Leaving Joigny...8:33 am.
Arriving in Strasbourg...2:45 pm.
Strasbourg has a great public transportation system...with above ground trams. We took a tram and then walked several blocks to our hotel.
We had a very nice hotel, with two 4-person "apartments" that had kitchenettes, bathrooms and two rooms with beds. It was a very nice set up...no more hostels for us!
While Kerry and the kids decompressed for an hour at the hotel, James and I went for a walk. Turns out, the most amazing park was less than a block from our hotel (the Orangerie). It had a beautiful lake, large expanses of lawn, multiple areas for kids to play, bridges and pathways and just great places to explore. James and I enjoyed an hour of quiet by ourselves.
Then, we headed back to the hotel and rounded up the troops. We had dinner reservations at 7:30 and wanted to do a little sight seeing beforehand. The girls dressed for dinner!
In front of the St. Pierre le Jeune Church
(which I originally thought was the Cathedral...silly me).
Then we found the real Cathedral...oh my!
The Cathedral Notre Dame is one of the most important monuments dating from the Middle Ages (built between the 11th century and the 15th century). It's 466 ft high spire was completed in 1439. It remained the highest in Western Europe until the 19th century. The church is absolutely exquisite. We spent a bit of time sitting at an outdoor cafe and watching the church change colors as clouds moved over the sun and as the sun started to set.
Kerry and the kids went to the top of the church's platform and got some great photos.
Walking up the 362 stairs!
Still walking up!
Bird's eye view of the square below.
Soon, it was time for our reservation here:
Caveau Gurtlerhoft...a restaurant in a cave!
Can't wait to eat!
We all ordered from the Specials menu. Ethan and Lukas started with the meats salads, Katie and Katey had the Salad with cheese and sausage, Megan had the Onion pie, James had the Foie Gras and Kerry and I had Mushrooms and Cream in Puff Pastry.
Salad with cheese and sausage
Flammekuche...which we all started with...like a very thin pizza crust with cottage cheese, cream cheese, bacon & onions. Yum, yum!
Mushrooms in puff pastry.
Foie Gras...it was amazing.
Then for dinner, all the kids had the Chicken in Riesling wine sauce with spaetzle. Kerry and I had the Veal in cream sauce and James had the Sauerkraut Gurtlerhoft with 5 kinds of meat.
Chicken in Riesling sauce
Veal in mushroom cream sauce
Sauerkraut and 5 kinds of meat (with a couple of meats already eaten...oops!)
Flammekuche with apples and cinnamon
Poor James ordered this thinking it was going to be the flaming dessert he saw at the next table over...no such luck...but it was still good. We also had a wonderful bottle of wine from the region (Alsace)! The meal for James, Kerry and I was wonderful! The kids' were hit and miss...all having something they liked for the most part, but none of them liked every one of their courses. But, you gotta give it to them for trying everything. All of them are now quite enamored of foie gras (except for Katie), much to James' dismay!
After dinner, we took a river cruise to see the sights. It was great to see the city after dark from the water. We got to see all the significant sights and didn't have to walk at all! The next day, we did more sight seeing and shopping. We also had lunch here because we wanted to see what Mexican food was like in France/Germany:
I warned everyone it wasn't going to be like it is at home.
Margaritas and guacamole and chips
Quesedilla made with nacho cheese, emmenthal & some other kind of runny white cheese
Chicken quesedilla...pretty good
Beef burrito, looks like it could be good...unfortunately, not so good
So we tried Mexican food in France...had to do it...wouldn't do it again! Oh well...live and learn.
We all loved Strasbourg so much, that we tried to extend our stay. Unfortunately, our hotel was booked, so we could only stay one night. James and I are considering our next home exchange in Strasbourg...it was that good!
Our trip was great and there were no mishaps...at least not until we got back into Paris. For those of you with a weak stomach...you should stop reading right here. But, in the interest of full disclosure...I feel that I need to share this next experience. We were transferring from one metro train to another at the Chatelet station. Walking down two long flights of stairs. As we turned the corner, there was a man squatting on the stairs. We all thought he was asking for money, but as we passed him, we discovered, much to our horror, that he was relieving/evacuating himself, with his pants pulled completely down. Unfortunately for all of us, this is an image that will be forever burned into our memories. I think it was fairly traumatizing for the girls and Lukas (I know it was for me). Ethan, who was struggling with a large suitcase happened to miss it (for which I am eternally grateful). I, seeing this as a teaching moment, told the kids that this is why you don't want to do drugs. Drugs make you not care so much that you're willing to take a dump in a metro stairwell! So much for an uneventful trip! There always has to be a story!!!!