Turckheim is very near Colmar in Alsace. I went there years ago with my family and made my husband discover it last week end.
Of course, Turckheim looks like other Alsatian villages with half-timbered houses, but I think a lot of people first think about it because of Porte de France (France gate) and because of the Veilleur de Nuit (Night Watchman).
Each evening a night watchman walks in the town shouting in Alsatian "Han sori zu Fir und Liacht" (Take care of fire and light). This man used to do the job in old times to prevent house fires when candles were forgotten or fires too big at night.
He can be seen near Porte de France,built around 1330, which used to be a drawbridge and had two doors. Nowadays a stork nest on the top makes it quite recognizable.
Turckheim is on the way to Santiago de Compostela with a path to follow. The church tower was built in 1190 but the other parts of the building were renovated later. The Hôtel de Ville has got quite a typical shape.
Turckheim is famous because of its vineyards. It is said that, when the sea was still in the area, a dragon went out of the water, climbed on a hill and fell asleep in the sun. It was so hot that the dragon melted and its blood went into the soil. When the sea disappeared, men built Turckheim there and planted vineyards which were fed by the blood of the dragon and grew very well.
The town is also known because of the Memorial Museum of the fight in the area of Colmar which happened during the winter 1944-1945.
As usual we stopped in Kaysersberg on our way to the center of Alsace.
One week after Easter, decorations are still hanging in the streets. There are plenty of Easter rabbits and that is always a bit strange for people living in Lorraine as here bells bring Easter eggs, not rabbits. The colours are pleasant to look at and it makes streets look happy even if the day was quite cloudy.
We had an afternoon snack in the tea room we know well. My husband chose "punch rhum" and I had to ask what it was : a cake made with a mixture of kugelhopf pieces, custard, raisins soaked in rum, candied fruit. In Nancy we would call it "pudding". I chose almond and peach pie, I was not an adventurer on Saturday.
And we did some shopping in Kaysersberg. Each time we are in Alsace we notice shops selling hats and caps. These shops are not common in or near Nancy and we often must go to markets to find hats and the choice is not so good. So my husband found a cap he likes, good quality, nice colours. Next time I will try to find a hat for me, a summer hat.
Last week end we had another opportunity to go to the castle of Lunéville. For the European Days of Art Professions, the castle welcomed different craftsmen.
We first met a wig maker who was also a teacher. She explained about her job which enables her to meet actors, models. Sometimes she has to work one hair by one hair to create a perfect look.
Then we walked to observe the upholsterer. Each time I see one I feel it is a hard job but the result is beautiful.
His neighbour was a sculptor. She told me she makes dolls' heads but also works from pictures to create "private" sculptures. She showed me how the dust of the room and dry air could damage the baby's head she was making.
We went on and looked at a stone engraver, an organ builder and a costumier working. All of these craftsmen were interesting and explained about their creations.
The most surprising for us were musicians playing the nyckelharpa, a Swedish musical instrument. We had never heard about it. It has an unusual shape but we liked the sound of it.
This was definitely another good afternoon with people who like their jobs and are kind enough to explain about them.
When daffodils are blooming, we feel spring has arrived. Their yellow colour is so bright that you can't miss them when walking around.
Here, not far from Nancy, we find them in or near the woods, in clearings. In the Vosges you can discover them in meadows.
Near Gérardmer, there are so many to pick. The town organizes every other year a parade called Fête des Jonquilles with floats covered with daffodils. People are even invited to come the day before the parade to help put the flowers on the floats. And school children used to go with their teachers to pick the flowers the last days before the event (I don't know if they still do it nowadays).
So the parade in Gérardmer will happen next week attracting a lot of people. It is really beautiful, colourful and certainly a good way to celebrate the new spring with a Daffodil's Festival.
As each year I made crêpes for Candlemas on the 2nd of February. It is a tradition. But don't imagine we eat crêpes only on this day.
I feel it is one thing so convenient to cook, at the last minute, that it has become over the years THE meal when I don't want to cook or don't know what to cook.
In the last few weeks I have seen several times on television people cooking Crêpes Suzette. I have never made these but feel more and more like trying. Put the crêpes in melted butter, sugar and orange juice, add a bit of Grand Marnier and make it flambé... and eat it!
This would mean a bit more work for me but it is so good.
And it would be a good idea after a walk on this sunny day. A beautiful warm and sunny Sunday for Lorraine.