Saturday, 9 February 2013

Sight-seeing in the dark

Day 205 04.02.13 Strasbourg

We get a surprisingly good night’s sleep despite our roadside position and we’re up bright and early.  We’re made even more glad for our Sunday arrival when we discover the road we so easily parked on is now jam-packed with cars.  There is even a row of cars on the pavement beside the road!   We head into the centre, our first stop being the cathedral to look around inside.  The double height stained glass windows are particularly nice as too is the colossal church organ trimmed in gold high on the wall.  At the back we find the gothic Pillar of Angels and the wonderful Astronomical Clock.  The major downside is that both of these highlights of an otherwise quite ordinary cathedral are in the dark until somebody puts 20 cents in the box to light them up.  It’s only 20 cents but it seems very cheeky to me!  The clock is fantastic with its intricate workings clear to see.  The rest of the clock is covered in talented portraits and detailed figurines.  Apparently at 12:30 every day the clock chimes and the apostle figurines move around, this costs an extra 2 euros to see.  Can you see a pattern developing here?!  Everywhere there’s an opportunity for the city to charge you money they take it and it’s a real shame.  I’m astounded the public toilets are free (although there’s a saucer by the sinks for you to tip to the cleaners!).

Onwards through town we enjoy the back streets of Little France where we find more painted houses and half-timber frontages.  We pop into a few shops now some of them are open, although a lot close on both Sunday and Monday (what economic crisis?!). 

We take our time and stroll along all the streets we missed yesterday.  There are certainly some lovely views to be found in this city but between the continual attempt to drain your pockets and the seedier undertones, the edge is taken off a little. 

As we’re both pretty tired from yesterday we opt to head over to the mediateque in the late afternoon.  It’s the largest mediateque in Eastern France and has a lovely spot beside the river.  Sadly however it’s closed for today so after lurking outside McDonald’s for wifi we head back to the van.  We’re so glad to have gas back as it means we are able to put the heating on and have a warm dinner because the temperature has dipped again after another day of very changeable weather.  

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