April 28, 2017

The reason for the visit

Was to bring a Mum Hug and some much needed and wished for supplies (that can't be bought in France) to our beautiful Girl.

She now has a coveted stash of her favourite Shampoo, Tea, Vegemite and Tim Tams.

A downpour during one of our excursions led to the chance discovery of a bright new Rainbow Umbrella which brought a smile to her eyes on a grey day (she left hers at home in Melbourne).


And of course we had to get a photo of her in front of her Lab at the University

(Note to self - next time take a wide angle lens so I can get ALL the building's title in the shot!)



We walked for miles - as my Fit bit will attest to



and crossed many Bridges, many times - none more stirring than when we came across a Pro-European Movement rally on the bridge across the Rhine.
When we drew close to the centre of the group they all began to sing "Song of Joy" and in 3 different languages. It was inspirational!

And this brings us to the point when we have to say not Goodbye but Au Revoir to Strasbourg
and like my friend here that sits in the square beside Notre Dame always looking up to the heavens and the beautiful Cathedral Spire
we are reluctant to leave and have left part of our hearts behind in this incredible city.



* * * * *








There is a saying ...

"That in Strasbourg, your eye will never tire."
They are not wrong
Here are just a few of the views and treasures we found.


We just called him "The Bubble Man"
Delighting the children in the City Square.


Lycee International les Pontonniers
a very seriously beautiful looking High School
(It would make a great movie set - Harry Potter goes to France?)


Picture Postcard Perfect View of the Ille River 
and a few of the bridges that cross it


Notre Dame from the Old City Wall

Is that a Dragon on the rooftop?
No - Just a very artistic waterspout!


and in a shop window - Fabric
What kind of Quilter am I, if I don't keep an eye out for Fabric?
Yep - found some and, What is it displayed on? Aussie boomerang Fabric!
maybe someone is telling me it is time to go home?


April 27, 2017

Cakes, and other delicious things

I must admit that a travelogue is not complete without showing off some of the local cuisine.  But being a Cake Decorator I was drawn to the wonderful Sweet things around.

IN my defence - a lot of these goodies only gave my camera calories!! ;)

Breakfast:

The perfect way to start a day is having Breakfast appear on the table and not making it yourself!

I learnt to order a petit dejeuner and then to order just A Croissant and Tea - with milk

The little bakery around the corner soon became our favourite spot.


Morning Tea


Ohhhh Strawberries!
So beautifully sweet

I wanted to buy a bucket of these and go home and bake - but...
With beautiful light cakes to try
I didn't need to !


Things in windows...
Nougat and Gingerbread Cakes by the kilogram in Market stalls

A Cake with my Name on it - entreating me to buy
 (I didn't succumb).

Eclairs and Macarons to die for!



And to finish off - There must, of course be Dessert!

Best ever Creme Brulee - I stopped looking once I found it!
Hot Chocolate Fondant and Vanilla Ice cream

A masterpiece of an Apple Crumble in a Restaurant only open a week.
And Black Forest Parfait
- Oh My!! Oh Wow !!


And the best bit?
With all the walking we did
I actually LOST 3 kg!




April 26, 2017

Street Life

Street Photography is an interesting hobby for a lot of photographers and wandering through someone else's town gives an opportunity to practice taking some 'out of the ordinary' photographs.

BEGGARS -
The scriptures say
"The poor we have with us always" (Mark 14:7)

The thing we noticed was, like the town's Buskers, the beggars had "their spot" and were rarely seen elsewhere in town.


BUSKERS -

Now THESE guys were GOOD -
all the Buskers were very talented from the haunting sounds of a solo Vintage Tenor Saxophone played by an elderly Gent...

And the melody of a Squeeze box that picked out a polka and lightened our steps

to an Organ Grinder with an incredible voice
(no monkeys here!)

And then there was the Trio

They sang rousing Russian tunes and well known popular songs (in French) in the sunshine
and in the rain.
(We even bumped into them in Offenburg - Germany)


The only thing they seemed to miss was what was going on around them on Easter Sunday morning -
As they belted out
"The Carnival is Over",

this young man dropped to his knee
- ring in hand.


She said "Yes" and for them the Carnival is definitely NOT over!

BICYCLES -

Strasbourg is a city that certainly has embraced the Bicycle!

They are everywhere!
we saw them chained to fences and trees and each other
we dodged them in the lane ways and on the main roads


We even found a nest of them outside the Train Station...

And I don't think I heard a bell ring in anger the whole week.

And I must not finish this post without making reference to the (to us) BIZARRE Parking practices seen around town.

