Five weeks in Europe and 3500 pictures later…..and here I am creating a blog post about all the inspiring things I saw. This is a more daunting task than I imagined. I told myself that I would only share two pictures from each place. Well, that went out the window. So it may be a few blog posts, we’ll see how it unfolds!
We flew into Frankfurt, Germany and picked up our rental car and headed south on the “Romantic Road” to Rothenburg. Let me just say up front that my husband planned the entire trip. I left it up to him because I had too many things going on after the first of the year to even think about it. So little did I know that Rothenburg, the first place we stayed would be one of the most amazing places we visited the entire trip. We were off to a great start! Here are a few pics of this walled Medieval town:
We were there right after Easter so hand painted Easter ornaments were everywhere!
The yellow building above on the right is our hotel and our room is the one with the two balconies facing out.This town looked like it was from a set in Hollywood…..each business has the most beautiful handcrafted signs, many with crowns, so of course, I was swooning!So that’s just a little tease….you really must go here if you ever get the chance! I want to go back! The next stop was in the city of Karlsruhe, Germany. It was great because as it turned out, we stayed with a polymer clay buddy, Anke and her husband Nico. Anke is a wonderful polymer clay artist that I met at a retreat in France years ago. She was a wonderful host and tour guide.
After showing us around Karlsruhe, Anke decided to join David and I the next day as we made our way through the Black Forest region. Our first stop was the gorgeous spa town of Baden Baden.
We spent all day on the road taking in all the sights in this lovely, Black Forest area and pulled into Strasbourg, France later in the day. The cathedral in Strasbourg was one of the main reasons why we began our tour in the Alsace region that straddles Germany and France. I had seen pictures of the tympanum of this cathedral and it quickly rose to the top of my bucket list of things to see….it did not disappoint!
Had to see this in person!
Strasbourg was also the first of many beautiful canal cities that we visited on this trip.
There was plenty of art to take in, we visited three museums and saw some amazing works including Vermeer’s famed “Girl with the Pearl Earring”!
One of the things I enjoyed seeing most however, was the incredible, Medieval astronomical clock that was inside the cathedral! Truly a marvel that still works to this day!
After Strasbourg we headed south to Colmar, France which was another beautiful canal city right in the heart of Alsace. The drive to Colmar was exquisite with picturesque villages dotting the landscape.
We used Colmar as a base for Reisling wine tasting, famous in this area and for visiting castles and monasteries including this incredible Monastery for St. Odile.
Perched on top of a mountain, this monastery, devoted to the miracles of St. Odile, is truly amazing with expansive views across the valley. On the property were two small chapels that were adorned with the most beautiful mosaics. Back in Colmar we had the good fortune to see the Isenheim Altarpiece by German Renaissance painter, Matthias Grunewald. We also saw Schongauer’s, Madonna of the Roses. Such inspiring work!
After Colmar we made a quick trip back into Germany to go to the beautiful university town of Freiburg. Just wanted to share another incredible tympanum….this one in color!
The Freiburg catherdral tympanum.
We criss-crossed back into France and made a detour to Ronchamp to see the Swiss architect, Le Corbusier’s, famed church, Notre Dame du Haut. Known for his modernism, this structure was incredibly unique both inside and out.
Interior of Notre Dame du Haut.
The inside natural lighting was beautiful and so were the side chapels with their meditative spaces.Quite a contrast to the soaring gothic architecture that I love but I totally enjoyed this structure for a variety of reasons. Ronchamp was a great side trip and we had it all to ourselves!~
At this point, we began heading north and made it to a small town just outside of Nancy called Toul. We were heading towards Reims, in the Champagne region and visited a number of small towns along the way with beautiful architecural gems.All this gothic architecture will somehow be showing up in my work I know! One of the most incredible examples of gothic architecture is the cathedral in Reims which was partially destroyed during World War I.
This cathedral where the kings of France were coronated is enormous and it is hard to capture the scale, except when you look at the base of it and see the people that look like ants! Here is a photo that my artist/friend Pascale, whom we stayed with, had of some of the destruction to the cathedral during the war.
Today it is rebuilt though there is continuous restoration work and scaffolding on the frontside. Fortunately we were able to see some of the incredible sculptures that adorn the fascade.
We all agreed that the middle angel resembled George Bush!!! Below are the Chagall windows that illuminate the space beautifully.
It was so nice seeing Pascale again. She and her husband, Patrick, organized a workshop for me years ago in Reims. Pascale is a very talented mixed media and polymer clay artist who is an archeologist by training….she actually has done some of the excavations at the cathedral!
This is a pic of her studio and some of her work:
A few of Pascale’s polymer clay mosaics!
Pascale was a wonderful host and made us feel right at home in her home! She went out of her way to show us around and also took us on a tour of the Tattinger Champagne caves!
Ok, this is enough for Part I of our excellent European adventure….more to follow in a few days!!!