Sunday, August 14, 2022

Crossing the Border


After nine days in Munich, we left the city for our mini road trip during which we crossed into several European countries. Our first destination was Alsace where we planned to spend a few days. On our way there we decided to stop for lunch in Tübingen, my old stomping grounds.

I moved to Tübingen after I had graduated from high school in order to study at the university. Tübingen is a mediaval town with narrow alleys and hidden corners, all of which I got to know and love so well during the 22 years I lived there. I was very lucky that pretty soon after graduating with a master's degree I found a job in a town nearby. I commuted for many years because I simply didn't want to leave Tübingen. Coming back after so many years to a town that will always have a special place in my heart was a bit weird - and interesting. The routing of streets was as odd as it was more than 20 years ago and thus felt very familiar. Some well-loved pubs and restaurants weren't there any longer; in their place I saw modern shops that no one seemd to visit. One of the restaurants where I used to spend many lovely times was still operating and this is where we had our lunch.

Through the Black Forest we made it to Strasbourg where we first checked in our hotel that we had booked some time during the day and then took the tram to the city center. Other than in Munich where almost everyone wore masks in public transportation, France behaved like there never was a pandemic. Only a couple other people and ourselves were the only ones who wore masks in the rather crowded tram. Clearly, no one cared about COVID anymore. My daughter - the budding epidemiologist - was not impressed.

The famous cathedral is visible from almost everywhere.

Strasbourg, located right on the border between Germany and France, is a cosmopolitan city through and through. It is the largest city of the Grand Est region of Eastern France and the official seat of the European Parliament. The most attractive part of course is the historic city center, the Grande Île (Large Island), which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As the name suggests, it is an island that is surrounded by the main channel of the Ill River on one side and by the Canal du Faux-Rempart on the other side. Strasbourg lies on the Rhine which is the bordering river between France and Germany.

We spent most of the evening on the Grande Île, wandering along the streets and narrow alleys. It was a warm evening and many people were out and about. 

The Cathédrale Notre Dame de Strasbourg or Strasbourg Minster is an impressive old building of outstanding Gothic architecture. The cathedral is the sixth-tallest church in the world (the tallest one is the Minster in Ulm, Germany) with just one octagonal tower instead of the originally envisioned two spires. Here is the west front with its spectacular rose window and gallery of the apostles:

The Place de la Cathédrale was busy with restaurants getting ready to welcome dinner guests.

We weren't ready for dinner yet, but preferred to walk around a bit more, looking for the famous "La Petite France", probably the most touristy spot in the city, but beautiful.

I enjoyed looking at the old houses and finding pretty little nooks and niches (the pots on the balcony are of the famous Betschdorf pottery industry).

Or weird shop window displays... (I couldn't resist taking this picture!)

We eventually had dinner and just enjoyed the lively atmosphere before we headed back to the hotel. It had been a long day.

The next morning we found a little street café where we had an excellent breakfast with wonderful coffee and very tasty bread, butter and homemade jam. This is my ticket for T Tuesday that Elizabeth is hosting every week. After that breakfast we headed further into Alsace (more posts to come).



Valerie-Jael said...

Sounds like a wonderful trip down memeory Lane. It's alwas good to revisit places and see how they have changed - or not - in the course of time. Happy T Day, hugs, Valerie

Jeanie said...

This trip -- and all your photos from it -- are simply extraordinary. What beautiful towns. Your college town looks like something I'd see in a fairy tale and it must have been fun to return for a visit. I loved the gargoyles and signs. That cathedral -- stunning. Your photos... Just wow.

Elephant's Child said...

Wow, wow and wow again. Thank you (so much) for sharing some of the wonder and beauty.

David M. Gascoigne, said...

Just looking at that bread, Carola, I know it tasted perfect! There is nothing quite like good, let me repeat GOOD, bread freshly made. The whole area looks absolutely fascinating. I bet you could have stayed longer and to have been able to revisit your life as a young woman just embarking on a career must have made it very special. To share it with your daughter was the icing on the cake. I think that everyone reading this account will get to the end with more than a touch of envy. I know I did.

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

I wrote a long comment and got a WHOOPS and a broken file. I'll try to remember what I wrote.

They say you can never go home again, but it looks like you went to a favorite place that held so many wonderful memories. Sounds like Tubingen holds many memories, some rather sad, like modern shops nobody visited.

I would love to see the Black Forest, but not on public transit. Your description of people on public transit sounds like how we in Wichita treat Covid. At the PBS ribbon cutting ceremony I was the only person wearing a mask.

