January 29, 2010

Our Last Day in France

It was a wonderful three days in France, but sadly, my birthday present to the "Alsace Region" came to an end this past November. But the party wasn't over yet!

Our trip back to Brussels on the 14th included a stop of a few hours in the beautiful city of Strasbourg. "Strasbourg" sits right on the border of France and Germany and is where the Alsace region begins. Which by the way is very evident by the typical architecture with the half timbered buildings and cobblestone streets.

I had been to Strasbourg once before in 1998 for a very brief moment. And I mean brief. My sister and her family and I arrived late at night while driving from Italy to return back to her place in Germany. We saw this massive church tower lit up and peering over the city. So we found a place to park and took a look. We were there for probably about only 30 minutes. I've always wanted to go back and explore this city, and that is why Stijn made sure that I would see Strasbourg again.

But we must first find a place to park! I have to share with you that I think sometimes Europe has so much more going on then the US when it comes to, let's say, convenience, organization, planning. There are these signs that tell you where parking is available and how many parking spots they have left! What a concept! So you are not blindly choosing a parking garage only to find out that it's full.

The main thing I want to see is that Cathedral! But I'll tell you this, you don't need a map to find your way there because you can see it from everywhere as it rises above Strasbourg some 466 feet. (142m).
We began our trek through the cobbled streets of "La Petite France". This is a picturesque neighborhood that looks like it came right out of a storybook with it's quaint buildings overlooking the Ill River.
As we walked over bridges it made me feel like I was in Venice again. We continued to walk along streets passing shops and bakeries. And then there it is....Cathedrale Notre Dame de Strasbourg. From here on out our heads are in a back tilt position.

This Cathedral is so magnificent with all of it's carvings, statuary, and stained glass windows. I will just tell you right now, that if you want to see more pictures of the details of this Cathedral you will certainly get your fill by going to "Where's Debbie". But here are a few pictures to entice you.

And as luck would have it, we were at the Cathedral to hear the bells ring at 12:00pm.

As we made our way around to the side of the Cathedral we got to see a live demonstration of a working farm as it would have been centuries ago.

It seems our day turns out to just be filled with little surprises. And I love surprises!! We need to start heading back to the car because we still have a long drive ahead of us back to Brussels. While on our way we discover our first surprise. An outdoor market! I just love these things. Full of vendors selling fresh fish, vegetables, fruits and crafts right along the river.

Well today seems to be the day for outdoor markets. Because we stumble upon yet another market. But this one is full of people selling antiques!!! Oh now I am in heaven! Do you have any idea how hard it was for me to leave behind these fabulous blue crock jugs?

Okay, let's eat! Since we had arrived in this region Stijn had been wanting me to try the "Flammenkucke". If you don't know me by now, I will tell you that I will try anything! We decide to have lunch at a little restaurant/pub called "Academie de la Biere" where they just happen to serve this flaky crust pizza like dish. Yes, this one is MINE!

I can't think of a better way to end my birthday surprise in the Alsace then with a birthday "Flammankucke". Sure beats a birthday cake!

If you would like to see more pictures of our time in Strasbourg just click here "Where's Debbie" and then click on the album "Brussels via Strasbourg".

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