The New Year of 2021 is well upon us and the world has not calmed. This is the year of the Vaccine and we cannot have it fast enough. Such tragedy there has been and sadly yet to come. So many families are without a loved one or are dealing with virus illness presently or its terrible aftereffects. New variants develop and are seemingly more infectious than earlier ones, as this virus searches for new victims. All of us are suffering from confinements and restrictions and worry about family and friends as well as ourselves. We mask and wash carefully. We search for new and better mask types. We try to keep our social distance, which can be challenging in a crowded grocery. Disinfect the door handles, the taps, the fridge the groceries we bring in. Thoroughly wash the fruits the vegetables and then wash your own hands multiple times a day. Do we wash a banana before we peel it becomes a question of early morning breakfast! It is to the point I must cream up my hands with lotion and put-on cotton gloves every night to heal the cracks. John thinks I go to extremes, but so far, we have been safe. Now we just must stay safe until we obtain the vaccine. We are on the doctors list and hope for early February. We listen to your stories of restrictions and lifting of restrictions and then tighter restrictions when lifting them results in more cases. No country is immune to these political fluctuations in decision making. We have family touched by this awful illness and we worry about their welfare. Hospitals are overrun and government warnings range from nonexistent to severe. Compliance issues are everywhere but, in some places, severely so. Conspiracy theories swirl not only about the USA election but the “hoax” of virus despite those who linger near death, yet still deny it. Hospital workers are stunned to find so many of their patients believing still, as they go into intubation, that they do not have COVID-19. The world is a strange place and those of us populating it can behave in very odd ways. One would think the message and the reason for the message would resound with every one of us. This is a killing type of virus for so many. No one knows just how it may affect them personally. Public health measures have been clear. Why can we not act accordingly to save ourselves and fellow earthlings?
But such good things have happened also. Zoom calls, WhatsApp calls and Messenger have kept us face to face and connected. We have Christmas baked via Zoom with a very enthusiastic cookie baker, made desserts, celebrated apero, birthdays, done business, worked, attended presentations and meetings, given solace & encouragement, shared photos and experiences as well as keeping up with email. We have talked more and listened and possibly heard more and driven less and not eaten out, so we have cooked and baked more. We have pined for company, read more, learned a new skill. Well at least I tried to crochet. We have pursued hobbies, contended with children home all day trying to learn online. We have become technicians and gained expertise helping them. Many of you have become home schooling teachers and coaches while juggling jobs and homecare. The list is long and complex, and I have barely scratched the surface. In a nutshell we have changed. Only time will tell whether for better or worse.
So, with my rant finished for the day I bring you some photos of a little drive we took to see the Alsace village of Kaysersberg. No, we broke no curfew or confinement restrictions. We were well back before 6pm, which is the initial hour of nightly curfew, ending at 6am the next morning. After many gloomy weather days and mounting illness pressure of our little Oscar we decided we had to take a drive and clear our heads. The day broke into sunshine, gloriously brilliant with the bluest of skies. We ate a fresh baguette sandwich in a vineyard dotted with workers pruning the vines. Although the sun was bright the day was cold, and we noted the vineyard workers were warmly dressed and prepared for the job in the steep rows of vines.
Kaysersberg is a former French commune located in the Haut-Rhin department, in the Grand Est region. This small town is in the historical and cultural region of Alsace and became, on January 1, 2016, a delegated municipality of the new municipality of Kaysersberg Vignoble. This was good news for the wine industry. It is one of the most charming towns in Alsace with its cobbled streets and richly decorated half-timbered houses.
Although it was Monday and shops were closed due both to the day of the week and the virus restrictions, it was lovely to wander in the pretty streets and peek into closed shop windows. All was strangely quiet, with only a few people hurrying home and some town cats sunning themselves on the stone walls. We felt so liberated to walk and lunch with no one close by. A wonderful day!
Kaysersberg is south of Strasbourg and just west of the Rhin, close to Colmar. The Vosges rise to the west and the vineyards climb as high as viticulturists can grow their grapes on the hillsides. The higher elevations are heavily forested and wonderful little roads wind through the wine villages in the valleys and rise to mountain villages at altitude.