Strasbourg is located along the Rhine River on the German and French border. It is known for being the headquarters for the European Parliament. Because it is located close to both Germany and France, it has a huge variety of culture. When you walk down the street you see a mix between French bakeries and German restaurants. The first night we had dinner at a German Winstub. I ordered a pork knuckle with sauerkraut and potatoes, and an infamous German beer. People were not exaggerating when they told me about how good German beer is. It is hands down the best beer I have ever had in my life. Liz ordered a plate of a variety of meats and sauerkraut, and Cathy ordered a puff pastry with some kind of chicken cream sauce. Unlike the Cheese Fondue in Switzerland, we did not regret this meal!
The next day we rented bikes to ride around the city because Strasbourg is quite large and is known for being accommodating to bikes. I have to say that it was quite funny seeing Cathy ride a bike, but she did well!
Strasbourg has a very large cathedral called Notre dame that has Gothic architecture. I have never actually seen Gothic architecture in my life and I was very impressed. I loved the stain glass windows.
We then made our way to the Petite French quarter, which is the most famous and picturesque part of Strasbourg. The cobblestone streets were filled with Cedar-style houses along canals with beautiful flowers everywhere. I felt like I went back in time as I walked around.
We picked up a baguette from a bakery, some brie and meat from the supermarket, wine, and had a picnic in a park for lunch. The small picnics are always some of my favorite times when traveling. It is cheap and a good way to involve yourself within the place you are in. You have to remember to sit back, relax once and awhile, and watch the culture play out in front of you.
After lunch we rode our bikes to Parc de l’Orangerie, which was gorgeous. I felt like I was in the painting by Seurat called “Sunday Afternoon.”
It was a sunny Sunday, so all of the locals were strolling around and the children were running around playing. The park was huge and every time that we turned our bikes in a new direction we would come across a new beautiful view or piece of art.
The next day we took a train to a castle called Haut-Koenigsbourg. The castle was at a very strategic position on top of a large mountain in the Alsace region and has been around since the 12th century with several different occupants. In the early 1900’s it was headed by a German Emporer to be restored to what it was in it’s prime. I love visiting castles in Europe because we don’t really have any in the United States and they have so much history to them.
The view from the castle was incredible. You could see pretty much the whole valley and even a little bit of the Alps.
After we were finished with Haut-Koenigsbourg, we took a train down to the little town of Colmar. It was a lot like Petite France in Strasbourg, but bigger and had more to it. I highly recommend this little village as a day trip to anybody who passes through the area. It was adorable!
Now we are off to the beloved city of Paris. I regret not paying attention in my high-school French class because I will be needing it now. Au revoir!
Oh, I almost forgot the “Obnoxious Katie and Liz Photo”….