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17 April 2017

France Field Report Day 9 – 10 – 11 - 12

With all the trouble I had uploading posts, I gave up writing them and decided it’d just do it when I got home.

Once I am done with all the pictures, I’ll get back to this project and write about our last 4 days.

In a nut shell, as you can imagine, they were AWESOME!

France Field Report 8 – Day 8… No pictures for now.

There seems to be a problem with the OLW program and uploading pictures, so for now it’s words only. I removed all the pictures so these posts might feel a little weird! Hopefully this will be temporary, I will try and add them later directly in Blogger.

Steps today: 24 039 / a little over 15¾km

Ahhh Paris! What can I say that you don’t already know? It’s just simply fantastic.

The train ride from Strasbourg was great – we paid the HUGE extra premium of 6$CDN to travel first class and it was terrific; I felt like we were sitting in arm chairs! I tried taking a picture but it didn’t really turn out.

We arrived at the hotel around 10:30 but the room wasn’t ready so we left our bags and set off to explore. We got the key at the end of the day; it’s a nice room and its just across the hall from the room where I stayed last October. Again when booking this hotel I didn’t shop around. I loved it before + the price was good this time = done.

We don’t really have a lot on our “must see” list for Paris this time around, but we did want to check out Place de La Nation and from there walk to Vincennes to see the Castle and have lunch. We ended up having lunch near Pla. Nat. instead, and since Vincennes was nowhere near as charming as it was last time, we didn’t stick around. We got on the metro and headed back to Central Paris to just enjoy being in the city.

We did not make it a point to visit “The Biggies” like Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower etc. today, we did see them in passing but we’ll do all the picture taking tomorrow, today we just wandered and went wherever the wind blew us.

Tom Cruise is here filming Mission Impossible 6, would be fun to get a glimpse of that!

I did finally get a great shot of the column in Place Vendôme since the entire area was cordoned off by the police and therefore there were no cars in the way to obstruct the view. We thought they were keeping people back because of a celebrity or a foreign dignitary… turns out it was due to a suspicious package! Yikes! Now I understand why the officer gave me the stink-eye when I asked if I could take pictures. 

We had a simple supper near Place D’alma around 6PM, then headed back to the hotel to unpack and settle in.

It’s great to be back in Paris, but I REALLY feel like I was just here last week. It’s a funny vibe because I don’t feel like I am on a mission to see and do anything in particular because I JUST did them all! I’m not even carrying a guide with me this time.

We want to hit a step-record tomorrow since we’ll have all day in town with no train excursions, which means now I need my rest!

Good night.

France & Germany Field Report 7 – Day 7… No pictures for now.

There seems to be a problem with the OLW program and uploading pictures, so for now it’s words only. I removed all the pictures so these posts might feel a little weird! Hopefully this will be temporary, I will try and add them later directly in Blogger.

Steps today: 16 508 / almost 11km.

I’m a bit disappointed that we did not reach our minimum goal of 20 000 per day, but it was HOT this afternoon and so there was not as much walking going on!!

We went Freiburg in Germany today and I LOVED IT! Best day trip of this vacation for me so far. There was rain in the forecast, but it never materialize – we had blue skies all day. SO lucky!

It was a complicated start to the day - we went to by our tickets at the train station in Strasbourg and the clerk told us he had a better solution for us on the return journey that would save us money and he started on what at the time seemed like a long and complicated proposition to save just a few Euros. Once I understood that he was not giving me an option for THE return journey, but rather because we were ON A same-day return journey it got interesting. He sold us a family day pass for the first leg of our journey and told us to buy a return ticket at the train station where we were transferring for the second leg.  In the end, it saved us FIFTY Euros!!!! Thank you!

Freiburg was terrific, I was snapping pictures everywhere I looked; my head was on a swivel. Early on I declared it was better than Baden-Baden and I could totally use it as a home-base city if ever we plan a trip to that region of Germany in the future (depending on the train schedules of course!).

