We have been here for more than a week already. Our house exchange host met us at the train station and brought us to their home for lunch. It was a lovely way to get to know them and for them to show us around the home. I cleaned away the lunch while they loaded up their bags and Alain drove them to the Mulhouse/Basel airport. The family is lovely with really interesting smart kids who I am very comfortable having in our home in Canada.

The home we are in is lovely and I think for the first time we got the better part of the exchange. It is a modern home sitting on a hill overlooking the village of Illfurth. I can walk to the bakery and back for my croissant in about 20 minutes. In the yard we have pears, tomatoes, mirabelles (sweet yellow plums). We have a lovely view of the sunset and the Vosges mountains. The village church really does have a big nest on top with storks in it.

Alsace is so much more than I expected. It is very much like being in a fairy tale – think Beauty and the Beast, adorable villages, with exposed timbers and lots and lots of flowers. It is also so close to Germany and Switzerland that we can be crossing the border in 30 minutes in either direction.

Food and wine are excellent and affordable here, we have been eating at home and having picnics all the time, excellent bread, cheeses, fish, sausages. Yesterday we got hot Paella full of shrimps, chicken and mussels from one of the many, many local markets and sat at a bench in a village to have our lunch.

Sophie and Martin (Alain’s daughter and her partner) spent the first week here with us and we did not stop much, so no time for blogging. We wanted to do as much as possible while they were here. It was their first visit to Europe and they loved it. We have been to Castles, vineyards, the Swiss Alps and the Black Forest just in the past week but I will write about those separately.


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