Saturday, April 19, 2014

Rhine Getaway: Colmar Pocket, France (4/19/2014)

Still Saturday, April 19, 2014
In the afternoon there was free time or a choice of two optional excursions. Kent and Paul chose the excursion to Colmar Pocket World War II excursion. The Battle of Colmar Pocket was the effort of the Allies to regain the final bit of France from the Germans in the winter of 1944-1945.
The small tour group was taken by motor coach into France and they circled south of Colmar, passing ruins of casemates and fortification walls, which were parts of the Maginot Line.
80 Casemate Algolsheim North 44/3
Another view
Next to 80 Casemate Algolsheim North 44/3
Ramparts of Neuf-Brisach
Since Colmar is the capitale des vins d'Alsace/Capital of Alsatian Wine and is on the famous Route des Vins d'Alsace/Wine Route of the Alsace, important vineyards were pointed out.
Wolfberger Grand Vins d'Alsace in Eguisheim
The first stop was in Turckheim.
La porte du Brand/Brand Gate
View towards tower of
Église Sainte-Anne/St Anne's Church
Old house
Old house oriel window
Old house door Easter decoration
A different style of house
A peek through the gate
A visit to the Musée Mémorial des Combats de la Poche de Colmar/Memorial Museum of the Battle of the Colmar Pocket.
The guide at the entrance sign
Memorial to Charles de Gaulle
The Memorial to Charles de Gaulle includes a quote from his famous speech, L'appel du 18 juin/The Appeal of June 18th, made as leader of the Free French Forces in 1940.
Memorial from the 50th anniversary of liberation
in recognition of the French soldiers of the shock battalion
and the American soldiers of 112th Infantry Regiment
and 28th Infantry Division
American soldiers
Uniforms including the snow suit
Radio operator
Possibly la Porte de Munster/Munster Gate
during WWII
German winter overboots
Hand grenades
Turckheim street
Stork and nest on la Porte de France/France Gate
Back on the motor coach to drive to Sigolsheim and the American Memorial on Hill 351.
Hill 351/Mont de Sigolsheim
L'Église Saint-Pierre-et-Paul/Church of Sts Peter and Paul
Another stop on top of Hill 351/Mont de Sigolsheim.
American Memorial on Hill 351
The memorial was dedicated in 1995 to the American divisions
who helped liberate the Alsace
The Alsace is grateful to the 1st French Army
of the Rhine and Danube and their American comrades of the 21st Army Corps;
the 3rd, 28th, 36th, 45th, 63rd, 75th, and 103rd Infantry Divisions,
and the 12th Armored Division
Insignia of the American divisions
Small tour group
La nécropole nationale de Sigolsheim/
French National War Cemetery in Sigolsheim
View from Hill 351
Back to the motor coach which now left the Wine Route of Alsace to head around the north side of Colmar.
Water fountain
Église Saint-Pierre-et-Saint-Paul/
Church of Sts Peter and Paul (1957) in Bennwihr
Monument aux morts dit Monument de la Fidélité à Bennwihr/
Monument to the war dead, called the Monument of Fidelity
The Monument of Fidelity or Loyalty
survived with a few bullet holes while
the entire village was leveled
Monument to the war dead in Ostheim
Monument with a stork and nest
Ciconia ciconia/White Stork
The motor coach took them around the Statue of Liberty roundabout in Colmar.
Colmar's replica Statue of Liberty,
originally sculpted by Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi
The final stop of the day was in Holtzwihr to see the Audie Murphy Memorial.
Forêt communale de Holtzwihr/Community forest of Holtzwihr
Walking to the woodline, site of Audie Murphy's heroic stand
The story of Audie Murphy on January 26, 1945, in French!
Basically, Company B, 15th Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division was attacked by six Panzer tanks and approximately 250 German soldiers. First Lieutenant Audie Murphy sent his men into the woods for cover as he stayed to report to battalion headquarters by telephone. As the German soldiers approached, he jumped on a burning tank destroyer, firing the machine gun, causing the men to turn back. Without the infantry support, the tanks also turned back. For this feat, Audie Murphy became one of the the most decorated soldiers in World War II.
Audie Murphy Memorial, dedicated in 2000,
designed by Patrick Baumann
The motor coaches returned them to Breisach and the Viking Gullveig.
At 16:45 there was a Welcome Reception in the lounge, where the Captain and his officers were introduced and a toast made with flutes of sparkling wine.
Dinner amuse-bouche: ?
Appetizers: Smoked Salmon Carpaccio & Salmon Caviar with sweet corn blini, celery and leekk salad with lemon vinaigrette, or Potato Crusted Marssarpone Cheese with truffle sabayon sauce.
Salad: Baby Arugula & Watermelon with goat cheese croutons and tangerine dressing.
Soup: Roasted Tomato Soup with basil foam
Entrées: Chateaubriand with roasted vegetables, fried potatoes, sauce béarnaise and jus, or
Caramelized Sea Scallops with crisp bacon, braised savoy cabbage, thyme roasted potatoes, and port wine sauce, or
Zucchini Baked with Goat Cheese & Sundried Tomato with artichoke, basil and cherry tomato ragout.
Desserts: Marscarpone and Sour Cherry Cake, Brownie Streusel with marinated berries or
Banana Ice Cream or
Cherry Sorbet or
Black Forest Cake (this was made with a lot of Kirschwasser/cherry brandy!).
Fruit plate: Kiwi.
Cheese plate: Gruyére and Saint Albray.
Suggested wines: Weissburgunder, Winery Königschaffhauser, Baden, Germany and
Blauer Zweigelt from Winery Mörwald, Wagram, Austria.

Since the ship was not to depart until 23:00, we thought we had plenty of time for an evening walk in Breisach and went to reception to get our boarding passes. We were told we had less than an hour and to be back by 22:30. We didn't realize it was already past 21:30!
We climbed the hill to the lighted St Stephansmünster/St Stephen's Cathedral (12-15C). There was an Easter Vigil Mass in progress.
St Stephansmünster/St Stephen's Cathedral 
Ladder steps on a roof?
"Europa Reaches for the Stars"
(2000 by Breisach artist, Helmut Lutz)
in Münsterplatz
Rathaus/City Hall
Beneath St Stephen's Cathedral
We were back at the Viking Gullveig in plenty of time.
Viking Gullveig
We caught the tail end of the "French Chansons" performance, a singing group who were finishing a German song, and began singing French songs from the Edith Piaf era. The pianist pounded the keys, drowning out the singers, but they were a little flat anyway. We expect better from Viking.
Next: Strasbourg.

1 comment:

Jim Hilke said...

Was at Colmar 3 days before you on the Viking Kwasir. From the pictures you got a little more detail of the surrounding area. Different guides, different tours.