Strasbourg in Strasbourg:
It’s always good to eat the local speciality, so of course this was the obvious one. In the Alsace region of France lies an area with a lot of German influence, being close to the border. We had taken the train, and Audrey and Leslye had driven, with our large suitcases, to Strasbourg. Deciding it was a pleasant day and after our long train journey, it would be a good idea to walk. Not actually getting lost, we ended up being quite warm after our 40 minute walk to find Rue des Bitches (honestly!) and our Hotel Cap, which had vinyl flooring and a little cupboard of a toilet and shower cubicle. However, it also had a little cooktop and fridge the same size as the apartment we had just been in. The bed was comfortable and I had enough space to do Body Balance the following morning. Dutchy was pleased it even had a TV, so we watched a dubbed Cléopâtre mini-series and I dozed off for half an hour. These replenishing naps are becoming a habit.
When the girls arrived we set off to walk about the town, amazed at how warm it was. Apparently France has been experiencing an unusual heatwave, and because it’s rare, adequate cooling, or even fans, are seriously lacking. Strasbourg is famous for the stork as its symbol, many of which are available as souvenir purchases. I am actually being fussy about what I buy in the way of souvenirs the more I travel, and try to choose practical things.
After some walking, a drink was in order. We sat across from the cathedral, which is an impressive structure. Before I enjoyed the local crémant Alsace, a sparkling wine from the area, I had a delicious ice-cream of chocolate and Rocher in a cone while Dutchy continued his beeralogue.
- Picon beer – dark golden brown brew with a creamy head and a few bubbles. A very smooth drink with a taste of orange – another winner. Even Sandi surprisingly enjoyed a sip of it. The photo shows the surprising sip. After much discussion and translation, it was discovered that Picon beer is actually a local beer with an additive. In this case it was one of Dutchy’s favourites, 1664, with a shot of Picon, an orange syrup. You can buy this, something we might look for.
Dinner at a little restaurant, after much more walking trying to choose a place, was pleasant. We tried a local specialty called “Tarte Flambé” or “Flammkuchen” the name of which I kept calling “Fluunken Schtuunken” which made everybody laugh. As a pizza, it was an almost an invisible crust if you compare it with our thin crust. Dutchy thought it was transparent! Scant toppings meant it was a once-only experience, though it was admittedly tasty. Sometimes expectations can spoil the actuality. I decided I had to try the choucroute, which we know by the German name of sauerkraut. This cooked cabbage conglomeration was okay, and accompanied by some sausage and ham and some other meat. The chocolate fondant was actually just some chocolate cake with a thin custard sauce over it. Where was the lovely centre oozing out?
Returning to our previous spot at the brasserie near the cathedral, because the light show was due to start, finding a table was a lot more difficult. Many people were sitting at tables, but facing the cathedral, so there were plenty of spare chairs on the other side of their tables. We found a spot and asked if we could utilise some of these chairs. Most people were very pleasant, but we approached one couple who were sitting at two tables. When we asked if we could have the other table the woman with the pursed lips said “no” which surprised me. I assumed they were waiting for someone else. Later they left, before the light show, without anyone having ever joined them. We didn’t have a chance to claim the territory because it was pounced on as they were leaving. Fortunately the older couple who had laid claim to it were happy for us to have one of the tables, but I was flabbergasted by the meanness of the previous occupant. I felt like running after her and telling her she should be staying in the same street as our hotel “rue des Bitche.”
Illumination of the Cathédrale de Notre Dame de Strasbourg (Our Lady’s), was set to classical music, such as Swan Lake and The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. Computer programmed, it was an impressive show that lasted about 15 minutes, then to our surprise it was repeated five minutes later, and again for a third time!