Easter Weekend 2013, Part One: Strasbourg, France

The Friday and Monday surrounding Easter weekend this year were public holidays in Bavaria.  Since I had a long weekend, I decided to do a whirlwind tour through Strasbourg France, Freiburg Germany, Zurich Switzerland, and the Rhine Falls near the Swiss-German border.  I’m going to write about them one at a time, though.  First up, Strasbourg!

I’ve been trying to perfect the art of packing light for my travels, and I think I did very well on this trip.  For a four day, nine train journey to all of the aforementioned places, this was my entire pack, including my DSLR.

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I arrived in Strasbourg around 9pm, and made my way to the hotel first to drop off my belongings.  I stayed at the Hotel Cathedrale, and was quite surprised when I arrived to see just how close the hotel was to the Cathédrale Notre Dame.  The entrance to the hotel is just across a courtyard from the Cathedrale, which made my sightseeing the next day quite easy to plan.  Since I arrived into town quite late, I grabbed a quick dinner at The Dubliner’s Irish Pub, a few blocks from the hotel.  I saw the pub on my walk to the hotel, and while I wasn’t in the mood to try local cuisine right away, I know I can always count on tasty food in an Irish pub.  Plus, this is a great way to start the holiday weekend:

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Walking back to the hotel from the pub, I snapped this picture.  The entranceway to the Cathedrale is just like one of the large churches I saw in Barcelona, very typical of the time period in which it was constructed.

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The hotel also had a variety of gargoyles around the elevators and stairways, to watch over you and protect you while you slept.  I slept very well.

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The next morning, I had the hotel breakfast (not bad), and walked out to find the nearest tram station.  From there, I went back to the main train station, because it has an amazing glass dome in front, and I wanted to get a picture.

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From there, I made my way back into the center of town, partially by tram and partially on foot.  You can see the tram in the background of this picture of a rather pretty town square.

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This building was on my path back to the center of town, and I was utterly fascinated by the giant barrel in front.

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After my walk back toward the hotel, I finally went into the Cathedrale.    It’s enormous-  you can get a sense of scale from the people in this photograph.

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Inside, the arched roof is amazing.

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I’ve noticed memorials to fallen American soldiers in various places around Europe- it’s rather strange (but heartwarming) to see tributes to Americans in all these other random places.

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Inside the Cathedrale, there is an astrometric clock that was built in 1838.  There are various moving pieces  on the quarter and half hours.  At 12:30, there is a “procession of the Apostles” on the upper level, and the mechanical roosters even crow.  I’m really not sure how they reproduced the sound of a rooster using mechanical means in the 1800s, but it’s there.

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The upper level is Christ-  the Apostles move past him at 12:30.  The lower level shows mankind at different ages, walking past Death.  You can see the old man figure to the right of death in this photo.

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In the courtyard outside the Cathedrale, street artists try to get tourists to stop for a sketch.  I saw a lot of these on Charles Bridge in Prague, too.

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For a small fee, you can also climb up the 332 steps to the tower platform if you like to see things from tall places, which I really and truly do.  Here’s what the view is like on a mostly clear day:

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Climbing back down the other side, there are some nifty gargoyles keeping watch.  I especially liked this fellow:

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After the tower climb, I was good and hungry for some lunch.  I went back to a place I’d spotted earlier, La Crepe Gourmande, on a side street a short walk from the Cathedrale.  I had “Galette Paysanne,” which is a buckwheat crepe or pancake with onions and bacon inside.   Oh, and an egg on top.  It was delicious.

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After lunch, I took a boat tour on the river, in these glass topped tour boats.  The audio portion is available in many different languages, including English.  The tour goes through two locks, which is a fascinating experience if you like transportation technology as much as I do.  The tour went past the ARTE headquarters as well as the European parliament, neither of which are pictured here because I didn’t take very many pictures from the boat. I did get a few nice shots, though, and they follow this one.

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Also, since it was a sunny day a lot of people were out on the banks of the L’ill river.  People were reading, walking, holding hands, picnicking.  It was a nice day for that sort of thing.

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All that was left after my day of sightseeing in Strasbourg was a nice dinner- I went to Cafe Rohan near the Cathedrale, and had some local Alsace cuisine.  I had Baeckeoffe in a crock pot, which is a beef, lamb and pork stew cooked with potatoes and carrots.  It was delicious, and hearty-  I’m glad I didn’t skip the regional food entirely while I was in Alsace.

Have you ever been to Strasbourg?

14 thoughts on “Easter Weekend 2013, Part One: Strasbourg, France

      1. Heather

        Well if you enjoyed it, then I know a cafe in nürnberg you’d like too. I wrote about it recently and it’s one of my favorites around here. 🙂

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  1. Ooh, that crêpe looks so interesting! Is it just the yolk or did they also put the (raw) whites on top?

    I love Strasbourg. I have a French friend from college who lives there. I think the last time I visited was in 2009. Your pictures are great! I especially like the ones from the top of the cathedral looking down.

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    1. The raw whites were there also. It was quite tasty though. I actually didn’t register that the egg was raw until after I’d eaten and posted a picture of it to Facebook, and one of my friends asked if the egg was raw. LOL.

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  2. LOVE the gargoyles in the hotel!! I’ve been to Strasbourg a few times (it’s so easy from Karlsruhe!), but never been up on that viewing platform. I’m surprised my boyfriend has never dragged me up there – he always wants to climb to the top of stuff for a view! I’ve done the boat trip twice – once with my boyfriend and once with his parents.

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  3. Pingback: Easter Weekend 2013, Part Two: Freiburg, Germany | Doin' Time On The Donau

  4. Pingback: Easter Weekend 2013, Part Three: Zurich, Switzerland | Doin' Time On The Donau

  5. Pingback: Easter Weekend 2013, Part Four: The Rhine Falls | Doin' Time On The Donau

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