Ok, ok, clearly the holiday has long been over and this is a voice from the past; I got distracted by brexit and coming back to work, that kind of thing!
While almost all of our trip was to Germany we also made a trip over the border for a few days to Strasbourg – a city with a history of being taken by one or the other, but is at least currently in France.
The old town area of Strasbourg is an island, surrounded by a river and canals, and it’s probably ~1km² in area. We were staying just off it and spent quite a while just wandering the very pretty streets and looking at the pretty things.
While naturally my highlight in the end was probably climbing the cathedral spire and looking down over the city (I have some weird relationship with heights and wanting to be up there) we also did a lot of other things:
- took a boat ride around the island
- saw a whole bunch of storks in a park they like to hang out in
- climbed the cathedral tower (ok fine I mentioned that already – but it was a lot of steps)
- saw the famous clock in the cathedral that has a daily ‘procession of apostles’ and various other things moving around. Not as good as it sounded, but still a very impressive piece of late Medieval technology.
- went to a “History of Strasbourg” museum, which was really interesting and we ended up learning quite a lot about the background of this slightly-weird area of Framany. Included, and pictured below, was a scale model of Strasbourg’s old town which was apparently used in the past for planning military defense of the town!
And now for some pictures of all of the above:
While in Strasbourg we also took a day-trip out to Kolmar, a nearby town that Erin had discovered was supposed to be very pretty – and it definitely was! It was quite small, but I’m not sure we found any street that didn’t have something to look at and exclaim about; it really was a perfect little place. We also went on a boat ride here – the river area in Kolmar is known as ‘Little Venice’ – and that was quite nice too, amusing “Area of Silence” notwithstanding.
Probably the weirdest thing we saw in Kolmar was the Statue of Liberty – or at least, a 12m-tall scale model of it, in the middle of a roundabout on the way to the airport. Not as weird as it sounds, though; the designer of the statue of liberty (Bartholdi) was born in Kolmar and a while back they built the replica to honour him. Pretty cool.
We went to a really excellent (/weird/interesting/disturbing) toy museum while in Kolmar, lots of dolls (often disturbing), teddy bears, other things. The top floor was just for a huge model railway system, so big that we didn’t realise that most of the room was the same model (rather than multiple different models) until we were almost done!
Nice place, Kolmar.
My batting average on restaurants continued to excel, and with nice variety as well; in Kolmar we had a traditional Tarte Flambee for lunch (delicious, and you’ll find yourself eating that for lunch some day at ours), in Strasbourg we ate at a very fancy Indian restaurant on the first night, then some heavenly food at a Michelin-starred place on our last night. Really delicious and satisfying experiences.
I think, in hindsight, Strasbourg was probably our favourite city of the trip. Certainly some of the highlights in other places exceeded the highlights in Strasbourg (like castles in various places, etc.), but overall it just seemed like a very nice city that also was a place that people actually lived. I don’t think there was much to go back to for sightseeing, but as a place to be I would rate it very highly.
And next, after our brief excursion the other side of the border, back to Germany!