If we think of Strasbourg perhaps the first thought is something related to the European Union, and it is quite normal that we may have an image of a big city with skyscrapers and full of diplomats that move frenetically. At least this was the vision I had of the city, a totally biased image indeed.
Day 1 – Saturday evening
Strasbourg is accessible by air, land and sea. In our case we arrived by bus from Germany on a Saturday afternoon. The bus station is about 500 m from the center which allows a very fast first contact with the city while getting to the accomodation. Guiding our steps through the rue de la division Leclerc we slowly start percibing that characteristic French atmosphere: small shops with sideboards where the decorative detail is present in every corner, typical gastronomic products and bars with outside tables full of people drinking wine .
The famous Galeries Lafayette welcome us to the centrical Kleber square, today filled with stalls of second-hand goods, antiquiteis, books and vinyl records, old posters and even a comic of the Detective Conan in Castilian. It is worth walking around the different tables, and perhaps one finds a little treasure.
The day is coming to an end and as the sunlight is replaced by the urban streetlights a Strasbourg is disappearing to make way for a much more intimate and magical city.
Like a fortress (or an island depending how you look at it ), the historic center of the city (declared World Heritage by UNESCO in 1988) is surrounded by a tributary of the Rhine River, the natural border between France and Germany, called Ill. This has propiciated the construction of small bridges that go across the river at various points of the city and give it a special Venetian charm. If the weather is nice, you can stroll along the river in most of its route through the city while enjoying the light spectacle that takes place on the surface of the water.
Capital of the administrative region of Alsace, Strasbourg has always been witness to historical conflicts between the European powers, a fact that has led to a French-German very interesting mix, from Alsatian (variant of German with many influences of French) to the architecture, the design of many buildings reminds the old quarters of cities of western Germany.
At this point, it’s time for dinner and what better than discover Alsatian cuisine? By chance we find the Choucrouterie theater in the rue Saint-Louis, which also has a restaurant inside.
Intense golden and red hues, bright lamps of different colors, wooden furniture and cozy atmosphere. We opted for the star of the menu: sauerkraut Alsatian accompanied by Riesling white wine, also from the same region.
Be ready to receive a master plate with a generous spoonful of sauerkraut with boiled potatoes and pork with mustard. Sauerkraut is a typical dish of Central Europe which consists on a fermented cabbage prepared in a mixture of salt and water, among other ingredients, for two weeks in hot and two in cold temperature.
Afterwards, it is recomendable to walk around the river or discover the oldtown during the night, with the cathedral as its highlights. And next week second day in Strasbourg!
Rosa Mª Torrademé
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