Saturday, November 29, 2014

Germany or France?

Tom and I had Strasbourg on our list of places to visit for a while and finally we got there. Reading store and street names, it is clear that this city has been part of Germany, then France, then Germany, then France. You get the picture. It is officially in France now, but they clearly have their own mixture of languages. Would you call it Freutsch or Danรงais? Frerman or Gench?

cathedral in background

While walking around looking for a good dinner spot, we discovered there was a fundraiser walk for breast cancer in progress. The pink was very noticeable and since it was October, it wasn't hard to figure out.

looks more like purple here, but actually was  pink

One of the draws of going to Strasbourg is the cathedral. I've seen a lot of cathedrals and this one is not my favorite, but it is awe-inspiring.  I may be morbid, but I always wonder how many people died during construction without cranes or power tools. This side view of the cathedral clearly shows only one spire, but an empty spot where a second could be. The design baffles me. This is not a work in progress, but has stood like this for centuries. (they are actually celebrating 1000 years!) It just looks wrong to me.

front entrance

day two had sunshine

Apologies for not being able to credit the artist, but I think he or she did a fabulous job capturing the essence of the area.  It's also not fair that I didn't buy it, but am sharing it anyway. Shame on me?

close up above doors

 The detail is truly amazing!

The exterior stone work is so intricate there is even a memorial to the workers!

progress of stone work

I don't think this cathedral is particularly beautiful inside, but it does have a lot of lovely stained glass and a fancy set of organ pipes. Sadly, the organs are rarely in use when tourists can wander through.

organ pipes
astrological clock

As we explore Europe, we've discovered that there are more places with canals than we realized. Strasbourg has its share and of course, we took a boat tour, complete with narration in the language of choice. We crossed our fingers for no rain and boarded an uncovered boat. (fyi:  it didn't rain!)

 Sights along the way:
former customs house

bridge pivots to allow boat to pass

towers from old city wall
Strasbourg is home to the European Parliament with offices on both sides of the water connected by a foot bridge. 

Time for the boat ride to end....


Next, we visited the museum of the region. 
I love the painted detail on the wood.

The utensil holder was probably a wedding gift. Individual names were painted one per side - this one dates from 1850.

I'm not a fan of the traditional large bow worn by women. I wonder how heavy they were and how they made them stay up. Clearly, they actually wore them as evidenced by the photo below.  (Even the doll has a big bow!)

At one time, there was a large Jewish population in the region. 

 Tom is always willing to help when it comes to wine!

We happened upon what looked like a harvest celebration. We guessed the people in the procession were taking evidence of their bounty to the cathedral for a blessing. I love running into stuff like this. So cool.


I hope you can tell which one of us this is!

We also saw this couple returning from a parade or other event. Evidently, the large bows are still worn on  special occasions. The red and white flag symbolizes Alsace.

Another stop, at the history museum, offered us our first ever opportunity to try on a knight's helmet!

I've seen plenty of temporary flower markets on the side of a street. This place was more like a florist shop. They were actually making up arrangements as requested on the spot, not just selling ready made bouquets.

This vendor can actually take his chestnuts to wherever the customers are. Maybe he just drives home when his day is over. Interesting concept.
One of the highlights of travel is eating out which we rarely do in our own area. A colleague of Tom's is friends with a chef in Strasbourg. We mentioned the recommendation when we made our reservation and got special treatment. It was a great meal and the chef came out to greet us when we were leaving. I was concentrating on the meal and unfortunately did not take any pictures of the food.

At the train station ready to head back to Zurich, we saw this clever idea. Do you want to charge your device's battery? You'll have to put in some legwork to do it! Start pedaling.

Train connections make travel so easy! Where to next?