a little piece of France
December 29, 2006 3:24pm CST
Mrs. adventures - part 4: a little piece of france It was about 3 more weeks before we got to do any more travelling. originally, we were booked solid with one weekend in prague, 4 days in spain, and 5 days in venice and rome. everything fell through, and we were about to cancel our trip to strasbourg, france (to avoid a repeat of the amster-damned express) but decided on one last hoorah. unlike the other trip, this one began at 8 am. this tour guide seemed very promising; almost immediately after boarding the bus, he began to tell us all about our itinerary, some of the history of the city, and a couple of landmarks along the way there. after about 20 minutes of non-stop guiding, it seemed to become less about being helpful and informative and more about just liking to hear the sound of his voice. (he went on like that the whole way there. the whole 2 hours) strasbourg was originally a french city that was overtaken by the german and reclaimed by the french a couple of times, now finally french again. the inventor of the printing press lived there. (i'm drawing this mostly from memory and partly out of my a*s, so if it's wrong, just humor me) it sits along the south-western german border, across the rhine river. driving over the bridge, i noticed the change in signage. total european countries visited: 3. i've taken two semesters of french. i can swing it. well, my first impression of france was stepping off our tour bus at the bus terminal. we were dropped off by the public restrooms. in case you're ever in europe and need to heed the call, bring some pocket change with you. the service attendants expect a tip on their little plate; 50 cents (euro) will do. anyway, i stepped off the bus and, since neither of us needed to make use of the facilities, we stood outside and waited for the rest of our group. then the foulest odor came over me.[...like the inside of a fake leg] we were standing right in front of the*other* public restrooms, and i mean the four-legged public. it was stifling nasal assault to the fullest degree of yuck. i gagged and desperately searched for a current of fresh air. ASIDE~ now that i think about it, little molecules of any given stimuli trigger what we experience as "smell" and are taken in and processed by your body (via the ol' factory), so in a[scents], i ingested it. we gladly joined the rest of our group and started the tour. we walked through the narrow streets and over the canals. our guide pointed out some points of interest, i don't really remember, it must not have been that interesting. we saw the notre dame cathedral of alsace, which had a really cool astronomical clock with little figures that move around on it. then we broke for lunch. chris and i found this really nice restaurant called "le baeckeoffe d'alsace," which i only know from this souvenier toothpick book we were given. he had some some veal cordon bleu, i had some kind of potato dish served with cheese. they also gave us some yummy olives to snack on before our meal. immediately afterwards, we needed to get to the port alongside the canal to catch the tourboat. this tour consisted of about 75 people sitting on this open-air boat with headphones. did i mention it was hot that day? okay, well by now i had taken off my light sweater and was trying to convince chris that continuing to wear the same sweater he wore in cold, cold amsterdam was going to end badly. (and sweatily) i really should have nagged him about that*before* we left. so this hour long tour just took us all around the city by way of the lovely canal. i refused to listen to the audio tour and instead enjoyed the scenery and my music selection (my ipod chose a lot of stp for this trip). i don't feel like i was missing much. at one point, chris turned to me and told me about this nice little bridge we passed; apparently people were executed by being lowered into the canal in a cage and drowned to death. no thanks!