Next stop after Essen was the picture postcard town of Quedlinburg in Germany. This town is listed as one of Germany's top ten towns to see and I have to say I agree! The whole town and surrounds are untouched, dating back to the 9th century, and all is world heritage listed so will remain untouched! It is a living town where real people still live, work and go about their daily lives so everything is used.
This is the view from the little apartment we rented between the 13th century town hall and the 14th century cathedral! It was lovely but the bells started clanging on both sides at 6 am so no sleep ins!
We were on the third floor of this circa 1660 building. The lady who owned it was a local guide so gave us really good advice about what to see and where to eat etc! We explored the town from the schloss at the top, to the basement of the town hall!
After Quedlinburg we headed for an overnight stop in Regensberg. It is still old and UNESCO rated but as more of a city with a busy shopping district and university we felt it lacked charm. We didn't linger.
Still heading south we took a day drive over the Austrian Alps into Switzerland. It was exciting to still see snow on the mountains and great to feel the nip in the air!
We took our time and made lots of stops to take in the spectacular views.
Our next stop for a few nights was Luzern (Lucerne). It is a beautiful city!
Top Gear and I have visited here a few times before. We had come back for a lake cruise and for Top Gear to visit an old apothecary (pharmacy) we knew about it. I can report that we ticked both boxes! The cruise was relaxing and we got to see the upper reaches of the lake.
Some of the villas looked like movie sets!
The only negative thing I can say is that it is a horribly expensive city to visit but I am glad we had our couple of days.
Leaving Luzern, Top Gear was on a mission! He had earmarked several towns where ancient apothecaries still exist in tact, usually in old monasteries or hospitals, and dating back to the 13th and 14th centuries. As a pharmacist and collector of old pharmacy bits he was in his element. So, finally in to France and our first stop was Bouge-en-Bresse to an old monastery now a hospital/ aged care home to see rooms and rooms of this..........
He loved it! The whole thing was to be repeated in Besancon, just under an hour down the road but here he was thwarted because the history part of the hospital was not being re-opened till May........NOT ON THE WEBSITE!!!!!!! Nevermind as Besancon turned out to be a gem of a town. It was ancient but lived in. No tourists and no English spoken but smiley, helpful people. It was built on a river, with city walls and a citadel, Roman ruins and is famous as the best watch making city in France. Why is this place NOT in the Lonely Planet .......secretly we are glad it is not!!!!
We could have stayed longer but we are on a time line to reach the house we have rented near Carcassone and we still have to explore Provence!
Tonight we are resting our heads in Annecy.......as we start to head south and west across Provence! Not sure I will want to leave after what we spied on our walk this afternoon. Another ancient town, built around a mountain lake, narrow cobbled streets, flower pot lined canals, stone bridges etc etc blah, blah, blah!
We finished our day today, watching the sun set, with rose' and crepes......Bon Apetit!
Next stop......somewhere in Provence!
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