French and/or German
31.01.2009 - 03.01.2009 -6 °C
Strasbourg is a beautiful smaller city with an historic and car-free "old town". The pace of life is much more relaxed here, as evidenced by the friendly proprietor of our apartment who gave us a 45 minute explanation of how everything in the place worked, right down to the knobs on the stove and the bedroom curtains. The architecture and feel of the city is quite German, it is all rather clean and efficient.
On the first day we visited the cathedral and the last of the famous Christmas markets which gave us a chance to sample some warm mulled wine. Temperatures are generally below zero here at the moment. It was New Year's Eve and there were massive quantities of fireworks, crackers, sirens, etc. happening but due to a bit of exhaustion, we stayed in and slept.
For day 2 we went on a boat ride around the old areas and past the European Parliament and offices of various EU commissions that looked like grand havens for cushy jobs. We ate some pizza like things for lunch which are traditional Alsatian food (no, not PAL ... sorry, I think the Germans are having an effect on my sense of humour) and very nice. The reisling here is also very nice.
Day 3 started with some shopping in a number of beautifully presented businesses in the city centre. Following this, Sonia and I climbed the 330 steps to the viewing platform near the top of the cathedral. We were able to see much of the city from there and the sun came out which made us think that we were warmer. After a walk through the Petite France area, we met Ben and Kate for lunch at a bierstub (basically a pub) where there were all sorts of sausage and cabbage arrangements available. We ate a hearty meal before setting off to invade Germany. We did this by taking a tram and a bus and walking across a pedestrian bridge to a town in Germany.
In the evening we visited a Museum of Modern Art back in Strasbourg. Tomorrow we go to the village of Riquewhir.