Phill, who lived in Stuttgart this year, had rented a snazzy red sports car in preparation for the event; we wasted no time in heading off for a half-day trip into the snowy German Black Forest on Friday afternoon. Just over an hour outside of Strasbourg, we stumbled upon the world's largest cuckoo clock in Schonach im Schwarzwald. We missed the top of the hour by about five minutes as we were looking for a place to change cash bills into coins in order to see the clock mechanism from inside, but did spend a good chunk of time mesmerized by the mechanism itself. We even got to listen to a historical spiel given by the only slightly creepy fellow below (for 50 cents). Nearby, you can find at least two Häuser der 1000 Uhren, or Houses of 1000 Clocks, shops that boast carrying as many clocks for sale. Stepping inside felt like falling down the cuckoo clock rabbit hole.
On the way back, we took an hour-long detour south to Freiburg on icy roads, getting lost several times due to terrible GPS service in the middle-of-nowhere, Germany, and also due to putting the wrong Freiburg into the GPS in the first place. Once we made it, we headed north on the 5, a section of Autobahn with no speed limit, and allowed the sports car to do its thing, getting us back to Strasbourg in no time.
|Restaurant in Strasbourg|
That evening, Ben arrived from Paris and the three of us went straight for some serious Flammekueche for a late dinner. New food and drink recommendation: Binchstub. There are two, and I visited Binchstub Broglie, just off the square, a cozy spot which does both lunch and dinner. A lot of the weekend was spent relaxing at cafés, catching up and debating current events. It was wonderful to see familiar faces and to share perspectives especially now that we've been apart living in various corners of the world for awhile and have wildly different but developed views on society. The next morning, we found a new favorite coffee and crêpe shop, Au 5. We visited an outdoor used book market in the Place Kléber, admired the cathedral, bought mittens, and munched and sipped on saucisse and vin chaud from a food truck in the Place Gutenberg.
For a change, we spent the sunny afternoon in the Parc de l'Orangerie, a large park up near the European Parliament building. Phill brought along his drone so that we could make videos (and cause a stir in the park - we disrupted at least four wedding photo shoots and then wound up with a small following of children by the end and had difficulties landing the drone safely). We did capture some nice footage of the park itself and of the Strasbourg "skyline" - I love the view of the tiny cathedral under the afternoon sun.
On Saturday evening, we had dinner (yes, more Flammekueche) and drinks at the Troquet des Kneckes with my friends Nevila and Jasmina. It's always a treat to see them. Again, spending time catching up and getting in some much-needed laughs was priceless.
The following day, we visited La Petite France, a charming and beautiful if not touristy part of town with lots of canals and typical Alsatian houses. At the end of the day, we each headed back home, content that the stars had aligned for our Minnesotans-take-Strasbourg adventure.