It was quite the journey just getting to Strasbourg, France from Charleston, South Carolina. First there were the flights from Charleston to Atlanta, and Atlanta to Paris Charles de Gaulle. Then there was the taxi ride through the worst rain storm Paris has ever seen, then a few hours to kill at Gare de l’Est train station, and the comfortable high speed train to Strasbourg. From there, it was just a short taxi ride to our hotel, the Strasbourg Hilton, which is not far from the historic center (just a couple of tram stops to the north). Once we got there, we could finally relax, and settle into our first evening in Strasbourg.
After setting things up in the hotel room a bit – you know, hanging up shirts in the closet and putting the tooth brush in the bathroom, et cetera – we were ready to head into “town.” That is, we were going to take our first stab at taking Strasbourg’s tram to the Grand Ile, the rather compact island where life in Strasbourg began, and where most of the historic things in the city are concentrated (the cathedral, museums, and so on). We later discovered that you can buy individual tram tickets (with exact change) at most of the stops, but to be sure, we got some from the concierge desk of the hotel (they were happy to just add them to our hotel bill – how nice is that?). And once we oriented ourselves upon leaving the hotel, we found the three block walk to the Lycée Kléber tram stop very short indeed.
Four stops, and maybe fifteen minutes later, we were in the heart of the Grand Ile. And good thing too, because we were hungry, and it was in fact dinner time, and we found a restaurant nearby – called Kohler-Rehm, it sits right on the eastern edge of one of the city’s main squares, Place Kléber. We sat down, and I ordered a typical Alsatian dish, Choucroute garnie – pork products like sausage and boiled potatoes stewed with sauerkraut (that’s the “choucroute” part of the name). Above you see a photo of my dinner. Gets me hungry all over again just looking at it!
Once we had some dinner, the gravity of all we had done that day just in getting to Strasbourg started weighing on us. So we put off further exploration for the next day, and hopped back onto the tram, and fell right into bed once we were back at the Hilton. A long exhausting day, but with a very satisfying finish.