The day followed our typical schedule when day-tripping in a city on a too-hot-for-us day:

  • We started with a café stop upon arrival
  • Wandered around in the morning seeing the main sights and checking things off the list
  • Have a pre-lunch drink and review our afternoon plans
  • Have lunch
  • Wander around some more and look for ways to hide from the heat
  • Duck into a shady café for a last drink (and sometimes a desert like we did today)
  • Call it quits by about 3 or 4 o'clock and head back to Home Base

We were back in Strasbourg by about 5:30 and set out looking for a place to have a drink and supper. The heat was subsiding by then, according to the weather reports the temps will be 10 degrees cooler over the next few days – thank God! We’ve only really had one “troublesome” hot day on this trip so far so it' hasn't been THAT bad, but we’re quipped for (and prefer) mid-teens not low to mid 20s! The wind also blew in the clouds and so we lost our spotless blue skies of the last few days.

Because we wanted to eat outside for our final meal in Strasbourg in the “Petite France” area specifically, we did not find many options therefore we were “forced” to break the no-resto-repeat rule and ended up back at a place where we already had drinks a few days before. By the time we got settled and ordered our food, the wind kicked up SO MUCH it was like eating in a wind tunnel – it was almost comical!! Needless to say, the food did not stay warm long.

After supper, we headed straight back to the hotel since we have to pack up tonight for our move to Paris tomorrow.

Strasbourg was fantastic! I had a great time and got to cross off all the things on my list. Contrary to the afternoon I spent here in April 2011, I now feel like I can really say I visited Strasbourg “properly”.  The hotel was great too – excellent location, clean, convenient, great bathroom, no issues with hot water or water pressure… I’d easily stay here again. I only have 2 complaints and they are minor. 1- the toilet bowl is too high.. NOT COMFORTABLE. 2- the pillows are awful, like heavy sandbags.

Time to shower now and then call it a night, a new adventure starts tomorrow!

Cheers from Strasbourg!

France & Germany Field Report 6 – Day 6

Steps today: 24 372 / 16km

Today we went to Baden-Baden in Germany, it was very nice but DESERTED on a Sunday morning! It felt like a ghost town!! Maybe they were all in Church?

We walked around a bit but I was underwhelmed. Plus, there was a lot of construction around so it was hard to take nice pictures.

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Look! We found some people! Sure enough, going to church.

Stiftskirche (1)

We stopped for a coffee, but that was not very pleasant either since our view was a construction zone! I decided to liven the mood a little by ordering Champagne instead of coffee… Why not! This is what it means to be on vacation, right?

Drinks at Garibaldi (1)

After this, we spent the rest of the morning walking up and down the Lichtentaler Allee (a historic park and arboretum set out as an 2.3 kilometer strolling avenue along the west bank of the river Oos) … Thank God we did not save this for after lunch! It was so hot by then that we could not have done it.

Lichtentaler Allee (11)

Lichtentaler Allee (1)

Lichtentaler Allee (5)

Lichtentaler Allee (15)

Lichtentaler Allee (23)

The highlight of the day was lunch at the Biergarten. It was great! and we arrived just in time too, the terrace was almost empty when we got there, but just 10 minutes later it was packed and we would have had to wait for a table.  I loved indulging in my favourite German dishes!

Lunch at Löwenbräu (1)

Lunch at Löwenbräu (5)

Lunch at Löwenbräu (8)

Lunch at Löwenbräu (9)

After lunch everyone came out of the woodwork (church?) and the place was humming with people so it was much more enjoyable but it was also getting too hot for us. All week it’s been cold in the morning and warm in the afternoon, but this was the first day we really felt sweaty and curbed some of out sightseeing in an effort to stay comfortable. It was over 23C when I checked.

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Leopoldsplatz

Baden-Baden is not that big and there is not a whole heck of a lot to do if you are not on a spa vacation, so even though we slowed down in the afternoon, we didn’t feel like we missed out and we still enjoyed our visit.

We stopped for one more drink neat the Trinkhalle (Pump Room) and then it was time to head back to Strasbourg.

