White Wine and Black Forest 2021
October 3: Dull skies rained steadily as we detoured into Strasbourg. But serendipity! There we found the best food and best music of our trip to the Rhine region.
Yes, we are now in Egypt, and were inside the 4,750 year-old “bent pyramid” today. And yet I am writing about Alsace. I am trying to catch up! I will post on Cairo and the pyramids tomorrow, I hope.
Nix the Lux
While in the Rhineland, we had planned to visit Luxembourg for a couple of days. They, like most European countries, required proof of vaccination for entry, hotels, and restaurants. However, UNLIKE other EU members, Luxembourg, would not accept USA CDC cards as proof of covid vaccination. So, we canceled our stay, changed our route, and added Strasbourg and Heidelberg to our itinerary.
Strasbourg, a French city with a German name. We stayed in the “Petit France” area, crisscrossed with canals. These once carried barges to and from the Rhine; now only tourist boats. We wandered the cobblestone streets in the rain, admiring half-timbered restaurants and shops with flower boxes.
Strasbourg in the rain, it’s Strasbourg in the rain!
What a wonderful feeling, I’m happy again…
* To the tune of “Singing in the Rain”
The Notre Dame Cathedral in Strasbourg is a gothic wonder. The sandstone structure took over 400 years to build, and for 227 years was the tallest building on earth at 466-feet foot-to-spire. Yet, for all its mass, the tower lattice looks delicate, like the branches of an exotic tree.
The interior is just enormous, dark, and fascinating. Some of the stained glass is from the 1180s, over 800 years old. The grand organ has been in place since the 1260s. The 60-foot astrological clock is relatively new, installed in 1842.
Shortly after we entered, music. With what seemed a full symphony plus organ, the choir began practicing in the vaulted ambulatory behind the altar. Visitors hushed and slipped to the front of the side aisles to view and listen. Heavenly. Slightly better than the 11am choir I sing in at St. Peters in Charlotte when in town. Then again, they practice a bit more!
Hotel and Unexpectedly Excellent Dinner
Since this was a one-night stay, we used points to stay at the Marriott Maison Rough boutique hotel. It was lovely, and the hotel restaurant served the best food we’d had in a very long time. First, Tarte Flambé (very thin pizza topped with crème fraiche) with duck sausage, then pork slow-smoked over hay. It sounds strange, but the grassy-smokey flavor was phenomenal. We were definitely eating in France!
Running in the Rain
I collected an Alsace run, circling the canals in the mist the next morning. Cobblestones are a little hard on the knees, and were slippery in the rain, slowing my pace. A tour group looked at me like I was mad as I passed them on a narrow street. However, two other runners, out enjoying the cool, gave the “nod and wave.” They understood – it was a perfect day for a run.
If you are in the area, Strasbourg is a great base to explore the rest of Alsace as well. But it’s so lovely, you may not want to!