Little France

Trip Start Oct 18, 2012
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Trip End Ongoing


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Where I stayed

Flag of France  , Alsace,
Saturday, December 29, 2012

Howdy folks,

Well I woke up this morning to my first French sunrise. Technically the sunrise was German because the city is on the border and Germany is east, but nevertheless I was in France. We both paid 11 Euros each for a buffet breakfast so expecting a big French event I took my camera down to photograph the wonderful cuisine that awaited us. Unfortunately I forgot that we were staying in a budget motel and not even the scrambled eggs were warm! In any case, we ate slowly and made sure we got our moneys worth! After we put our things in the car, we checked out.

Being just on the outskirts of town, we were trying to decide whether it was worth it to try and catch a bus into the city as we would be walking around the whole day. Given that it was only a 30 minute walk, we decided to ditch the bus and get some more exercise. It was nice walking in the morning sun on the bike path. Like in Heidelberg, the foothpaths are shared with cyclists with clear lanes showing who should travel where. I find that to be a lot safer than in Australia, where the cyclists have to share the road with the cars and navigate traffic. Then again, if there were as many cyclists in Adelaide as there are here then maybe things would be different.

We arrived first at the Place de l'Homme de Fer (Iron Man Place) which is a large circular strassenbahn station. I quite liked the simple yet striking architecture that filled the space between the buildings. Walking down to Petite France, the old town started taking prominence over the newer buildings. At the old Maison des Tanneurs (Tannery), it felt like you were stepping back in time. The narrow, cobblestone streets wind through the high 3 storey houses which are well maintained for their age. This place is called Little France and there were plenty of tourists walking around. We crossed over the bridge to get to the Barrage Vauban which is a 300 year old weir which gives a nice panoramic view of the Ponts Couverts (Covered Bridges). The rooftop viewing area is only 50 years old and is one of the famous sights of Strasbourg; a very nice spot.

We walked back over the L'il River to get back into the Old Town and along the river to a big Flea Market. There were a large array of antiques at different stalls or on the ground although I must confess antiques aren't really my interest. It was time to see the other famous sight in Strasbourg which is the bloody big cathedral in the middle. The Cathédrale de Strasbourg was started in 1176 and the north tower was completed in 1439. In fact, it was at one point the tallest building in the world from 1647 to 1874! Not a bad record except for the fact that it only got the record because 3 taller churches burnt or fell down before!

At the Cathédrale de Strasbourg there was another Christmas Market and the Tourist Information Center with a giant gingerbread man on the front of it. We took a quick look at the courtyard of the Palais Rohan, but weren't interested at looking at the museum. It was time for a bite to eat and we eventually located a McDonalds in Place Gutenberg. Having ordered McDonalds in Quebec, I thought it might be similar, but it was a bit different. I ordered a Maxi Best of McChicken (a large meal) and Steffie and I tried to find a seat in the overcrowded restaurant.

After lunch, we headed back to the Cathedral to take a look inside. There was a line to go up to the 66m observation area, so we just went inside to walk around. It was pretty big and crowded inside with a constant line of people filing through. One of the most interesting features was the astronomical clock in the corner which is almost 200 years old and quite accurate. The giant stained glass circular window and the organ at the front also make it a special place.

Having spend the better part of the day walking around, it was time to walk the last 2kms back to the hotel and grab the car. We were planning on visiting the European Parliament, but we didn't want to navigate the traffic just to get a look so we jumped back on the highway and headed home. We crossed the same border back into Germany and after 90 minutes of driving we were back in Edingen. There were plenty of cars from Holland on the Autobahn obviously driving back home after a week of skiing in the Alps.

We made up a new driving game which is a twist on making names from number plates. In Germany the first two letters of the number plate indicate which city the car is from i.e. HD (Heidelberg), MA (Manheim) or BAD (Baden-Baden). There were lots of BAD cars in Baden-Baden! So it was interesting to see which towns the cars were from just based on the number plates!

Next stop 2013!
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