Switzerland was amazing, but all good things have to end eventually. We eased our way back into reality by travelling through the Alsace region of France, and stopping for a day and night in the lovely city of Strasbourg. It was my first time in France, and I was really excited about getting a view of such a famous culture!
The strangest thing was… it wasn’t that strange! Because Strasbourg is so close to the German border, a lot of German culture has influenced the area. So even though we did get macarons at a macaron shop, there was a place selling bratwurst right next door!
We spent the night in a wonderful AirBnB constructed in the typical half-timbered style – a really neat building with windows overlooking the cobbled street below. As we sat that evening with the windows open to catch the elusive breeze, we heard snippets of conversation, someone practicing a piano, and the occasional bike-bell drift up on the warm air.
We had procured dinner from a grocery store outside of Interlaken before we left Switzerland, so we laid out our cheese and bread, and munched on it while we played board games. Tony had bought us a bottle of wine, but we came into difficulties when we realized we had nothing to open it with! Our search of the house proved fruitless (seriously – wouldn’t you expect a french guy to have a wine opener in the house?) so Aaron volunteered to take up the street to see if someone at the nearby restaurant could open it. He returned in triumph a few minutes later with the wine uncorked. We sipped it out of plastic cups, alas. Any true Frenchman looking in would probably have been disgusted by such barbarism.
We didn’t have much time there, but we certainly tried to use it well! We visited the neat cathedral that dominates the skyline with its lace-like spire and astronomical clock, and wandered the streets until we found the quaint historic quarter – La Petite France.
We saw the large stone bridge, the beautiful river and canals, and even got to glimpse a half-timbered house either being constructed or restored. Either way, it gave us a neat glimpse into how the building process worked.
Here, more than in any other area of the city, we felt at last as though we really were in France. Bakeries and crepe shops, nice menswear stores, and people passing us holding baguettes – everything deliciously stereotypical.
We ended our time with a crepe outside of a little creperie in La Petite France and considered our trip well worth it for the crepes alone.
It was our first taste of France, and it was lovely.