Anyway, took the train down on Saturday morning, everything going smoothly & got there about 1.30. By the time I checked into my hotel (nice surprise, I had been expecting a shared bathroom but got a private and a double bed, which was good) and managed to find my way out to a restaurant the check-in girl recommended in Petite France, it was probably getting on for 2.30-3 so I was hungry! I decided to start as I meant to go on by tucking into a 3 course Alsatian feast, starting with flammekueche (very thin pizza base topped with creme fraiche, onions and bacon bits mmm), followed by choucroute (sauerkraut) and a 'kugelhopf icecream' for dessert, which confused me but turned out pretty much just to be vanilla-cinnamon icecream in a ring shape, although it did have some kind of gewurtztraminer liquor in the middle (and a yummy raspberry coulis on the side).
So, how was my first choucroute? I wasn't sure whether I'd like it, although pretty sure I've had Russian pickled cabbage, but thought I had to give it a go when in Strasbourg. Verdict? Actually pretty good, although as you can see, the portion was ENORMOUS, so I didn't make it even halfway through. I think I enjoyed it more the next night when it came as a small side-dish instead of what I assure you is a mountain hidden below the meat here:
After a relaxing lunch, I went to check out the cathedral. All I can say is wow! It's a pity that it's so hemmed in by other buildings, you can't really get a good look at it from a distance. Here's a couple of pics of the facade anyway though:
When I first got to the cathedral, I was amazed at the crowds I could see surrounding it. I was even more amazed when I got closer and found that none of them were actually looking at the cathedral and its incredible ornate carvings and statues, but were crowded around a busker, one that I couldn't even see at first owing to the number of people. When I caught a glimpse, I at first thought he was playing guitar accompanied by a recording of someone singing. Eventually, however, I realised the god-awful noise was emanating from the hideous man-beast himself:
I actually find this guy painful to listen to, I don't know how everyone else could stand it! The worst thing is, he was there like ALL THE TIME, so you couldn't enjoy the cathedral exterior without him polluting the atmosphere, and his caterwaul was audible for blocks around. He even managed to follow me to a cafe where I was trying to enjoy a nice cider, as the people on the next table played their friends a way-too-long clip of him.
Anyway, enough about Mr. Nails-on-a-chalkboard... The cathedral is really wonderful, even though there were a few too many tourists. A few pics:
The famous astrological clock
Stained glass windows in the cathedral
The rose window
Statues around the cathedral doorway
More stained glass:
Pop-up dog in a basket! Why you would want this on your tomb, I dunno. And how did they get his legs in there?
And just because I'm immature:
Free Willie! But don't free him near...
I think I had a look in St Thomas's church as well on Saturday (that's where the dog in the basket was anyway), watched the F1 qualifying over a drink back at the hotel, then headed out for a wander and a late dinner around 9. Just another flammekueche by the cathedral, finished off with a really really nice apple strudel, super soft buttery pastry, I think I could have eaten just that with no filling! Reminded me of the AWESOME FUN that was the apfelstrudel show at Vienna's Schoenbrunn Palace - if you can't read a newspaper through it, it's not good strudel pastry!
Anyway, will have to fill in Sunday and Monday's doings and photos on another occasion.