One of the biggest appeal to life and travel in Europe is the proximity of the countries, in my case I convinced Bart to drive down to Strasbourg to meet my friends from my time in Peru. We chose Strasbourg as a meeting place for its strategic location. Located in the Alsace region of France, Strasbourg is perfectly located on the German/French border with easy access from Germany where my Peruvian friend is currently doing a chef gig, from Brussels my next stop and one of the french girls is originally from there and a local is always a great person to show you the insider tips and tricks.
We opted to drive through Germany and enjoy the no speed limit driving in most areas. We left home (25 mins from Amsterdam) at 11am and made it to Strasbourg at 5 pm with numerous stops to enjoy our sandwiches in the trunk of the car …how fun!! Alex and Claire also drove from Marseilles and we therefore all met at about 8 pm and didn’t do much that evening besides enjoying some Tarte Flambée (Flammkuche ) and Pinot Noir. Being at the border of France and Germany the architecture, food, culture, accents is a good mix of French and Germany.
Saturday was the only full day we had hence the title “what to do in 24 hours”. Our day started in a very French way sipping some coffee and pain au chocolat and reminiscing lovely days of our time Peru. As I mentioned about Dutch summers in my previous post, I am starting to believe its a European summer trend since it was grey and overcast with some rain showers the entire time we were in Strasourg. The weather forecast had said we would have lovely sunny days and so Bart had only packed shorts and Tee’s. With the crisp air and persisting drizzle he figured he needed a jacket , little did he know saying lets pop into a store to get a jacket with girls meant a full on shopping spree’ with almost all stores being on Sale we definitely indulged in some impromptu shopping before really starting the day.
Back on track here is what to do when in Strasbourg for 24 hours.
- Stroll the city
Strasbourg is a very walking friendly city making it best explored on foot. On the list of the many things I love about European streets is the joy one gets walking in the streets enjoying the little pleasures of life. The Strasbourg streets were calm and and a joy to walk to with Place Kléber the best place to seat and let you mind wander. The overcast weather however did not take away from the architecture of the one-hundred-year old Galeries Lafayette building and the newly rebuilt Printemps.
- Explore the Cathedral
The Gothic architecture of the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Strasbourg is impossible to miss, as it towers over the city center. I had had a glimpse of it shinning in the moonlight the night before and was eager to see this building that was once the tallest building in the world back in 1647 – 1874. It stands at 466 feet and has 320 steps to get to the city viewing deck. the steps are narrow and winding and could get a little claustrophobic. the viewing deck offers great views of the city and the black forest.
On the way back the view of the city gave me a vibe of what Prague looks in my mind. I have never been there but in my head it looks like this. hahaha The cathedral is intense and goth from the outside and glass stained and a rich collection including the astronomical clock. It is the third clock on that spot and dates from the time of the first French possession of the city (1681–1870)
- Le Petit France
This was obviously my favorite part of the city. it was one of those walks that involved more mouth agape expressions and less walks. The UNESCO world heritage site of Grande Île is a cobbled stoned historical center known for its medieval black and white timber-framed buildings, old tanning-houses, baroque sandstone buildings, ancient canals and river locks, it is the ideal place for dreamy walks with the right company.
- Wine and Dine
When you think of France, what foods do you think of, personally I think of Coq au vin, baguettes and loads crepes all of which ae super delicious but this time being the Alsace region we decided to take it a notch deeper with exploring typical dishes from the region.
My favorite dish was Flammekueche or tarte flambée. It looks like a pizza, it cooks like a pizza, but its definitely not pizza. It’s an Alsatian flatbread topped with fromage blanc (a fresh, tart, spreadable cheese), thinly sliced raw onions and bacon. its a French German baby that is so delicious served with a glass of pinot noir.
Next stop was Restaurant La Corde à Linge for some Spaetzle and Munster cheese. Spaetzle are a kind of soft egg noodle found in the cuisines of southern Germany and Austria, Switzerland, Hungary, Alsace, Moselle and South Tyrol. It’s not the most appealing dish to plate but it is heaven in the mouth. Served with Munster cheese which is a strong tasting, soft cheese that is not everyone’s cup of tea but one worth trying.
- Enjoy an underground club
Re-living the good times from the day of Peru we had to have an evening of Latin reggaeton, so the night started with some good ol’ home cooking from Kevin with some Picon beer for the added Alsace flavour. We then danced away to all our Peruvian days reggaeton as the night fell. With all the overdose of great happiness we decided to go to an underground club where all the drama around dressing up and being posh crap is off the window. We danced away till the morning and slept all morning before leaving for Brussels.
Did I miss out on anything? yes sure I would have loved to stroll in the Parc de l’Orangerie and visit the Musée Alsacien but oh well I had a really great time.