Though we docked in Germany, our first Christmas market was in a little quaint village in France. We did have three other options for our first tour, one being in Freiburg, Germany; the second a bicycle tour in Breisach, Germany and the third was an excursion to the Black Forest. I was anxious to begin my tour of the markets so without hesitancy I signed up for this tour.
With our Whisper Vox around our neck, our money safely put away, we left around 9:00 for Riquewihr. A Whisper Vox is a little receiver and earbuds that allows you to listen to your guide without hovering around the guide trying to listen to their narrative. I think these are the best thing for tours.
It was lovely driving through the countryside. My travel friend had never been to Europe before and she was interested in how the landscape of houses looked in comparison to our area. This are of France is in the Alsace region and had gone back and forth between being part of France and part of Germany. Most people, because of this speak both French and German. There are many vineyards in this part of France
We arrived in Riquewihr and departed the bus. Our local tour guide walked around with us explaining about the area, this village as well as answering any questions we might have. The main street was cobblestone and many of the buildings of this main street were half made of timber. Near the back of this main street village was the medieval wall around the city. She showed us some of the older buildings in Riquewihr and some of them were older than our country! We all took in the decorations on the buildings, the scent of the gluhwein and all the goodies that we could purchase. We had to remember that this was our first Christmas market and we needed to pace ourselves to be able to have room in our suitcase to bring home what we purchased.
I wandered around, drank my first rouge gluhwein, bought some nougat and a few seasonal cookies. The day began with sun and many people here. It was a Sunday and two weeks before Christmas. People came from all over to go to this market due to the quaintness of this market and village. It was crowded.
At the beginning of the tour, it was sunny and cool but it turned into a rainy day. Luckily for me I had purchased at WalMart in their sporting goods department one of their thicker rain ponchos I could put in my backpack. I was able to find a spot to get it out and out it on over me and my backpack.
I think that most of us were ready to leave before the time was up due to the small size of the market, the crowds and the rain. It was a nice introduction to the markets on this cruise.