27 July 2009

Cave Historique des Hospices de Strasbourg

I took another excursion, again, just for the experience - not for the tasting. This one was to the Historic Caves in Strasbourg. Essentially they house wine for many local vineyards and sell them under their label.

They have beautiful wine barrels.



But the most famous one is the one that houses the oldest wine in the world, from 1472.

Views of Strasbourg

I climbed about 330 steps to get to the lookout of the Cathedral Notre Dame of Strasbourg. It was beautiful up there. Here are some of the gorgeous birds-eye views of Strasbourg.





Laundry Day

With my free laundry detergent from the Tour de France, I figured it was time to do laundry. It only took me three hours and $14 but it was totally worth it.

Le Tour de France - Colmar: Friday, July 17th

My friends and I skipped class (sshhh) so we could see the Tour de France arrive in Colmar, a lovely town 30 minutes south of Strasbourg. (For the history buffs out there, Colmar is the birthplace of Auguste Bartholdi, the designer of the Statue of Liberty).

It was an awful day, cold and raining the entire time. But it was worth the 5 ½ hours we stood in the rain just to see the riders fly by us.

the first place rider that day - Heinrich Haussler

the finish line

What I didn’t know was that the sponsors of the race come through beforehand and give away tons of free stuff like water bottles, candy, laundry detergent, baseball caps, newspapers, and the list goes on.

the caravan of bikes at the end

Guided tour of the Kronenbourg brewery: Wednesday, July 15th

Everyone who knows me knows that I don’t drink beer, but I thought it would be an interesting tour to see where the Kronenbourg beer is made. It turns out they moved the factory about 30 km outside of the city, but the tour was interesting nonetheless.


Where they used to brew the beer.

It turns out the symbol we know as the “Star of David” is also an ancient symbol that has its roots in alchemy. For a brief but thorough explanation, go here.

Bastille Day: Tuesday, July 14th

What trip to France would be complete without a little Bastille Day? This was my first time here for Bastille Day so I was really excited to see what goes on. It turns out that in Strasbourg they have dancing in the street the night before.

video

During the day, they have a military parade and honor ceremony.


And of course at night, they have a cool fireworks show.


It was really nice to be a part of the excitement and festivities here in France.

Le Chateau du Haut Koeningsbourg and the Route du vin: Sunday, July 12th

This all day excursion took us first to the Koeningsbourg Castle, built in the 12th century and renovated in the 20th century by the German Emperor Wilhelm II as a sort of museum.


Then we visited a small local winery.

I had the privilege of speaking with the originator of the brand – George Klein.


Our next stop took us to Ribeauvillé.

A picturesque town with the Chateau as the backdrop.

The region of Alsace is known for its colombage (wood framed houses), but they are also found outside of Alsace. These houses are typical in regions with easy access to forestland.

I found the ones at our last stop in Riquewihr to be the most beautiful.



They have stunning vineyards in the background.


Some bread anyone?

A young girl in traditional Alsatian dress.

22 July 2009

Guided tour of the Musée d’art moderne: Saturday, July 11th

I’m not usually a fan of modern art, but I like museum tours so I figured I go. It turns out they had a lot of classic art as well, including –

Rodin

Renoir

Gaughin

And Gustave Doré, who was born in Strasbourg.


As well as some modern classics like Wassily Kandinsky.

Discovering the Koenig organ – Church of Saint-Guillaume: Friday, July 10th

We were privileged to have a guided tour of this church and it’s organ by Jean-Philippe Grille, our professor of the history of Alsace. It turns out he plays the organ each week in his church, so he put together a mini-program for us and played the beautiful organ. What a nice surprise!




My friend Claire even got a chance to play.


Each Christmas, the church has a world-renowned choral program. The organ rolls back on these tracks and they fit over 100 singers in the balcony.

Miam-miam (yummy) or not

Here are some of the delicious treats in France.

Espresso and pain au chocolat

crêpes

crème brûlée

mousse au chocolat

jeunes légumes du jardin

And some not so delicious (for me at least).

the traditional choucroute of Alsace (sauerkraut and meat)

Internet

Unfortunately my internet access has been sporadic these days, so my postings have been delayed. I don't have internet in my room (because they don't want to turn it on) so I only have access at school during the day.

Internet access aside, my residence is not a bad place to live.


Strasbourg is a great city for biking and walking.


And wild blackberries on the side of the road doesn't hurt either.