April 27, 2012 Strasbourg
I slept hard and could have slept much longer than the 10 am that I did. I couldn’t really tell you if the bed was comfortable or not, Jerry said it was, all I know is that as soon as my head hit the pillow I was gone.
We woke up to a beautiful sunny day. Warm enough for a pair of shorts, which is what is choose to wear. After showering, etc. we packed up the car and then set out to explore a bit of the city before we headed for Dijon. As I previously reported, Strasbourg like Paris has a main city and the part that is on an Island. In Paris the island is in the middle of the Seine, in Strasbourg it is in the middle of the Rhine. Yes I said Rhine as in Germany. I have yet to figure out if Strasbourg is near the beginning of the Rhine, but I believe that it is.
When walking the streets, which are confusing and you get easily turned around, you feel as if you are in a German village more than a French city. Strasbourg is truly
As close as jerry will get to a quesa dilla in France.
a transitional location between France and Germany. The food while certainly French in style is heavily influenced by neighboring Germany, I mean sauerkraut in France, I don’t think so. The wine of Alsace is of course mostly white, light and on the sweeter side. You will find your Riesling’s, Gewürztraminer’s and Pinot Blanc’s in this region. The regional dessert appears to be Kouglhopf. We walked by a bakery and the shop keeper was handing out macron’s, no not the kind we all love, but more like what we all grew up with, coconut. There are clearly two types of macron’s fin and then what we ate today. The point is the shop also was selling the Kouglhopf so I bought a petite one for us to have for breakfast the next day in Dijon.
Kouglkopf is similar to a coffee cake or bunt cake, nuts, raisins, etc. There are special Kouglkopf pans that are narrower shaped bunt pans. It is sprinkle with sugar and as a dessert often has a rum or other sauce served over it.
We continued walking through various plazas’ and squares, by churches, shops and locals going to and from work. We returned to
Ham & Sourkraut
Dinner in Strasbourg
where we started by our hotel and found a place on one of the canals for lunch. We found a nice place on a canal just down stream from our hotel. It was sunny so we ate outside. The place was called La Taverne du Quai and had numerous regional specialties, including flambées. We both had a different flambé and a salad (see today’s eats for details) and a bottle of Gewurztraminer. Lunch was good but not with out incident. The table was under an umbrella which was under a tree; Jerry’s was not completely covered by the umbrella. Strasbourg like many cities is full of pigeons and pigeons hang out where there is food (I know you can see where this is going) while we were waiting for our food to be served, Jerry was smoking a cigarette and suddenly received a nasty gift from the pigeon above. Fortunately it landed on his leg and not his forehead. It was a very appetizing beginning to lunch, but you could not help but laugh and the kid at the next table almost fell off his chair laughing. Jerry excused himself to clean up and I enjoyed the water going by
and the sun.
After Lunch we walked back to the hotel, we had to wait briefly at a bridge. Many of the bridges rotate to let the passing tour boats go by, the bridges are very low so they must move in order for river traffic to continue. After our brief walk we walked on to the car to begin our drive to Dijon. We first carefully consulted our Google map directions, a city map and a French road map. All of this careful study did us zero good as we still missed the turn to the auto route. After our little side trip, we finally managed to get on the correct route to Dijon. The Drive to Dijon.
Google maps informed us that the drive to Dijon was just over 3 hours. Well Google maps lies. I don’t think that anyone from Google has actually ever driven using their directions, but more on that in daily tips. We avoided the toll roads as long as possible, but doing so does take longer. On the Auto Routes you can drive up to 130km an hour (everyone drives much faster than that); on the regional routes you can
go between 90 and 110, and that 50 to 20 km difference makes a huge difference. Auto Routes are like our interstates, some have tolls some do not. The N or D routes are more like our highways. The best comparison I can make is the A-4 (auto Route) is like interstate 5, and the N-4 (national route) is like Hwy 99. If you want to get somewhere quickly you take the auto routes in France or the interstates at home otherwise you take the scenic route.
The drive was uneventful and since it was taking longer than we anticipated, we opted for the auto routes most of the way, a total of $15 Euros in tolls. We also had our first experience in filling up the car. The car takes only diesel, which translates the same in France so that part was easy. What was not easy was getting it into the car. How were we supposed to know that in order for the pump to work the car has to be facing a certain direction, and of course we were not facing in the correct direction. After we got that figured out we put the gas in,
$67 dollars later we were back on our way to Dijon.
