Our final little village destination was Ribeauvillé. When leaving Riquewhir, we were delighted with a double rainbow, an arc that swept over the road from one vineyard to another. Thanks to our hosts I discovered that the myth of gold at the end of the rainbow is just as valid here as it is back at home. We decided not to test our luck though, and continued on our drive to Ribeauvillé.
Like Kaysersberg, Ribeauvillé is dominated by the ruins of a castle- only this time more impressive. Like many of the other villages, Ribeauvillé was developped in the early middle-ages, and as a result has many winding streets. Dédé pointed out to me that at the many of the street corners, there are small granite posts, that were placed there to prevent horse drawn carts from buffering houses. By placing a stone at the corner, the wheels of the cart were prevented from hitting the wall, and it was the stone pillars that were gradually worn down, rather than the sides of the houses.
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There were many lovely shops lining the main street of Ribeauvillé, including one selling cuckoo clocks. I was impressed by their detail and their cuteness, although I agreed with Dédé and Priska- such a clock is not on my Christmas wishlist. Firstly, these time machines demand a lot more space than the usual wall clock. Secondly, who wants to be jolted out of their daydreams every fifteen minutes by a high pitched, repetitive, two-syllable bird call? Not me. I admire these clocks as a novelty, but I don’t think they’ll ever make up part of my household.
Ribeauvillé also seems to have a very strong connection with the legend of the pied piper. The young man playing his flute to lead the rats, and the plague, out of the city, can be seen adorning many signs and is a motif for the village.
It was lovely to take a few car trips to visit the villages around Colmar, and I’m so thankful to our hosts for showing us around, enabling us to see places we couldn’t have by foot or by train, and for sharing so much of their insider knowledge with us.