The villages in Alsace are nearby each other, hence the bus ride from Ribeauville to Riquewihr was only 15 minutes. As I arrived in what’s often termed one of the most beautiful villages in Europe, I had another problem…I had to pee! There are no public restrooms in these villages, and I walked quickly looking for a place I could duck into. Problem is, restaurants make you buy a meal before you can use the facilities, so I finally found a cafe where I got away with just buying a glass of wine…situation averted.
Riquewihr was indeed beautiful, though it seemed smaller than Ribeauville. The Alsatian architecture was similarly stunning. Even though it was raining, I felt compelled to continue walking the streets.
I found a nice World War I monument for those who died from the village…the entire Alsace region was hit hard by both World Wars, so these monuments can be found in nearly every city and village.
Riquewihr also didn’t have a Christmas market going at this time, but I did stumble across a cool wine bar that was heavily decorated. I started a conversation with the bartenders by telling them I was writing a piece on Christmas in Alsace…not entirely untrue. As they saw me taking notes, they expressed their hope that I would write nothing negative about the region…definitely not.
As we continued our discussion over another glass of wine, one of the bartenders started whistling Christmas carols and ringing a bell in an attempt to get the sparse crowd into the holiday spirit. Once again I was surprised at the lack of people around…maybe these villages get busier on the weekends.
After losing track of time, I realized I had 10 minutes before the last bus out of Riquewihr left for Colmar. I hastily said my goodbyes, and ran to the bus stop. This was a very small, quiet and beautiful town, and is easily done in a day trip together with Ribeauville. It was the most non-traditional Thanksgiving I’ve ever had, but I still had a great time!