Trinkhalle (4)

Trinkhalle (8)

Drinks at Café Bar Trinkhalle

We were back in Strasbourg by 5:30, went for a walk in the Old Town and found a terrific place to have supper outside – it was so atmospheric that I ate myself sick just to prolong the evening! (Plus I got a dose of my Gewürztraminer Vendange Tardive and some foie gras!!)

10. Supper on Sunday at Muensterstuewel (1) 10. Supper on Sunday at Muensterstuewel (3)

10. Supper on Sunday at Muensterstuewel (4)

10. Supper on Sunday at Muensterstuewel (5)

10. Supper on Sunday at Muensterstuewel (2)

We lingered long enough to get some night shots of the Cathedral after supper.  It’s so beautiful, I just can’t get enough of it!

Cathédrale Notre Dame de Strasbourg by Night (1)

Cathédrale Notre Dame de Strasbourg by Night (5)

Cathédrale Notre Dame de Strasbourg by Night (4)

That’s about covers it for today! Good night.

France Field Report 5 - Day 5

Steps today: 23 958 / almost 16km.   By the time I get up to turn off the lights, it will be at 24.

We spent the morning in Colmar – very nice city, worth the detour to see it’s charms, but I think a half-day is sufficient to appreciate it.

A few people I know have RAVED about the place, but I don’t see what they see… Yes it’s cute and quaint and pretty and charming but I maintain it’s lovely enough to spend a few hours wandering about – if the weather is nice enjoy a meal outdoors – but that’s about it.  I would not use it as a home base.

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La Petite Venise, Quai de la Poissonnerie (3)

La Petite Venise, Quai de la Poissonnerie (2)

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We enjoyed a lovely morning and left around noon to be back in Strasbourg for lunch.  Yet again we benefited by the location of our hotel being so perfectly situated between the train station and the Old Town so we were able to stop off and shed some layers before embarking on our afternoon adventures. (It’s cold in the morning, and melty hot in the afternoon sun)

Back in Strasbourg we started with an outdoor lunch in front of the the Cathedral, it was amazing. We found a restaurant with outdoor seating and I swear I had the best seat in the house! A full-on unobstructed view of the Cathedral, it was magnificent!!! Who cares what I ate - what can beat this view??

Cathédrale Notre Dame de Strasbourg (26)

I had a Tarte Flambée, the local speciality, it was really nothing special – I didn’t care for it that much either when I first tried it during our 2011 visit.  

7. Lunch on Saturday at Le Balsamo (2)

I much preferred the local WINE speciality! Gewürztraminer. More specifically the Vendange Tardive which is sweeter and is typically a dessert wine. (It reminds me of Sauternes which you know I LOOOOVE! Long live Nobel Rot)

7. Lunch on Saturday at Le Balsamo (3)

After lunch, we visited the inside of the Cathedral.

Cathédrale Notre Dame de Strasbourg (27)

Cathédrale Notre Dame de Strasbourg (31)

Cathédrale Notre Dame de Strasbourg (38)       Cathédrale Notre Dame de Strasbourg (37)      

Then, onwards to check the last thing off my Strasbourg to-do list: The Storks!

There is a Stork Park in the Orangerie, and a multitude storks nests all around the park. 6 years ago, I caught a glimpse of a wing from the tour bus and ever since I’ve been wanting to come back and see them properly! It was a success and the walk there was very pleasant with lots to see on the way.

Église réformée Saint-Paul (3)

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Bibliothèque nationale et universitaire de Strasbourg

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From there we walked over to European Parliament…

European Parliament (1)

European Parliament (2)

… and then it was time to find café and escape from the heat! It was 22C when I checked – too hot for me!! Plus: any excuse for more Gewürztraminer Vendange Tardive Winking smile

8. Drinks on Saturday at Café Brant (1)

We relaxed with a few drinks for about an hour, and then once we cooled down we continued back to the Old Town for dinner.  Perfect weather for eating outside, AND we found another resto with a full-on view of the Cathedral, AND they had crepes with cervelat on the menu. win-win-win.

Cathédrale Notre Dame de Strasbourg (40)

9. Supper on Saturday at La Cigogne (2)

9. Supper on Saturday at La Cigogne (3)

That’s it for today!

Good night!