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Views of Strasbourg in 2011

Long weekend getaways series


There's not enough work at the moment to make it worth sitting around waiting for more to drop over the transom, so we're off for a four-day exercise in gawking at half-timbered buildings.

You may not find this terribly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.

Strasbourg -- the hike to the top

Passersby gazing up in astonishment at the platform at the top of the Cathedral. What must the world look like from up there?

But now it's time for the Saturday flea market in the Place de la Marché-aux-cochon-de-lait.

Kristin, a veteran of flea markets of all sizes and descriptions, has come away charitably unimpressed.

So the flea market carries on without us, as we seek out other Saturday morning markets all around town.

Like the Saturday used book market near the Place Gutenberg (where else?)

There must be more markets, if we just persist.

This one, for artisanal goods from the neighboring countryside, is the "Mountain Market", in the Place du Marché-Neuf near the Place Kléber.

And for the more modernized consumer, there are brand name goods: "Somewhere for life & world" is more cumbersome than 'Prada' or 'Tommy Hilfiger' but it does convey a message. Actually, no, it doesn't.

We're making an obligatory run out to the northeast of the Big Island to see one of Kristin's favorite political cartoonists, Tomi Ungerer, whose museum is just across another arm of the Ill near the Place de la Républic.

You never really get away from it. The British would have CCTV cameras wired on all over the thing, and the Americans would have directional wiretap devices.

Tomi Ungerer fans are showing a certain unaggressive impatience with the stragglers.

Kristin sprinting up the circuitous walkway to the Tomi Ungerer museum. Americans of the Vietnam War era will remember some of his works, even if they (like me) never knew his name. The museum's also got a lot of his children's books and some off-putting erotic works.

Back to the Cathedral. "Entrance only for Pray".
(I'm collecting these things. So far I've got "This Part is Just for Pray to Muslim" from Istanbul, and "For those who wish to pray -- follow the red trail" from Pisa.)

Prior to the era of automobiles, horses were in use everywhere.

The potential view from the top of the Cathedral is still haunting us; Kristin's going up to the room to freshen up and contemplate an assault on the heights of it. The Hotel Cathedrale offered, for a not inconsiderable extra charge, much more breakfast than non-German tourists could really appreciate, so the crêperie La Cigogne served us admirably throughout our stay.

If your mother's going to make you practice your violin for an hour anyway, you'd might as well put your hat out and see if anything drops into it.

Amazing motivations in these people. Finicky and obsessive, of course, but each detail conveys a theological and moral message to somebody, if they can see it well enough from the ground.

More horses in unusual places

Now we know how the horses feel. We're only a third of the way up. No discounts for seniors here -- they probably don't want to encourage us to try it.

The back end of the Cathedral, looking out towards the Tomi Ungerer museum.

The European government stuff, which carried on bureaucratically without noticing our absence.

Vertiginously straight down, that's the Château Rohan to the right, the bishops' palace and now the wonderful Musée des Beaux Arts. The one with the Joachim Beuckelaer Fish Market in it.

Straight down again, that's our hotel, and the Maison Kammerzell. To quote Jimmy Cagney in White Heat, "Made it, Ma! Top of the world!" With a better ending. . . .

The Place Gutenberg. This is a great place for a Lumix zoom lens.

Fellow cathedral-toppers wandering around the Platform.

The part they didn't let us onto, the spire -- much as we begged them.

But the views not awful from here -- 66 metres above the hoi polloi.

Sooner or later, we have to rejoin the hoi polloi.

Buttresses

Our hotel, as we plummet earthwards as fast as our old knees will carry us.

More menu-shopping. This one, Au Dauphin, just next to the hotel, turned out to be the best dining experience of our stay. (Choucroute garni, and something else for Kristin.)

Maison Kammerzell. Again.

The Old Stars and Stripes displayed proudly. At a souvenir stand.

An unobtrusive police presence

The Marché-aux-cochons-de-lait on another fine morning

The mighty Ill on the way back to Petite France

The Place B. Zix across the way

The Batorama continuing steadfastly its heaven-appointed rounds. Like Strasbourg Clockworks.

The Lohkäs, still the restaurant of tradition

Fingers of the Petite French islands

Ditto. We've come to see the famous Covered Bridges, but they were wrapped up in plastic and scaffolding for some infrastructure maintenance.

Another lovely square, can't remember where

And a trompe-l'oeil housefront

A big funfair near the Opera House, with a polite police presence

The Opera House, at the head of the long park called Place Broglie, with the funfair on it

A study in ambiguity. Could it be "We can see you wherever you may try to run to"? Or perhaps "You're right. I'm so, so sorry!" (That's by Tomi Ungerer, by the way.)

A great use for a city bridge over the river (when you've got more than enough of them already). It was hard to resist Ben and Manou's Sandwich Américain, which looks a lot like a hot dog (but the French term for that is "hot dog", or 'ott dag').

The Niagara Casino. Just shoot the little duck, you win a teddy bear, or a hot dog.

Nostalgia is setting in already, great dinners from the recent past, as we walk back to the rail station.

The rail station that looks like the Hindenberg

We're booked on the TGV going back, this will be so cool. And fast!

It looks like a bullet. Or like a cruise missile, put to more humane purposes.


Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 20 March 2011.


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