GOING TO STRASBOURG ~ FRANCE

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Going on holiday in Covid times.

This is my fish eye photo from the cathedral
This is my fish eye photo from the cathedral

We thought about it long but decided to travel because its safe in the areas where we are going. We are good So we are road tripping by car, because we didn’t want to go on a plane to Italy. We are going to visit things we like and we are going to do things for the kids. Travel with me in my travelfeed blogs and we will take you with us to France, Germany, lake Como and Lake Grada in Italy during the coming days.

So plans are made, dogs are taken care of by lovely dog people and the oldest two kids have to study and start school again next week because they lost time during the covid period we had in the Netherlands and the colleges were closed, so they can’t go with us.  They take care of the house and plants, so we are ready to go on holiday. We are in the car. First we visit Strasbourg. In France near the German border.

By car you drive via the German highways in about 6 hours we will drive to Strasbourg, as said before is very close to the German border.  The route via Germany is considerably faster than the shortest route that runs via Maastricht and Belgium. We stopped pence along the way at a restaurants indeed mouthpieces were mandatory and you had to fill in a form that you were a visitor here, that when there is a new outbreak in Germany they can track us down in Holland aswell. I think that’s smart. Also the heat is 31 degrees here so wearing the masks is a challenge for us but aswell for the kids. About Belgium the rules have changed last two weeks because of higher covid numbers there the rules are very strickt and that means traffic jams and we won’t go there because of that. Depending on our car and my hubby’s driving style, it will be about € 100 in fuel, making it the cheapest option , that is if you own a car.  Please note that an environmental sticker is (sometimes) mandatory for Strasbourg.  But also available at the border.

In case of persistent extreme air pollution, only vehicles with an environmental sticker may enter the Eurometropolis.  So when you own an old car beware of that. Don’t want to strand there. We won’t have that problem due to corona it’s much more quiet there than normal. When driving in France, you are also required to have a warning triangle, a vest and an alcohol breath test in your car.  Although you will not be fined as a tourist for the latter. We got the things in the car just in case. Better safe than sorry. 

Strasbourg is the capital of Alsace, which is well known under the Dutch tourists and is a great destination for a short city trip.  Or for us as a first stop under way to other places. Staying longer in Strasburg or Alsace is certainly also possible as there is plenty to see in the regional capital and the surrounding towns.  We looked up some things we wanted to see but all have Covid rules and regulations so we have to wait and see what is do-able. Strasbourg is known for the seat of the Council of Europe and the European Court of Human Rights.  Together with Brussels, it is also the seat of the European Parliament.  If you want to learn more about Europe, ( like the boys ) you can visit the European Parliament in Strasbourg. Again we have to see if we can. Wine lovers can also indulge themselves here as the wine route is a stone's throw away and there are many interesting places around wine to visit in Strasbourg itself. Well that suits me because I love a good glass red. 

Strasbourg has an attractive old center full of winding narrow streets, cozy terraces and bridges over the River. Those little bridges connect the different parts of the city.  One of the most popular attractions is a round trip around the city center, which is a bit on an island.  In the winter months, it is mainly the Christmas market that attracts many visitors to the city.  But also now its very busy. We have a great apartheden in the centre on themarketplace near the cathedral.

The French city of Strasbourg has many nice sights that are worth visiting, such as the old city center Grande Ile and the Strasbourg Cathedral.  There is even a light show, projected on the beautiful cathedral and we sat front row tonight. The picturesque town itself is very worthwhile.  You can clearly see the mix between German and French architectural styles here.  This is because Strasbourg has been in German and French hands several times.  Many local dishes and the atmosphere in Strasbourg and Alsace may feel German rather than typically French.  In any case, it makes it a unique piece of France.  Parliamentarians apparently felt the same way when the EU was founded. Several important European institutions are located in Strasbourg.  The reason they are located here is because the Benelux countries, France, Germany and Italy could not figure out where which EU institutions could be located.  Strasbourg was eventually proposed because, given its history, the acquisitions between Germany and France and the city's multilingualism, it seemed a good symbolic location for several EU institutions.  Strasbourg had to represent that the different countries could work together at European level and leave history behind.  We all know how it ended….

Also very important for MOI , very many shops and boutiques. We arrived at 7 pm so they were already closing but tomorrow i will certainly go there.

Grande Île is the historic city center of Strasbourg and was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1988.  The historic core of the city is, as it were, on an island surrounded by the River Ill.  Through the centuries long struggle it is this part of the city where you will find the typical (mostly German) architectural style, with winding streets and small bridges that take you to and from the island.  The Neustadt, which is roughly located around Grande ÎIe, is also a German legacy with again very recognizable German features and architectural styles and design.  All this makes Strasbourg city center unique and worth a visit. You see the facwork house style where the wood is combined with the concrete and the old windows with stained glass. 

The symbol of the city is the great Cathedral of Strasbourg (Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Strasbourg) which can be found in Grande Ill.  The Cathedral is regularly confused with the two-tiered Saint Paul's church found in the Neustadt, but the cathedral is easily recognized by its location and the fact that there is only one large tower.  In the beautiful cathedral there are numerous stained glass windows and sculptures and a gigantic organ hanging in the center of the cathedral.  There is also an astronomical clock from the Renaissance period with a mechanism from 1842 that is still in operation and with many moving elements impressive to see.  According to some, this makes this cathedral one of the most beautiful in France.  In addition, the tower of the Notre-Dame Cathedral can be climbed via the 332 steps to the viewing platform, which gives you a panoramic view of the city on a beautiful day. The astronomical clock and the cathedral are free to visit.  To climb the tower you have to pay € 5 for adults and € 3.50 for children. Its 31 degrees celcius so that might not be included in the plans. A boat trip however. Is on our wishlist. A cruise on the Ill should not be skipped when you are in Strasbourg.  It is not without reason one of the most popular activities in the city.  During the cruise you get to see Strasbourg from a different perspective. So thats the plan, but with the covid rules and the many french having a holiday in their own country we don’t know if we can go. We will see tomorrow.

The Cave historique des Hospices de Strasbourg, or the cellars under the Strasbourg hospital, is also on the wishlist. This has held some of Strasbourg's greatest secrets for centuries.  Today, these medieval cellars have been transformed into a wine museum, but the cellars have a long and sometimes lurid history.  In 1395, the cellars were built beneath the city's new hospital.  One of the reasons that the cellars were used as wine cellars was that people who ended up in the hospital did not always have money, but they did pay wine and thus paid for the costs of the hospital visit.  Over the centuries, the hospital collected some of the best wines from the region and even worked closely with the winemakers from the region to further improve the quality of the wine.  You can still view the 40 centuries old wine barrels and you will find one of the oldest wines in barrel in the world here.  Unfortunately you can no longer drink it, but the composition and smell is still that of a (good) wine.

We got a great tip from the reception and thats were we ate. Numerous dining options can be found in the center of Strasbourg.  During our visit to the city, we will visit some special places that maybe make a great blog.  Local dishes and wines are important to the people of Strasbourg and you will regularly find these dishes on the menu.  For example, the Tartes flambées (Flammekueche) is typical of this region and worth trying.  The Choucroute dish is also typical of this region and perfect for hearty eaters. Crepes and sorbets ...... ohh the diet is out the door!

See you tomorrow XO


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