Our main reason for visiting Strasbourg on this whirlwind trip, was because Bryant had spent a semester studying abroad there in college. He really wanted to show Shannon and I was excited to finally visit France! The next morning, we started out on the tram through the city towards the location of his old apartment and school. On the way, we stopped by a supermarket by the apartments to grab a couple things for breakfast. I, of course, just *had* to get a real French baguette. My dad and sister never would have forgiven me, otherwise. It was delicious. We also made a pit-stop so that I could send out the first round of postcards I had written. Then we made our way from the apartment to some of his old classrooms. We were able to pop in to the building for a minute, which was huge, but we did not stay long. After all, we only had one full day to see everything in Strasbourg. More importantly, we stopped in a local park and had a full-on photo shoot among the greenery.
It was only mid-morning by the time we finished, so we hopped back on the tram to do some tourist-y stuff. We got off at Place De La Republique and took a turn around the grounds. There were some beautiful buildings, my particular favorite being the giant library. It was a lovely, circular, peaceful spot. Then our stomachs began rumbling, the three of us walked in the direction of the cathedral to find a good lunch spot. It took a minute, but the place that caught our eye was on a side street off of the cathedral square. Shannon was craving pasta, so we got pasta. The menu looked reasonably priced, given the location, and it was Italian food with the French names, so I was sold. It was a beautiful day, so we sat outside and enjoyed the aesthetic of French streets.
After lunch, we did a little souvenir shopping and stopped back at the hotel to drop everything off and rest for a minute, like true Europeans. Then it was time for the main event. The one I had been most apprehensive about. Climbing the Cathedral. I really worked up a sweat, climbing up all those stairs, and had a couple of mini-panic attacks for good measure. But I’ve never let my fear of heights stop me so far. The view from the top was incredible – it was the perfect time of day to enjoy the view of the entire city. The sun was casting a hazy glow over everything, really giving France that romantic look. Once the three of us had enough pictures (we can never have enough pictures) it was time to trek back down. This time on a different staircase. I actually believe I had more panic attacks on the way down than up. It was very stressful, but clearly, I survived. Just like Gloria Gaynor.
To reward ourselves for our hard work, we got gelato. My choice was chocolate, with a scoop of stracciatella on top. A classic combo. I forget what Bryant and Shannon got, but this is my blog, so only my choice matters. We enjoyed them in the shadow of the cathedral and then began a photo-shoot-walk throughout the streets of Strasbourg. Stopping at every beautiful building, courtyard, planter, etc. to take lovely pictures. Too many for me to add in this post. Towards the end of our walk, we came upon a bridge, a building-type bridge, where we could climb up to the roof and take even more beautiful pictures. This quickly became my favorite spot in all of Strasbourg. It had a great view of the city, but an especially good view of one of the most beautiful houses I have ever seen. The three of us stayed up there for a little bit, and then went back to the hotel to relax before dinner.
We hung out in our hotel room for a about an hour, basically just waiting until the socially acceptable French time to go have dinner… Although the sun was still up, so I feel like we failed. Our dinner selection had been decided on our walk that afternoon – we had passed by a grouping of restaurants right on the river, with a view of that utterly breathtaking home. As it was for dinner in France, we decided to splurge a little which meant steaks for Shannon and I. With garlic butter. Too much goodness. It was absolutely my favorite meal of the trip… But I was so hungry at the time I forgot to be a true millennial and take a picture of my food before digging in. Whoops! As you can probably guess, we were not able to truly assimilate to the French… The three of us were up and moving again as soon as the bill was paid. It was time for one last walk through the city.
We wanted to get one last nighttime look at the cathedral so we took a roundabout way back there. On the way, Bryant and I realized we were still hungry, so he stopped and got a classic kebab for him and Shannon to share. Shortly after, I popped in to a Roman pizza shop to grab a slice of pizza bianca! Guys, I was truly living my best Italian life in France. Not even including the fact that every time someone said something to me in French, my first instinct was to respond in Italian. Close enough, right? We continued to eat as we walked in the direction of the cathedral, still showered in purple light. The cellist was back again, and this time we had some loose francs to give him. Worth it.
After just soaking in the beauty of the music and cathedral for the last time, Bryant, Shannon and I slowly walked back to rest up for the next day of travelling and walking. Lots and lots of walking. France and Switzerland had been pretty good to us. Both inspiring my eventual return there. I WILL BE BACK.