Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Colmar Alsace France

After watching a Hayao Miyazaki film on TV here in Germany, I  was instantly blown away. FF, despite of not being a big fan of TV also found himself drawn into the film with an equal fascination . For once we found something we both enjoy watching . We did not even mind the commercials that day!

And so, on our last trip to Asia, FF decided to search high and low for all Miyazaki's films. I haven't seen him so determined at shopping before. He he. Well, it was a  ''good investement'', he says and I could not agree more. I enjoyed it much much longer than any  pair of shoe that I bought. We watched the films in its original Japanese language and found ourselves   more and more  drawn into the magical world of Mr. Miyazaki. Kudos to the Japenese for their creativity!

Among all Hiyazaki's work, Howl's Moving Castle  was my favorite. Who woudn't fall in love with this film? It tells a story of simple hat maker girl, Sophie,  who was cursed by a wicked witch and was transformed into a gouty 90 year old woman. Despite of the gray hair, wrinkles, extreme kyphosis ( hunch) ,osteoporotic limbs and croaky voice, she still managed to make Howl, a handsome and debonaire of a wizard fall in love with her! There's enough interesting character in the film including a wicked witch turned  porridge eating senile, an asthmatic dog that wheezes instead of bark, a scarecrow that doesn't stand still, an adorable wizard's apprentice whose only magic is to grow beard in seconds and a talking fire demon that fuels up a sore-to-the-eye-magical-castle making it wander thus the tittle, Howl's Moving Castle. 


It was not just the character that had me hanging to the film like a monkey to a banana tree. The architectural design and sceneries in the film were equally spell binding. It   looked so real! After few researches ( thanks Google!), I found out that although an artistic genius ( my opinion), Hayao Miyazaki still uses real spots and places as inspiration for his film making. Howl's Moving Castle was no different. Colmar Alsace in France was the inspirational site for the film. And so I promised myself to visit the place someday.

 Life is indeed wonderful when what you hope for comes true. This week, FF and I went to Colmar  to see the place for ourselves! What a treat! I was able to cross  something out from my ''1000 things to do before I die'' list. (^_°)

I took too many pictures that  my camera was in coma  after 6 hours of constant clicking. Here are few shots I want to share with you.

It is exactly what I expected . The town possesses an old section charm with it's colorful  wood framed ,almost whimsical timber houses, romantic canals and gondolas. Its like a page from a fairytale book...only real. Enchanting!

The entire place has an undiable charm. Each block has a unique character and has its own story to tell.

Colmar is surrounded by canals, some small while other are  big enough for boats . At night, lights are illuminated into the waters, making the place look more mesmerizing. The lighting system is quite developed in this old fashion town.

The colorful building are usually two to three stories high. The ground floors contain shops, restaurants or pubs while the upper section serves as a home to many Alsaciens.

 View from an elevated ground. The pavements are often  used by restaurants. Most diners prefer to eat outside when it is warm enough.

Some chairs and tables has a rustical feel to it, some more modern and contemporary. Your pick.

Most visited place in Colmar: le petite Venise or the little Venice. The timber houses are particularty vibrant in color.

Fishes are abundant. Despite of the leaves floating, the canal is relatively clean and clear.

Cozy condula ride with boats that could carry up to eight passengers are up and about.

Lolo getting out of the wobbly boat.

Tour buses that will give visitors a 35 minuntes ride around the town's famous spots. I highly recommend it. After the short trip, you could go on foot and explore the place at your leisure.

Built in the 13th century, The Collegiale St. Martin is Colmar's gothic architecture example in Alsace.

Built between 1663 to 1665, this covered market hall is built by the Parisian architect Loius-Michel Boltz. The outer structure looks medieval with its brick and stones walls. The hall in the inside on contrary is well lit, modern looking with its marble floor. It is spacious  and very  clean. I wish markets all over the world are like this.

You could buy vegetables and fruits.

Flowers, breads and pies, meat and cheese and many more are sold in this market.

Sorry for the hazy picture. It was taken inside the car and it was raining cats and dogs!

Colmar  is also the birthplace of Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, the sculptor  who designed the Statue of Liberty . He also contributed some important statues in Colmar.

Two of the many Bartholdi's work scattered around the town. 
Left: A monument of the famous physicist, mathematician, astronomer and philosopher, Gustave Adolphe Hirn.
Right: A statue of a boy drinking water, which adorns the covered market hall. 

When you are in Colmar as a tourist, be sure to make some neck exercises before stepping into the place. It could be that your head will be constantly tilt upwards during your stay in town. I will explain below.

The colorful sets of beautiful shutter made Colmar famous. It never occur to me the tourist came here to look at  windows. But they did.FF did and I did.  One has to continously look upward then.

Aside for vibrant colored windows, another reason why tourist constantly looks up are the beautifully decorated shop signs. Most are wrough iron and each piece is intricately designed and fabulous. Worth the stiff neck, I tell you.

The Aciene Douane.

Le Maison de Tetes ( House of the heads). A renaissance house with craved heads decorating the facade.

Aciene corps de garde

The water tower

Of course, we can not simply go without seeing  this place. The Maison Pfister. Howl swept Sophie off her feet ( literally speaking) flew and landed here. Quite an eminent scene at the movie.

 It was a very nice day. Did not expect to spend almost 8 hours in this enchanting town. Alsace is famous for good wines and good food but the restaurant we've been to has nothing to shout about.Oh well, one can't have everything I suppose.  After one last lingering look we took off and said  "au revoir".

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...