That's a lovely cathedral in Strasbourg. I loved seeing photos of the beauty of the city and the spire in the background. It certainly was impressive and I enjoyed reading about it.

Those pots on the balcony reminded me of Blue Delft. I loved the price tag in the mouth of that character.

How nice to finish your blog post with breakfast that included juice and cappuccino. LOVE the look of that bread.

Thanks for sharing this leg of your trip and your breakfast drinks with us for T this almost Tuesday, dear Carola.

Iris Flavia said...

Oh. That is very bitter sweet!
Loved pubs to modern shops no one goes to. I expect the same in Perth, I already know of one. Last time it was gone and I don´t even remember what replaced it.
But big yay for the one you found still being there! :-)

Oh, beautiful pic of the relaxing guys by the Rhine! This is the life! No fancy stuff, just summer and water.

Impressive architecture. Funny enough when studying we only went at "new stuff".

The price tag!!! LOL. Like the Jewish Golah (?) whom you feed with wishes written on paper (The Simpsons episode).

Beautiful night pic and a happy T-Day.
Great journey so far, I hope there is more to come!

nwilliams6 said...

Amazing. You make me want to go even more than I already do. My well-travelled husband says this is the most beautiful area of the world. The buildings, the river, the history, the coffee and bread - everything looks totally amazing. So glad I got to see all this - thanks for sharing, Carola! Happy T-day and hugz

CJ Kennedy said...

All your photographs look like postcards. My favorite is the gargoyle. He'd make a wonderful addition to the Zensical garden. Happy T Day

Empire of the Cat said...

Great photos! I love Strasbourg, when I lived in Germany we went there on the weekend for days out, very beautiful. That bread looks so good too. Happy T Day! Elle/EOTC xx

Divers and Sundry said...

Lovely! How wonderful to be able to spend time here again, even though some of the spots have closed. Your trip is making the perfect virtual wander for me this morning :) Happy T Tuesday!

Let's Art Journal said...

Wow, isn't the architecture stunning! I loved seeing all the sights, it's such a beautiful place 😊. Your breakfast looks so yummy too, that coffee is a work of art! Happy T Day wishes! Hugs Jo x

pam nash said...

Thank you for sharing with us. I love seeing these places I will never be able to visit.

Rostrose said...

Tübingen sieht so hübsch aus, liebe Carola! Wie schön, dass du dort noch ein Restaurant vorgefunden hast, das du von früher kanntest.
Im Elsass ist es auch so schön - wie waren 2010 dort, u.a. auch im Strassburg - wirklich eine traumhafte Stadt mit so viel Flair, so viel Geschichte. Dort möchte ich gern nochmal hin!
Herzliche rostrosige Grüße

Sharon Madson said...

Breakfast looks yummy. I am a bread lover! Anything bread! LOL Thank you for sharing these lovely photos. Happy T Day!

jinxxxygirl said...

Carola i adore your pictures of your travel. Thank you so much for them.. Hubby and i will no doubt never return to Germany (unless we win the Lottery lol) So its been a wonderful trip down memory lane.. I once lit a candle in Notre Dame.. I may try to draw one or two of those houses.. Happy Tday!! Hugs! deb

Lisca said...

What a lovely trip. Thank you for taking me there with your beautiful photos. I have never been to Tübingen or Strasbourg. Both are really wonderful. Such old buildings and such a lovely atmosphere, it all makes a visit unforgettable.
How very special that you could go to your old stomping ground. I know what that feels like. I lived for 20 years in a small Italian town. With city walls and very small streets and alleys. I have been back recently and it is full of tourists and like you observed, the shops and bars mostly have changed or are no longer there. Ah, the good old days....
Happy T-Day,

DVArtist said...

I am thrilled that you are sharing so much of your trip. I would not be able to see any of this otherwise. Have a lovely evening.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

This was so interesting Carola. A wonderful road trip! You can get from one country to another as quickly as we can get from one one state border to the next here. And I love knowing about that. (Sadly, our time spent in Europe was so brief and we did not have our car.) I was sorry to know that France was ignoring Covid precautions. One of our grandsons and his wife now live in Munich and when I started reading your post I thought I would forward this post to him (they have been doing a lot of camping and road-trips in Germany, but I don't think yet they have crossed the border.) Now I think maybe they should wait a while. (Not that they would ask me of course, but I wouldn't want to recommend it!)

Veronica Lee said...

I absolutely enjoyed these stunning photos from your trip.

Germany is a beautiful country.

Hugs and blessings, Carola.