On our second day in Colmar, we woke to pretty blue skies (yesterday had been overcast) and big plans to see what we had missed in Colmar yesterday and to try and take a trip in the afternoon to one of the nearby villages.
We started by walking up to the Unterlinden museum. We past many of the same sights from yesterday, but today, my camera actually took some decent pictures! This whole trip I felt like my camera struggled to take decent pictures due to sky and lighting conditions, etc.
(This is the Maison Pfister (Pfister House). It dates from 1537, doesn't it's painted exterior scream 16th century wealth?)
(Windows from the Maison de Tetes, House of Heads, another famous merchant house, this one built in 1609. It was embellished with about 100 faces and masks. This carving on the first floor shows a guy with pigs feet. It did belong to a wine merchant...)
(I really wish I had taken more pictures of these signs--here is another good one)
Finally we arrived at the Unterlinden museum.
(13th century Cloister. The museum was originally a Dominican convent built for noblewomen until the French Revolution)
The big claim to fame there is the Isenheim Altarpiece (c. 1515), painted by Matthias Grünewald.
The alterpiece originally hung in a medieval hospital were those sick with St. Anthony's fire would come to be treated. St. Anthony's fire, or ergotism, was a disease prevalent in the Middle Ages in Northern Europe, especially in places of high rye bread consumption, caused by fungal spores getting in the rye.
(Panel 1--The Crucifixion)
The alterpiece is actually a polyptych, a series of a two sided paintings on hinges. Priests would open and close the hinged paintings as the calendar year progressed.
(Panel 2--The Resurrection and the Annunciation)
(Panel 4--Temptation of St. Anthony and St. Anthony visits St. Paul, the hermit. In the bottom left, you can see a person suffering from St. Anthony's fire)
(Panel 5, a wood carving by Nikolaus Hagenauer, showing St. Anthony on a throne surrounded by church founders St. Augustine and St. Jerome).
Here is how panels 4 and 5 would have appeared:
There was a lot more to see in the museum, but one thing I found of particular interest was in the basement were some Gallo-roman archeological finds, including a mosaic floor from a 3rd century Roman villa found in the nearby town of Bergheim.
Once we finished exporing the museum, it was back out in the streets
until we reached the Dominican church. Sadly, there wasn't a market today like the one we saw yesterday, but the church was open (also unlike yesterday) so we went inside.
It has the beautiful painting The Virgin in a Rosebush (circa 1473) by Martin Schongauer.
After that we headed back to our hotel past some familiar sights.
(St. Martin's Church)
At the hotel we asked if they would call us a cab--since it was still early afternoon we decided to splurge and go ahead and see Eguisheim, voted one of the most beautiful villages in France.
We first walked along what would have been the towns wall, but had been replaced with old half timbered row homes. And basically made a circuit around the village.
After following this circuit, we went up the main road into town.
They were also having a spring festival, i think, with lovely decorations.
We went up to St. Leons chapel (named for a pope from this area)
At the base of the church there were sheep with lambs, donkeys, bunnies, and chickens!
After all this exploring it was definitely time for a wine break. I had a glass of the lady's wine, gewürztraminer. We also shared a plate of muenster cheese (made locally in Munster!)
followed by ice cream (because vacation).
We had arranged for the cab to pick us up ahead of time and it met us just outside of town.
(A couple more pics before heading out)
After resting a bit in the hotel, then out to dinner (at La Maison Rouge--highly recommend). I had a local specialty, Baeckoffe, like a pot roast with wine.
With dinner I tried a different local white wine, Edelzwicker, a mix of different grapes. Pretty good, but my favorite thus far is the slightly spicy gewürztraminer.