Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A little week in France

I've been meaning to post about our spring vacation in lovely Alsace. So many highlights, the main one being just some special time to relax with family and friends.
We took LOONG hikes nearly everyday. The sun blessed us with great weather and just look at these lush hills and forests. Hiking in the Vosges mountains is simply amazing. Hardly any other hikers or bikers or climbers save for a farmer with his sheep now and then. Cuckoos sang to us and we came (nearly!) face to face with graceful deer and chamois. Our chalet was rustic and charming. It was perfect to share with dear friends and their children. We adults loved the Alsatian pottery and view of the hills out the big windows; the children loved the pingpong table in our chalet. Actually, I have to admit the table tennis was really enjoyed by young and old alike :)
We spent one day exploring a fantastic open-air museum (http://www.ecomusee-alsace.fr/) with dozens of original Alsatian farmhouses. There were storks everywhere!

This particular little farmhouse was so quaint and tiny and lovingly decorated – and had a live pig!
There were plenty of gardens but I especially liked this beautiful formal garden.

We also spent a day in Colmar – this town has a special place in my heart. Over the years I've visited many times and I will never tire of it. I just love cobblestone streets and half-timbered houses with window shutters painted in all shades of blue and green.

The artist Frederic August Bartholdi who designed the Statue of Liberty came from Colmar, so there is special shared pride between French and Americans here too. It's rumored that he modeled the Statue after his mother and wife – don't you just love that! I spied three versions – a Lego sculpture in a window, a local artists' take and then of course the statue of Bartholdi himself holding his statue.
We also had fun shopping in a covered market in Colmar.
We didn't have enough time to explore many sights in the mountains so we are definitely going to return. In the meantime, we are still enjoying this amazing cheese. Bon Appetit!

Monday, May 30, 2011

cookie-brownies

Special treat this weekend, a new recipe we tried out from a recent issue of "Landliv" magazine (a gorgeous Scandinavian decorating magazine that is now available in Germany). These are really just brownies with a dollop of chocolate-chip cookie dough on top. The strawberries fresh from the garden are the perfect finishing touch :)

xoxo
Karen