Saturday, December 20, 2008

Strasbourg Dec 17

Kehl, Germany and Strasbourg, France December 17, 2008

Today we will be in Strasbourg although we may still be sailing at the moment. Peter hasn't decided whether to go or relax on the ship. I am really looking forward to the cathedral. We arrived in Kehl during breakfast and Peter decided not to go. Evidently Gutenberg started printing in Strasbourg before he went to Mainz. So I hope to hear about more things that may interconnect with my interests. There is also supposed to be a good collection of Renaissance art.

The most I heard about Gutenberg is that he was in Strasbourg from 1434 to 1444. The is a square named for him but if there is a house associated with him, it wasn't pointed out. Our guide told us that Strasbourg has the largest Jewish population of any city after New York, although this cannot possibly be accurate. It does, however, have a large Jewish population. We passed the synagogue as we drove near the old town.

We started with a rather long bus tour of the more modern parts of Strasbourg. We saw the various European Union buildings and the nineteenth and twentieth century German and French architecture that reminds you of Vienna and Paris.

When we got off the bus we saw some of the early fortifications and customs area and Bourbon's fortifications for Louis XIV. The we looked across the river Ill to see part of Petite France.
This was the tannery area and the houses are in the German half-timbered style. It is interesting that this style was created partly so that houses could be easily disassembled and moved. It was the same with the houses in Colmar.

Then we walked rather quickly to the cathedral. We didn't get the chance to see much on the way. The cathedral closes at 11:30 and people can buy tickets to see the mechanical clock work at 12:30. Then the cathedral opens again at 1. Because we had another gloomy day, seeing the few features our guide had time to point out was difficult and my pictures didn't come out well. In fact I don't have many pictures of Strasbourg. All of this is unfortunate because I had really high expectations. The guide did direct me to a good chocolate shop, Christian, and I bought a variety of truffles, a chocolate bar, and some cookies for Peter. Then I bought roasted chestnuts. It isn't really Christmas without having them at least once.

I came back to the ship for lunch and we are now having a quiet afternoon in the library.

We went for tea at 3:30 and talked with Susan and Joe. Susan knits so I wrote down the feather and fan pattern for the scarf.

The ship is just getting ready to sail. We are off to Mannheim and Heidelberg.

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