Saturday, 1 April 2017

Alsace Trip, 1 April

I went back to sleep after my alarm went off​, oh dear, so we were not very early setting off!  But once we had had breakfast and tidied up (so necessary, in such a small space), and I had been very clever indeed and managed to tether my Kindle to my phone to download a book I had bought that was published today, we were set for the day.
We walked into town the pretty way, via an oxbow lake, and our first port of call was the tourist office where we bought day tickets for public transport, and found out about sightseeing trips, which here are done by boat. To get into Strasbourg, at least until the end of this month, one gets a no 21 bus from outside the tourist office, and changes to the tram at the end of the line.  The tram is being extended out here, but won't be ready until the end of the month.
We arrived in the centre of Strasbourg and had a lovely walk around the old town, enjoying the sights, and then had lunch - traditional Flammekueche, with beer, and an ice to follow - before getting on our boat. The tour takes you right round the island on which the old town is built, and then out to the European quarter, where there are the Parliament buildings and the European Court of Human Rights.  You then return to your starting point. Thoroughly enjoyable, but not very comfortable, alas.
When we got off, we walked back to the nearest tram stop, and decided, just because we could, to take a tram back out to the European quarter, and then back to the main railway station, as we had been told it had been built while Alsace was a German city under Kaiser Wilhelm, and we wanted to see whether it was as overblown Gothic as Metz station is. Well, the European buildings were almost more impressive at street level, and we passed a load of Art Nouveau houses, which was apparently a Thing here back in the day.
The station was, indeed, a Gothic palace, but has a modern atrium built out the front, like Kings Cross, which spoils it slightly. However, we made use of the facilities and I bought some coconut water since I was really thirsty. I don't like it much, but it is very refreshing.
The tram back to Germany was in the basement of the station, which was rather fun, like a metro, and the next excitement was that the bus was stopped by the border police and our passports were checked!  Then we couldn't find the entrance to the shopping centre and walked all round it, and of course it was where I had said it was all along, but still. So we did some unexpected German shopping and then walked the hundreds of miles (it felt like) back to the motor home, where it was fortunately beer o'clock....

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