One of the lovely things about staying in Colmar was going for walks by the local canal and meeting the animals that live there.
The iconic green-headed ducks, with their yellow beaks and bright orange feet, which remind me so much of ceramic kitchen wall-decorations of three ducks in formation, were always out to enjoy the sunshine.
Likewise, a troop of ragondins could be found swimming leisurely in the stream or scurrying up to the shore to scavenge for food. Natives to South America, they are now bordering on pests here in Europe. In English they are known as copyu or, less elegantly, as river rats. What differentiates them most from the guinea-pigs of my childhood (apart from their larger size and river dwelling tendencies) is their scaly, rat like tail and their horrible orange teeth.
My favourite river companions would have to be the swans that sailed down the stream: elegant, graceful and poised.