France 82 - Strasburg on the train

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September 30th 2014
Published: September 30th 2014
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Mollsheim is on of those pretty little Alsation villages and towns dotted around every corner of the Alsace region of France. More German than French they have a different feel to them. Vines grow everywhere and each village has its fair share of wine producers who make the most wonderful of wine. Our stop for the next two nights was going to be Camping Municipal Mollsheim. 12 euros a night WiFi for 1 euro for 90 minutes , clean and agreeable toilet blocks, fresh bread every day if ordered and close enough to the gare to get into Strasburg. This was going to be another one of those make do and mend sort of days. Not planned we just ended up here. We had never been to Strasburg and there had to be enough to do to warrant a visit. Monsieur who was very friendly had locked up for the day when we arrived but he came out smiling and told us to leave our ACSI card with him, park up on the right and pay him later. This we did. The site was busy and the left side was taken up with a group of Scandanavian motorhomers who were on an organised trip.

We slept well, it was a quiet well organised site away from the traffic and close to just a Super U supermarket which we visited to stock up on essential items. Not as good as a Mr LeClerc but we got enough stuff to tide us over. The mornings are now getting much crisper as Autumn advances and we wake sometimes to a low hanging mist. But it is still warm and dry enough to go out without coats or jumpers.

We walked the 15 minutes to the railway station. Again yet another highly efficient example of French railways. The trains to Strasburg ran every 20 minutes or so and the journey would take about the same time if we got a direct train but a little longer if it was a stopping train. We paid our 13 euros 20 for two returns to Strasburg Centrale. Forgot about old age pensioners rates. I think we would have got there even cheaper had I remembered to ask. But even without the cheap rate it was still cheaper by far than rail travel back home which costs an arm and a leg to go anywhere assuming there is a train.

The train came in and departed on time. We rolled in to Strasburg to the old station with its wonderful façade now enclosed by 21st century modern glass bubble canopy. The walk into town was relatively easy. A straight line took us to the shopping centre and a right turn along the river to Petite France. A pretty area alongside the river with warehouses and old houses lining its route. Impossible to get lost. It is located on the Grande Ile the Main Island where the river Ill spints into a number canals and cascades through a small area of medieval half timbered and baroque sandstone buildings. In the Middle Ages, the Petite-France was the area devoted to tanning and slaughtering houses. The name Petite France apparently is not patriotic but comes from the hospice of the syphilitic which was built in the late fifteenth century on this island to cure people from the French disease as it was known in German.

From here we came back to the cathedral and beautiful towering brick building ornately decorated. Inside was perhaps not quite as interesting rather dark and gloomy although it had a fabulously gilded and blingy astronomical clock. Its full name is the Cathedral of Our Lady of Strasbourg or the Minster. Partly Romanesque but mostly High Gothic It was built by Erwin Von Steinbach between 1277 and 1318. We saw the obligatory beggars. We even saw men on the street with placards advertising they were looking for work. The church towered above us and at 142 metres it was the worlds tallest building from 1647 right up to 1874. Today it is still the sixth tallest church in the world and the highest structure built entirely in the Middle Ages. It looks quite pink due to the material used to build it. .

Dinner time came round and we chose an old restaurant on the corner of a square. Dark and slightly gloomy inside it certainly had atmosphere.

Small tables were pushed in cheek by jowl. We looked at the menu and chose something that said beef. Should be safe with that then. When the waiter came he asked if we realised what we had ordered . Raw Beef . He didn’t think it would be to our taste. Quite right back to the menu again and he picked a couple of dishes he thought we might like. We ordered our veal and this time it was cooked . It came along with chips, salad and a sauce and was delicious. We cleared the lot. Another good meal. Not augering well for our weight as we pile the pounds on with good food.

With nothing much else to do we headed back to the train station for our return journey home. A longer trip this time as the train stopped at five stations along the way. Still pretty efficient though. A lovely stay, unexpected but interesting. A slice of life in the big city before heading off to Luxembourg. The trip home is coming ever closer. Suzy of course decided to give us a fright. On the dashboard the oil light started to flash up at us. Was she low on oil? Shouldn’t be she has been serviced regularly since we bought her. Then the warning message came up Oil needs changing. We have covered 28 thousand miles since we bought here and it is about time she had an oil change and she was telling us so. Annoying thing is she has had three services and not once have the mechanics bothered to change the oil until it reached the prescribed time. So that is another job to be done when we get home. The list grows, two sat navs not behaving themselves, a car at home waiting to be MOT'd but before that we still have Aachen to visit and finally a welsh monument in Belgium.


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