It is easy to get from one city to the next, what is not easy is finding what your are looking for once you get in the city. We can always find the town center, but after that, even Jerry cannot get us to where we need to be. I just drive and go where I am told, which often is around in circles because there is no grid, the streets start, they stop, they change names, the turn into one way or a pedestrian only street, and everything is in French of course so it is just one big recipe for getting lost. Now, I always want to stop and ask for directions much sooner than Jerry, but Jerry, being a typical male does not ask for directions until I insist. After 30 minutes for driving in circle’s I pulled over to a hotel and we went in to ask for directions. Jerry is right about one thing, asking for directions is not always helpful as there is the language barrier as well, however, maps over come that issue.
The woman at the front desk of
this hotel spoke some English but managed to point us in the right direction. Once back in the car, we took all the turns we were suppose to but still got a little lost. Finally, by sheer luck we arrived at the street our apartment was on, and I honestly mean it was 100% luck, I happen to look up just before we drove by the street to see the name Rue de Palais. Our apartment is at the end of the street and directly behind the Place de la Liberation. The main square in this part of Dijon. It is where the Palace of the Dukes of Burgundy is.
I parked, called Françoise and she came down to let us in. There is limited parking available in side the front gates of the building, and we were suppose to go to a parking structure a few blocks away. However, Françoise could see that I had had enough driving in Dijon for one day an allowed us to park in the court yard for the night.
Jerry backed the car in and we unpacked. Our apartment is on the ground floor so it was easy to get our
traveling closets in the place. It is a very nice apartment. It is located in which once was most likely a building containing one or two houses. The front has two large wooden doors which open in to the court yard, now parking lot. The owner lives on site on the second floor and the kitchen I will be cooking in is on the second floor above our apartment. The apartment has a small kitchen a bedroom/living room combination, a large closet and a bathroom. It is decorated very period. I believe that the building is 17th
The kitchen is full of IKEA appliances, many small and efficient. There is an all in one stove, and when I say all in one, I mean, stove, oven and dishwasher all in one. There is also a washer/dryer at it is one machine, direct from washing to drying without unloading. It is slow very slow.
After getting the luggage in we changed and walked to the Halles, which is the large market I will be shopping at for my cooking class on Saturday. Surrounding the market are many café’s bars, brassieres and restaurant. We chose one serving regional food.
Chris studying the menu
Now that we are in Burgundy the wine will change to Pinot’s and Chardonnay’s. Dinner was very good, but we did have the last seating so while they did not hurry us, they did want to go home. Dijon is an early to bed kind of city for every one but the university students who were all parting at a pub down the street.
While at dinner an inline skating group when buy, about 100 people some in costumes skating by, don’t know why but there they were. After dinner we strolled home, it was midnight or so when we got home, so this is being written Saturday morning before my cooking class. We had some wine and then again crashed.
TODAY’S EATS Lunch in Strasbourg
Jerry: Petite Tarte Flambé (open face crepe with onions, cheese ham)
La Salade Frisee aux Lardons croutons et Roquefort (Salad of endive and lettuce with bacon, croutons and Roquefort)
Chris: La Tarte Flambé aux champignons (same as Jerry except with mushrooms added)
La Salade Petite France aux filets de canard (Salad with duck filet)
Wine: Gewurztraminer Dinner in Dijon
Jerry: Salmon tarte tarte
Fries (could in a French way of course)
Chris: Escargot (regional specialty)
Beef Bourgogne (invented in Burgundy)
Coupe Dijonaise (Ice cream with raspberry and raspberry liquor)
Wine: Cote de Nuits (light pinot noir) REVIEWS La Taverne du Quai
(Strasbourg): Reasonably priced, serve many regional dishes, nice view and on the water. The food is ok, but not knock you off your feet good. Relaxed atmosphere. Recommend for a leisurely lunch. It is better priced than most places we saw in the center of the island. This is located at the edge of Petite France on a canal. La Dome
(Dijon): Of the restaurants surrounding the market, this was probably the most reasonably priced. The Halles area can range from very price to pub food. The food here was very good, the beef Bourguignon was tasty, very much like what I make, but did not compare to Chez Dumonet in Paris. I do recommend for an inexpensive meal where the staff speaks English and is very unpretentious. DAILY TIPS
Auto Routes revisited: I still recommend the N-routes for scenery and lower cost. But if you have a long drive or need to
get somewhere quicker then the Auto Routes are the way to go.
Google Maps: In no way should you rely on anything they say. They have got us lost every single time and leave out important sections of how to get on the Auto Route.
Do not be afraid to ask for directions once you get to your destination.
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