For summer 2018 a trip to the UK for work materialized, meaning a return to London and the Berkshire county area last visited in January. Since Leandra could travel with me we decided to tack on a weekend in Europe – but where? From London there are hundreds of options. After investigating travel times and prices we narrowed down options to hiking in Wales, wine tasting in Alsace, or exploring southern Norway. In the end, cheap tickets to Luxembourg (and a good rental car price) sealed the deal for Alsace.
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Over five days we drove 485 miles across three countries, visited several flower villages, a few castles (both restored and ruined), and enjoyed some delicious local food and wine.
Where we stayed
Gîtes Schwendi (Colmar)
Thanks to WhatsApp, check-in went smoothly as we had arranged to meet at 5pm and were able to text to let them know we were there. There is no dedicated parking for the apartment, but we didn’t have any trouble finding a spot in the nearby free lot (Parking de la Montagne Verte, 3 minute walk) each of the three nights. The location is great for Colmar, just a short walk to a grocery store and the Petit Venice area for restaurants.
Inside, the one bedroom apartment was comfortable, with a sufficient amount of closet space. The bedroom is fairly quiet, but because of the frosted windows in the door it does get fairly bright in the morning.
The large bathroom included a washing machine and the kitchen had all the pieces we needed.
We did have a difficult time keeping a connection to the wifi in the apartment all three days – the owner wasn’t able to fix it, and we ended up getting a partial refund.
Hotel Origami (Strasbourg)
This hotel is so new they are still building the sidewalk around it! Located outside the city center, but just down the street the Rotonde tram stop takes you right into the heart of the city.
Our room was quite modern with a comfortable bed and plenty of room for our bags.
The bathroom was also modern, though the double sinks would have been nicer if they weren’t so shallow (which makes them splash prone).
Now, about the parking… Getting into town was fine thanks to Eric’s navigation skills, however, the signage for the parking garage we were looking for was not helpful. We ended up turning too early and into a bus-only zone. To correct this mistake, we had to drive a bit out of the way and start over, this time finding the parking garage entrance, about 50 meters past where the sign was pointing. We left the bags in the car because getting to the hotel required either walking through a gravel construction site or crossing a busy street and using the walking path. Upon check-in, the front desk guy mentioned two places where we could park for free. Grateful for the information (although AFTER we had already parked) we were still annoyed because we had emailed the hotel in advance with this very question and they hadn’t mentioned the free lots.
Thankfully the parking ticket for the Rotunde lot also served as a tram ticket to get us one one round-trip ride (for both of us) into the city center. In hindsight, I wish we knew about the free parking option sooner so we could have just purchased a day tram pass for both of us – with two trips into town, it would have been cheaper with less hassle.