Alsace

Strasbourg, France

There are some people who live in a dream world, and there are some who face reality; and then there are those who turn one into the other.
~Erasmus

It comes as no surprise that I have a special love affair with France.  It holds a place in my heart.  I love the people, the culture, the food.  Having travelled to various regions, France offers and array of different experiences.  I have travelled there over a dozen times, and each time I go it is completely different.  My most recent trip explored the region of Alsace.  It is bordered by Germany and therefore has a heavy German influence.  Luckily, Germany is a close second favourite for me and so when I visited the capital of the region, Strasbourg, it did not disappoint.

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What makes Strasbourg so special?  To start, it houses the University of Strasbourg dating back to 1538, known and respected internationally and with graduates  including Albert Schweitzer and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Strasbourg houses the European Parliament which is essentially the headquarters of the European Union.  It has even won awards for how clean and green it is, and it is true, I did not see any garbage at all on my visit.

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Not only is the city well-known globally, it includes a UNESCO site also.  The old, historic centre is charming and a complete contrast to the modern part and all within walking distance.  A boat tour is a fun way to see the areas of the city but I highly recommend exploring on foot as well.

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Of course, you can’t visit Europe without admiring the architecture and art of the religious buildings.  The Strasbourg Cathedral is breathtaking and made of sandstone that gives it a pink glow.  During my visit they were celebrating its anniversary and had light art displayed in the evenings.  Moreover, it is clear the German influences in the structures and stained glass.  Once you reach German-inspired structures, you see a respect for precision, and time.  Inside one must see the astronomical clock to really get a feel for the importance of not only time, but also of the importance of learning and exploration.

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Finally, I can not neglect to mention the food.  No doubt that French food is exquisite and the food in Strasbourg is the same.  Classic, full-flavoured but with a German twist.  I got to try fresh spaetzle and salads with smoked, cured meats, delicious sauces, and schnitzel.  I hope to be able to return one day.

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