Hooray! We’re stretching our travel wings again, and making small steps toward becoming European road trippers.
This past Saturday, we swallowed our breakfast whole, and then rushed to pile all the boys in the car. We wanted to leave before Big Foot’s nap time, so that he could (hopefully) sleep in the car. Yeah right. The kid hates his car seat.
Our destination? The Alsace region of France in general, the region north of Colmar specifically, and the three castles above Ribeauvillé exactly.
Though the new car came with a built-in GPS navigational system, we hadn’t tested it out yet so I made sure to print out driving directions just in case. And good thing, too. The directions while in Germany were accurate, but the French ones were not.
But I’ll get to that in a minute. Let’s recap.. in pictures.
Screech, Big Foot, and T-Rex ready to ride.
Driving to France was much quicker (and less painful) than running there.
It might sound exciting to drive through France, but this is what you’re in for… lots and lots of fields. Blah.
Since the navi wasn’t working properly, we made our way to Ribeauville using the printed driving directions. But after a couple of quick turns, I lost my place in the text…
…and we ended up in the thick of the pedestrian zone! I could’ve stuck my hand out the window and touched the goods for sale, we were so close. Oops.
As we were meandering our way out of the teeny streets, I looked up and saw our destination!
We followed the road until we came to a parking lot and a dead end. I asked some nice French lady (in German) if it was the way to the castles. She assured me it was, so out jumped the boys and up the mountain we went. After a few minutes, we came to this sign.
The path to the top was quite steep, and most of it was covered with small rocks.
We pressed on, and suddenly the path cleared. Though the castles were still a long ways off, we could at least see what we were after.
Before we could reach the castle, though, we’d have to cross this area of solid rock. Though it was a bit dicey, it was nothing like hiking Hallasan.
I was really proud of the boys for hiking up a mountain for a whole hour without complaining. In the end, we had to bribe them to pick up the pace during the last five minutes of walking. We promised the first snack to the first boy to reach the castle.
The payoff for such a short but steep hike was huge. The view from the top was nothing short of marvelous.
While Doc Sci and I ogled the scenery, the boys played in the ruins.
You can see Chateau de Girsberg from Chateau de Saint-Ulrich. It’s also possible to hike to Girsberg, but we didn’t want to push our luck with the little ones.
At the top, we attempted to take some family Christmas pictures. And I do mean attempted. Getting three boys under the age of five to all look at the camera and not make dorky faces is nothing short of a miracle. As I was putting the camera away, I noticed we had company from a token French guy in a beret.
Bellies were rumbling, so we decided it was time to go. But what a great day we had breaking Big Foot in to what I hope will just be the first of many hikes.
On the descent, we handed T-Rex the camera and let him snap a few shots. Here’s what I found when I downloaded the pictures.
Thanks, France! We’ll be back soon.
Love France? Check out our trips to Strasbourg and Colmar and read about the time I ran from Germany to France.