I'm the Never Leave Your Wingman book and I've been blogging about our summer trip to Europe. I wasn't nearly as excited about seeing Switzerland as my author Deana and her husband, Publisher Al. They were anxious to see this country known for its alps, independence and beauty.
Where does Swiss chocolate come from?
Swiss cows, of course!
We saw Swiss bison, too. That was unexpected.
Here I am, sitting on the dash of our rental vehicle, watching the world outside - including this Swiss ambulance.
We stopped at this shopping mall which extended over the highway. We wanted to see if we could buy a small souvenir of Switzerland without breaking our budget. Switzerland is expensive, you see. We'd already paid 40 Swiss francs (about $40 Canadian) for a permit to drive through Switzerland that day.
We bought a quick lunch at a Burger King in the highway mall. One Whopper meal with fries and a drink plus an additional Whopper burger cost 24 Swiss francs - about $25 Canadian! That's probably close to double what it would have cost in Canada. You could have knocked our sandals off with a feather at that point!
Speaking of footwear...
...we saw these fashionable shoes in a mall shop and I had to pose for a photo with them. My subject - seven-time cancer survivor Dionne Warner - loves shoes, so I just couldn't help but think of her when I saw these shoes. Especially the pink ones. Have I said before that I LOVE PINK! I have? Well, there you go.
Have I said I also love silly things... like this cow and calf that were advertising a store in the mall. I wanted to get a close-up look at them. They're not the kind of cattle you see every day.
Nor do you see this sight every day...
...two balloons randomly hanging around in an elevator in a mall. It puzzled me and my author, so we took a photo. Just because.
So here you'll see my author/publisher and Publisher Al just standing by our rental vehicle in the Switzerland shopping mall parking lot. Again - just because.
A short while after our drive through Switzerland, we arrived in the town of Colmar, France. A woman we met at the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris told us that we should visit Colmar because it is so beautiful. So we decided to follow her advice.
We knew pretty much nothing about the town except that it is in the Alsace region of France, near Germany's Black Forest. So imagine our surprise when we saw this view at a roundabout (traffic circle) on the northern edge of the town as we got closer to our hotel.
Yep. It's a replica of the Statue of Liberty. In France!
Why, you ask?
Well... Auguste Bartholdi is the man who created the Statue of Liberty that sits in the harbour near New York City. And he was born in Colmar, France.
So this is the world's largest replica of the statue. It was unveiled in 2004 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Bartholdi's death.
We were among many, many passersby who stood in front of that 12-metre-high statue for a photo. Can you see me in this photo?
How about now?
Colmar calls itself 'La Petite Venice'. It does have a couple of canals. Pretty, but definitely 'petite' compared to Venice - or even Bruges, Venice of the North.
This corner honours local artist Bartholdi.
This hat honours.... um... storks?
My author and I found this statue to be quite fascinating.
It is called Monument Pfeffel. Theophile-Conrad Pfeffel was born in 1736 and lost his sight in 1757. The monument says he "devoted his life to literature and teaching: in 1773 he founded a military academy for training young Protestants unable to attend the Royal Academy, and in 1803 was made president of the Evangelical Consistory of Colmar. He left a collection of poems, fables, stories and short stories. This statue which was made by Charles Geiss in 1927 is a sandstone copy of the original work by Andreé Friedrich (1859)."
Colmar has some beautiful historic buildings, like this chruch, ...
Fancy door knockers...
... interesting intricate latches for window shutters...
... and a camel? Yeah, it surprised me, too. I think it was outside a Moroccan-themed restaurant. Publisher Al looks like he wants to take it for a walk, doesn't he?
What’s on the menu at this restaurant? Well, there's pork ... And me!
Thumbs up from the chef. Thank you, kind sir.
So Colmar, France marked the end of our wonderful trip to Europe. We returned our rental vehicle to the agency in Frankfurt, Germany.
Publisher Al drove 9,348.3 kilometres during five and a half weeks. We saw parts of eight countries plus Vatican City and Monaco and had an absolutely wonderful time.
We flew over Greenland and Baffin Island - two more places I thought I'd never see.
We landed in Calgary and transferred to a WestJet flight to Regina.
Home Sweet Home.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) train in Regina, so this mighty moose is a reminder of that fact.
Oh, yeah - the Saskatchewan Roughriders won the 2013 Grey Cup ... on their home field in Regina this fall. It had nothing to do with our trip but everything to do with where we live. Go Riders!
Well, that's it. This is the final blog in my series. I hope you enjoyed following me as I revisited my Excellent European Adventure with my author and publisher. I had fun reliving our trip and showing you some of the sights we saw and the emotions we experienced. It was quite the adventure!
...with a French macaron tree...
...and a prayer candle that we lit in a church in France,
we wish you, your family and friends
a blessed holiday and a wonderful 2014.
And with this beautiful image we saw on a sidewalk in Switzerland,
we especially wish you and the whole world