24.08.2010 - 24.08.2010 20 °C
Today we woke up around 7:50 am or so. First night at the Strasbourg apartment. Marc came to pick up Margy and me last night when our train finally pulled in shortly after 11:00 pm. It would have been a tough struggle if he had not come to pick us and all our baggage up. Pardon me, my baggage, as predictably, I have shopped and shopped a lot. If the economy in France shows a great upswing in sales for the month of August, you can give me credit. I have been doing my best to stimulate the economy.
We had a nice leisurely breakfast. Marc had gone out to purchase a fresh baguette, some plain croissants as well as some filled with an almond paste or chocolate. All very yummy and I know it’s not true, but wouldn’t it be great if the calories in France were less than in Canada like metric to imperial? Good thing we walk tons.
We left the apartment and walked to where Margy works, the Council of Europe. On the way she pointed out the buildings as we passed them. It was very interesting to see the Parliament Buildings as the architecture is designed in such a way to make the building appear like it is not yet complete. This is to state the mandate that “Europe is a work in progress.” The building that Margy works in is also unique and interesting architecturally. There is a beautiful statue that sits in front of the Council of Europe which signifies unity, and says on it “Europe a Coeur” which means “holding Europe close to your heart”.
In the courtyard of the building sits large placards for each country that is part of the Council of Europe. The names of the countries are in that country’s language. For each country it also lists all the members for that country. In France all the members are voted in.
Got to see Margy’s office as well as some of the other rooms. It was a really sweet treat to finally see where she works. We went to the cafeteria that the staff utilizes and bought lunch. Quite the value at 6.90€ per person for a substantial lunch of fries, half a grilled tomato, courgettes (zucchini) with cheese and curried beef meatballs. Very good fare for cafeteria food. We left at about 1:30 pm.
We saw a piece of the Berlin wall which comprises of four sections. On it is written “Le duo d’enfer a encore frappé” which means “The devilish two have struck again”. This phrase may be recent graffiti or actually part of the original art on the Berlin Wall, which it is we are uncertain. It is now a permanent fixture on the lawn of the European Court of Human Rights, ECHR.
We then took the tram to get to downtown Strasbourg. We went the square where Strasbourg was liberated after World War 1. Went in and out of a few shops and also went to the Cathedrale Notre Dame. Another amazing church as the design of the exterior was equally as amazing as the interior. The stained glass, the ornate and detailed sculptures, the beautiful astronomical clock and the list goes on. By far one of the most beautiful churches as well.
We stopped for ice cream and apple pie and then continued our walk and walked along the canals and looked at all the beautiful flower window boxes.
Strasbourg again feels completely different than any other city in France that I have been to. She has her own personality as well. She is proud, very clean, has a strong sense of pride and what is right and wrong. The pride is visible in the way people carry themselves as well as how clean their streets are and the pride taken in keeping their businesses attractive. Some other cities could learn a few things from Strasbourg.
We went to the mall as Marc had an errand to run and we went to the grocery store where supplies were purchased so that I could bake my chocolate chip cookies in Durstel. We go there tomorrow.
We got back to the apartment at just after 5 pm. I laid down on my air mattress and conked out within minutes. I was tired.
A colleague of Margy’s came to meet us at the apartment and she came to join us for dinner and the concert.
For dinner we went to La Scala restaurant located right next to the theatre we were going to tonite. I had a grilled whitefish similar to halibut but not as dense, along with sauerkraut which was too sour according to my dinner companions who are connoisseurs, and spaetzle. Fish was really good and I liked the spaetzle. Margy had a penne with pesto, Marc had chicken cordon munster and their friend had the foie gras with a salad. We downed our meals with a beer each.
We were going to a concert by a françcaise chanson by the name of Aelle. Concert was not quite what I expected as I had thought that it would be ballads more along the line of Edith Piaf. Aelle had a wide range of music and is very accomplished. Still really enjoyed myself as Aelle and her bandmates are very talented. She has an amazing guitarist and the violinist is no slouch either.
I ended up sitting in the front row and the others were right behind me in three seats. The lady on my left was a much older lady and was enjoying herself but kept falling asleep. The man on my right was acting like he was being punished as he kept covering his ears and acted as if he was pained. His wife must have made him attend.
After concert it was nearly 10 pm and back to the apartment and off to bed for another day tomorrow.