We best described it as ...
"If I fits - I sits"

(yes, this car IS parked diagonally across the corner of an intersection.)



April 25, 2017

Taking time out to Remember . .

It is April 1916, the midpoint of the Great War. Australian units have begun to arrive in France . For the first time, the men of the AIF find themselves at the main battle front of the mighty conflict. At first they encounter a pleasant land – a welcome change from sea voyages, the cliffs of Gallipoli, and the training camps of Egypt . But in July, on the Somme , they will be thrown into one of the bloodiest, most destructive battles in history.
ANZACs in France - 1916Over several weeks, in a series of determined attacks against strong defences around the ruined village of Pozières , the Australians will suffer a rate of casualties so great as to be nearly unsustainable for the volunteer army of a small nation. The AIF will confront its single worst day of the war at the battle of Fromelles, then endure six long weeks of fighting in the murderous ordeal that is Pozières. The year will end in the most severe winter of trench warfare ever seen.
Many households will be cast into mourning. In the face of such terrible losses, Australians will be asked to decide whether the conscription of civilians should be introduced. The ensuing debate will leave the community riven with bitter divisions.
1916 will be a terrible year.
* * * * * * * * * 
I sat in the comfort of a Very Fast Train on a glorious Spring Day watching the fields speed past - and I thought of a Man who "died of Wounds" in a makeshift hospital, or in a field not so far away. 
101 years later he is a Hero.
Was he a Hero? I have no idea.
He was a Husband, a Brother, an Uncle - a Great Uncle to children he never knew.
I know his name is etched on a Senitath on the foreshore of Portsea Victoria Australia and that he lies in a pretty and well cared for cemetery in the North of France.
One day I will visit him and leave an Aussie Flag - to show that "We DO Remember"




April 24, 2017

It was Springtime . . .

Spring time In Paris!
Beautiful Blossoms

I always thought it was because of the shops
but I now know why it is called
"The Paris End of Collins Street"
All they need is some trams!


And in Strasbourg ... 
massed planting of Spring bulbs in median strips


Glimpsing tiny gardens over fences


reminded me of Esther Aliu's 'Forget me Not' Quilt


Across the border in Germany
there were Tulips in planter boxes 
down side streets to nowhere in particular














and Beautiful Parks 
carpeted with Forget me Nots

Oh - and these things...
in their Natural Habitat
-apparently NOT a weed!


Behind cloistered walls in the Notre Dame Museum
a traditional Medieval Herb Garden

And under the Bridges, beside the Ile River
BEE HIVES!

I wondered how many people strolling along the river realised
 they were meters from so much activity.


Beautiful blossoms in Beautiful Alsace.



April 23, 2017

Notre Dame Cathedral - Strasbourg

The first thing our DD wanted to show us when we arrived in Strasbourg was the Cathedral.

We were taken over bridges and down cobblestone alleys until she declared This is the long way but - I wanted you to see her from her best viewpoint first!

And there she was standing majestically in the City Square, towering over the surrounding buildings - and all we could say was
"Oh - You are beautiful"

This magnificent example of Gothic Architecture started life as a humble hall in the year 1015 which burnt down in 1176.

Realising that timber structures were not a good idea it was then, over the next 300 years, replaced by the Pink sandstone building that stands there today.

She is constantly being maintained, repaired, restored and used.  She is not a museum but a working Church.



Walking inside, our breath was taken by the soaring vaulted ceilings and the light and airy interior.
At 142 meters Notre Dame Strasbourg was for 400 years the tallest structure in Europe.

(Notre Dame Paris stands at just 69 meters.)

As well as the Grand Pipe Organ
(already mentioned in my Easter Post),
there is the Rose window.

This piece of work at 15 meters in diameter is unique in design as it does not depict images of Saints, rather it has 32 'Ears of Wheat' symbolising the commercial power of the city during the Middle Ages.*

There is so much to see in the Cathedral that you could spend many hours there.

One of the more surprising items is the Astronomic Clock.

This beautiful and awe inspiring piece of technology (still accurate today) is worthy of a post all of it's own.

We did not get the opportunity to see it in action but that is on the top of the list for our return trip!



That and "Doing the Climb".

My 'FitBit' has been getting quite the workout during our visit but I will need to get a lot fitter before attempting the 330 steps of the spiral staircase to the top.

I understands on a clear day you can see all the way to the Black Forest in Germany.


There are many Churches in Strasbourg but this one certainly stands out in a crowd.

It can be seen for miles and we found if we were lost in the city, all we needed to do was look to the heavens and locate the spire.

Surely it must have been an inspiration for many over the centuries.












* Ref: www. frenchmoments.eu/strasbourg-cathedral