Whenever we’re road-tripping from Point A to Point B we like to check out what we might see along the way. When Point A is Paris, France and Point B is Garmisch, Germany the trip could very possibly take more than the 9 hours and 8 minutes that Google Maps says it will take because there is a lot to see. (This is especially true when you leave Point A at 1 o’clock in the afternoon after running 10 miles.) All in all the trip took us about 16 hours because we spent the night in lovely Strasbourg, France. If we didn’t have to be in Garmisch by 7pm I could have stayed for days.
Why Strasbourg? I’d heard it was nice and it was about halfway. It was quite beautiful and we’d love to go back again! Right after a bike ride for Jeremy and a lovely French breakfast we headed for a brisk walk around the historic district, including Petit France.
We were on a tight schedule so we didn’t get to take a boat tour but we did see a canal in action!
Since I grew up near the Erie Canal I think that understanding the engineering and mechanism of a canal lock is essential cultural literacy! Okay, maybe I won’t go quite that far, but I do think it is cool. I will refrain from explaining it all in this blog but you can get the whole scoop here. Or just visit Explore & More in East Aurora, NY and check out the hands-on, functional, waterless model of a canal that they have – or at least they did have once – I haven’t been there in a while.
It took about 15 minutes for the boat to move through the lock. All the while I was staring at this green and brown house and I was overcome with a craving for mint chocolate chip ice cream. Too bad there weren’t any ice cream shops open at 9am.
Even though we didn’t stop to play at the playground (I did say it was a quick visit) the boys indulged my requests for photos and smiles. We were in such a hurry the photo is blurry.
Strasbourg is in the Alsace region of France, right on the German border, so the style is German and French and maybe a little Swiss mixed in also.
Here is a famous resident of Strasbourg: Johannes Gutenberg. He created his printing press while living in Strasbourg.
It was too early to do too much shopping – except for this store. Ever since I read this post I’ve wanted to visit this store but I have shied away from dragging my family there because I’m a bit outnumbered. I was so excited to see that La Droguerie has locations all over France (and even in Japan!) Photographs are not allowed inside but trust me when I say this is a crafty girl’s dream. Fabric, yarn, beads, buttons, patterns, ribbon…yes, please!
What else is there to see in nearly every European city? A cathedral, of course! Here’s what is unique about this one: It is made of pinkish sandstone, and it is constantly being renovated. (Apparently Strasbourg has some of the most polluted air in France and all that smog does a number on the building.) We learned that there are several dozen craftsmen and apprentices who seek out sandstone pieces that match the sandstone used in the cathedral, and are working to keep the building in tip-top condition.
There’s also an archeological dig going on just outside the chapel. I wonder if they’ve found anything interesting.
The cathedral was built in the late-Gothic style so there are plenty of similarities to other Cathedrals we’ve seen but it is still beautiful in its own right.
Here’s the interior view. I could probably get better photos in low-light settings like these if I brought a tripod, but since they are not usually allowed in cathedrals just don’t enlarge this photo and maybe no one will notice that it’s blurry.
This is a sculpture called “Christ on the Mount of Olives.” Someone is either big on conserving electricity or smart about money management, because we had to put 20 cents into a machine to make the lights go on. No kidding!
This is called the Pillar of Angels. Someone had already put 20 cents in for these lights so I got to take this photo for free.
This clock is what the cathedral is most famous for. It was quite advanced for it’s time and it keeps not only time but dates, including leap years and equinoxes, as well as moon phases, planetary motion, and solar time. Apparently it could determine the date for Easter which is pretty remarkable considering that the date for Easter is “the Sunday that follows the fourteenth day of the moon that falls on March 21 or immediately after.” If we had stayed until 12:30 we would have seen figures parade around. They are automatons, just like in the movie Hugo! Ah, next time – along with a boat ride, more shopping, another visit La Droguerie, a stop at the Art Deco museum, a visit to the European Union headquarters, a search for some storks…I think we’ll need at least a week.
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