The city of Strasbourg has been both french and German over the centuries but officially, as of now, Strausbourg is….
A classmate (from Columbia), turned friend, invited me to go to Strasbourg on an adventure and off we went. She traveled via one bus and I booked a fare for a bus 2 hours later with available seating–but we made sure we had the same return bus fare back into Karlsruhe, Germany.
Our adventures began by meeting at the Strasbourg-Muenster cathedral, easily located and seen from just about anywhere in the city–a great meeting point for us.
My friend had found online a free walking tour (with tips optional at the end, which is natural to do, of course!! Here is the link to find out more–it is legitimate as I did the tour.)
Our tour guide, speaking in English (the international language, of course) was a hoot but also very well informed–we saw and experienced a lot–and his favorite line was ‘Thank you, Germany’–why??
Well, as I said, Strasbourg over time has been swapped back and forth between being German and French, so naturally, a heavy German influence can be seen in the different phases and history of the city, from the architecture to some of the cusine–and many (not all) of the signs or items bear German names or wording–and anytime the tour guide showed up something historical or cool that isn’t ‘native’ french, he would exclaim ‘Thank you, Germany’, which leads into something a little more ironic…..
Many years ago, while a student at High Point University (High Point, North Carolina), an assignment led me to write an essay about Gutenburg, his press, and the influences it had on the literary influence of the world…skipping ahead to this week, I have been reading the book ‘The Book of Secrets’ by Tom Harper, a historical novel following the process in which Gutenburg started ‘toying’ with moveable type and the various places Gutenburg lived…which just happened to be in Strausbaurg (at the time it was part of Germany)…and as I stood on Gutenburg plaza, with the book in hand, printed by machines–by a German inovator in a once German city, having history come to life through the written word–and it came full circle today for me—
As my friend and were winding down, we were ravenous (despite snacking on stuffed crepes, goodies, fruit, etc) and took the advice of our tour guide and ate Flammkuchen at La Beire Academia Cathedral….and headed back to the bus depot afterwards to catch our bus…which was running 80 minutes late, accordingly to the digital status on the bus website…so we went back to our churh (yes, we claimed the church as our very own) and found a a comfortable spot to drink some warm tea and coffeee–and by doing so for 45 minutes, our very late bus came early…and requiring me to make a ‘please, come get us’ call to my German boyfriend…who came galloping over the Rhein from Germany to France to our rescue and only the words of our tour guide suffice—Thank you, Germany.