To Christine to celebrate 40 years of (pen) friendship
I have been to Battle about ten times and each time I have liked this town of East Sussex. It is so typically English with a "High Street", a "green", old shops but also with modern facilities.
And it is not far from the sea, that is the English Channel, cold water and pebbles on the beach but who cares ? European people from the continent do not go to England to sunbathe (well, in fact, I have done that and I enjoyed it).
Battle is not famous for its typical atmosphere but because it is the place of the Battle of Hastings which happened in 1066, the battle where William the Conqueror defeated King Harold. There is a big arrow in a meadow to show the place where Harold was killed.
This arrow has even been moved to try to be at the very right place. I have asked my friend why the right information was not given at first, no GPS in that time ? Just joking.
I have visited Battle Abbey twice walking around the buildings, the battle field.
Last year it was possible to go to the top of Battle Abbey buildings and discover the town, the forest around (I had not realized there was so much when I was on the ground). It was a busy Saturday morning but on this roof it was very calm.
If you go there, have a walk in High Street up from Battle Abbey, have a go to the market if possible, have a drink outside and enjoy the English way of life in this pleasant town.Once in the area you can also discover Rye, Hastings, Bexhill, Eastbourne... The south of England is such a beautiful area to visit and the weather is good in spite of a few rainy days.
Before 1760 there were saltworks in Rosières-aux-Salines. The main well where salted water was pumped is in the middle of the stud farm square.
In 1767 the place became a "royal stud farm" and was closed during the French Revolution, but it was soon replaced by all the people and horses of the French Army of Zweibrücken (Deux-Ponts) which moved to Rosières-aux-Salines. The stud farm worked really well and was extended from 1818.
As Rosières-aux-Salines is near the French border, it meant garrison towns were not far, so plenty of horses to deal with. And a lot of draught horses were used by farmers at this time. But machines replaced them quite quickly after WW1.
The first Anglo-Arab stallion arrived at the stud farm in 1954 ; in 1967, they were 11 and 28 in 1980.
The stud farm square is regularly used for exhibitions and some visits are organized. This year the place celebrates its 250th anniversary.
Hohlandsbourg castle, near Wintzenheim, is built on a top of the Vosgian mountains, not very high but enough to enjoy a beautiful view towards Colmar, the Black Forest and, of course, the Alsatian flat country.
The high walls of Hohlandsbourg castle are impressing, and the size of the castle too. It was built in 1279 and extended in the following centuries, then partly demolished during the Thirty Years War.
It has been nearly forgotten for years and trees had grown in and out of the walls. We had not heard about it till our last trip to Alsace, but we had seen the castle from far away and asked about it as we were a bit puzzled.
From 1985 people have been working to restore it and give it back all the details of a fortified castle. Once there you can revise all the vocabulary of Middle Ages : bartizan, postern, drawbridge, rampart walk and others.
You can't miss Hohlandsbourg Castle when you are in the area of Colmar or Turckheim. The eyes are attracted by these high walls on top of the mountains.
Inside a video explains about the work in the castle, the people who have lived there and the history of the place. And this year you can discover an exhibition about boats made with Playmobil pieces in one of the rooms, a bit unexpected but children likes it a lot.
Strasbourg cathedral can be seen from far away and recognized thanks to the only tower of the building. From 1647 to 1874 it was the tallest building in the world.
A guide has explained to us that, if you imagine Strasbourg cathedral without this high tower and the part above the rose window, it is very similar to Notre-Dame de Paris. The front is decorated with thousands of figures, among them you can see kings (Clovis, Dagobert, Rodolphe, Louis XIV).
As this part of Strasbourg is a pedestrian precinct, it is easy to walk around the cathedral. And then you can enjoy the small streets around without the noise of cars, only with the voices of tourists coming from the whole world.
A visit in June is different from one in December with thousands of people visiting the local Christmas Market.
In the cathedral, the organ is impressing, the rose window beautiful, but most people come to see the astronomical clock and its automata. Every quarter of an hour, there is a small movement on the clock and at half past midday the 12 apostles move when the cock crows three times.
The clock also shows the real position of the Sun and the Moon.
Just near it, the Pillar of Angels is about the Last Judgement.
It is situated at the end of Strasbourg cathedral, far from the entry and in a quite small space for all the tourists who want to see it. But it is worth a look.
After this visit, a good Alsatian lunch is appreciated before a boat trip on Ill River to admire Strasbourg parts from the water and to listen to the history of the town and the buildings.
Each time gardens are open in Lorraine we try to visit new ones. Today we didn't want to go too far and discovered La Cure d'Air Trianon in Malzéville which was especially open for the Rendez-vous aux Jardins 2017.
La Cure d'Air Trianon was created in 1902 by the owner of the pub of Point Central in Nancy. He had noticed people liked walking in the upper part of Nancy on Sundays, so he decided to open a "guinguette" (café and dance-hall).
Unluckily he was not able to pay the builders and La Cure d'Air Trianon was sold in 1909 to a private owner.
Nowadays it is still owned by the same family. The garden shows beautiful roses and fruit trees and also big impressing trees. The place is not very big but really pleasant to have a walk around.
And after the walk in the garden, the former guinguette of La Cure d'Air Trianon is worth a long look. There were 22 stained-glass windows in 1902, 7 can be seen nowadays, 11 are kept to be restored and 4 are lost. They were made by a worker of Daum. They show advertisements for alcohols mainly. The architecture of the building is typical of the beginning of the 20th century.
It was a pleasant visit in a place we didn't know at all (we had never heard about it till this morning). The owners would like to open La Cure d'Air Trianon two week ends each month in the coming years. It would be a very good idea.