a family vacation at Christmas with Grandma & Grandpa – despite living so far away from them.