Strasbourg: is it France, or Germany?

Jun 3, 2010 by glennji

We’re in Strasbourg, on the Franco-Deutsch border!

We caught our morning train from Paris without issue, taking le Metro to Gare de l’Est on the free tickets Martin and Helen left us (thanks guys) with plenty of time. Dee even (somehow) found le livre etranger section of the train station bookshop and picked up some reading material — despite leaving the travel guides with Dayna I still somehow have four books with me!

Initial impressions of Strasbourg, and our hotel, were … dim. I’d packed a picnic lunch, but ate too early and the train ran late, so we were both getting a little hungry when we pulled into the (admittedly impressive) Strasbourg central station. We hiked across town with our packs and checked into the (basic, small, clean) hotel — more a hostel, really, and we were both deflated when we saw it (clean, small, basic). We headed out to find a snack, and ended up at a back-street bar because the tourists were everywhere!

After food, we explored the more scenic parts of Strasbourg. Amazing what a little blood-sugar can do for you! It is such a cute little town, tourists or no, and we wandered over bridges and along cobblestoned paths and generally just introduced ourselves to the place. Suitably oriented, we grabbed a map from the centre de tourisme and mapped out tomorrow’s explorations over a glass of Bordeaux.

As the sun slowly set (it’s still setting at 20 to 10 at night) we found a friendly looking Chinese buffet restaurant and relaxed with as much zhongguoren food as we could manage (not much, turns out, but still worthwhile — it cost as much as breakfast at the hotel in Paris, for which I had a bowl of cornflakes, cup of coffee and a hard-boiled egg). We got to speaking to the owner/manager, a Hong-Kong native (just don’t call him “Honky”) who was full of advice about where to visit in China. I suspect he was as happy to speak to someone in English as we were.

Now back at our (small, clean, basic) room, with wifi token in hand, I’m going to read up on the history of Strasbourg — it has changed hands so many times over the last six centuries that the locals are more likely to speak French and German than English, and one statue commemorates the Strasbourg mother who had to bury two sons: one killed defending France from Germany, the other Germany from the French.

Anyway, find more photos of Strasbourg on Flickr, as always.

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