Travel Tuesday: Colmar, France

A city, no town, eh more like a village unlike any other.

Petite Venice in Colmar

Every Tuesday, I’ll be sharing photos and stories from my travels as a part of a series I’m calling Travel Tuesday. Over the past year and a half, I haven’t been able to get out and explore, so I’m taking the time to remember some of my favorite trips.

Colmar, France is one of the most beautiful and unique places I’ve visited. It reminds me of the town Belle’s little village in Beauty and the Beast. Colmar is a small quiet town that sits close to both the Germany and Switzerland borders, and their influence can’t be missed. The town is full of German architecture and cobblestone streets like you just came out of a time machine. It feels old world. Visiting places like Paris and other big cities, a lot of the locals will know English as tourism is a big part of their economy, but when we arrived in Colmar, locals no longer knew any English at all, which was a challenge we found…challenging. Now, for the record, my brother and I had each taken several years of French class. We had been preparing for this moment our entire lives…but hearing it in full speed can be a little different. We knew how to communicate, but getting toppings on our pizza was a little more difficult than expected. Heads up: Chèvre is goat’s cheese. Outside the mild embarrassment of not fully grasping the language, it was amazing to escape into local culture like this. For a few days got to live like the locals in Colmar. Hitting the village for vegetables, and enjoying wine from the vineyard in our back yard for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

My favorite part of Colmar was the section they call “Petite Venice,” or Little Venice. See? Four years of French coming in handy. It could have been the most picturesque district I’ve ever seen. Those old German buildings overlooking a river as still as glass, with patios sewn across the boardwalk we certainly couldn’t afford to eat at, it was something you’d see in a movie. Being there really showed me a lot about myself and what I enjoy about traveling. Before the trip, I was so excited for Paris, Dublin, and Amsterdam. The cities, baby! But getting to a village where nobody speaks your language is refreshing. In the big cities you’re walking past Starbucks and Subway sandwich shops, just like you would walking through downtown Chicago. But out in the country, you get a real feel for a country and its culture and people. In the future, I want to experience more places like this. Half of the fun of traveling foreign countries is taking the time to live like a local. You can borrow that by the way, it makes for a great traveling mantra. Live like a local.

Travel Tuesday: Doolin, Ireland

Downtown Doolin, Ireland

Before COVID turned all of our lives upside down, there were few things I enjoyed doing more than traveling and seeing the world. However, in March of 2020 traveling was put to an abrupt end. I wasn’t able to take a vacation until last week, when M’Lady and I spent a weekend in Vegas. I miss the highs and lows of traveling. I can’t wait to get back out there. To help scratch my travel itch, every Tuesday I will be sharing pictures and stories from some of my travels in a series I’m calling: Travel Tuesday. For the inaugural post, let’s head to one of my favorite places on this green earth: Doolin, Ireland.

If I was given a ticket to anywhere, right this minute, I’d have to pick Doolin, Ireland. Doolin is a small little village…using ‘town’ seems too big…on the west coast of Ireland in close proximity to the scenic Cliffs of Moher (Harry Potter fans may recognize it from Half-Blood Prince movie). The village has a couple pubs, a few shops, and lots of beautiful green acreage. Visiting Doolin was a bath for the soul. A trip outside of the modern day to a simpler time. We hiked the Cliffs (an amazing experience I highly recommend) and when we reached the top were able to watch dolphins swim with surfers down below. We were told this is a pretty rare sight. After this hike, we went to a pub for a pint of the black and to tell the bartender stories of our venture. We told him, “we watched surfers swim with dolphins! It was crazy!” The bartender seemed unfazed and responded, “Oh yeah, that was me surfing.” That’s how small this town is! I thought my story was cool, but he was able to top it immediately. At one point, we had to walk cliff-side merely inches from falling hundreds of feet into the rocky ocean. I was petrified, but looking back it was a one of a kind hike. Thank you, Pat Sweeney!

If you’re looking to get drunk and rowdy, Doolin isn’t for you. It’s more of a place to enjoy nature and a cup of coffee on the patio (or a Guinness, or two). However, if you’re looking for a relaxing trip where you can look at beautiful scenery, amazing food caught right there, and have conversations with friendly locals–Doolin is your destination.