Strasbourg

Off to Strasbourg. Longer trip, 1.5 hours, more interesting countryside and canals. The cathedral here has is undergoing a big clean (there has been a major program all of France it seems). The stone here is not the very pale sand colour of elsewhere, more of a red. The spire is very finely carved and really is impressive. Because the old town still crowds right up close the walls, the height is accentuated.

Nice things to visit include the astrological clock. Be sure to get there before 11:30 so you can see it go through the full cycle of figure movement (it only does it once a day). The clock is a full analogue computer capable of correctly computing the date for Easter including all of the calendar “issues” (leap years and the like).

You really have to climb the spire. For me the most interesting things were “graffiti”. Visiting army officers and clerics back to the 1500’s having added sections. Clearly there was a “buy a stone” type deal at some point judging by the complexity and quality of some of the work.

The archaeological museum is worth a visit. We chose it over the fine arts (not enough time). Because the area is rich in grave history (going back before the iron age) they have a large collection of grave goods and a good discussion of the changing role of death in society. Surprisingly this was told from a very secular point of view which is not that common here.

Had dinner in a local cafe, tried some local deals, Alsace Hamburger and Tarte Flambe (which is a kind of very thin pizza). Well enjoyed. The down side? We missed our train. The really down side, next train was 5:58, …AM, and that would not get to Metz till 7:40, which is after the Arcelor bus leaves. So after some hastily found accommodation (French local hotel, you have to try them, rooms smaller than you thought possible…it was pretty good actually, just don’t compare on price) we had a good nights sleep and made it back.