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Written on: Friday April 13th, 2007

A journal entry from: Rouen

Today I travelled to Strasbourg, which is in the Alsace region of France.  The train took up most of my day getting to paris and then paris to Strasbourg.  After arriving at the station, it was a little difficult to find the hostel, but after sometime I found it.  After dropping my stuff off, I set out to explore.  The construction of the city is pretty interesting with the city being situated on the Ill River.  The Ill river creates a moat around the main part of the city, Grand Ile.I crossed the river from my hostel to enter the Grand Ile and ended up by Place Broglie, which had an afternoon produce market.  From here I wandered until I arrived at the Cathedral.  This cathedral is distinctfully different from most of the cathedrals in France such as the one in Rouen.  The color is darker and more rusty looking due to the use of sandstone.  Around the Cathedral is the main hub of the city, with little cafes, souvenir shops and street performers crowded along the square.  I continued to wander until I found the other side of city and arrived at the river by Palais Rohan where I saw boat tours, which I boat a ticket for the next day.  Next I wandered alonf the Grand Rue where I found a cafe and ordered a Quiche.  I love Quiche, and I ordered it at one of the first restuarants I went to in Rouen and I did not like it at all, so I have been avoiding it since.  However, it looked good so I tried it, and it was amazing.  It was a perfect creamy Quiche Lorraine much like the one my father makes.  After I wandered to Petite France, which is at the end of the Grand Ile and is made up of medieval half timbered houses.  After exploring this small area I continued to wander around the city until I got some sense of the whole city.  The city had a very relaxed feeling and it was not packed or as crowded as I expected it to be.  

I woke up the next morning to take a walk along the River Ill and outside of the Grand Ile to where the EU Institutions are located.  Strasbourg is the seat of the Council of Europe, European Court of Human Rights and the European Parliament.  I walked along the River Ill and these three buildings were at the intersection of the River Ill.  After walking here I walked down Avenue de L'Europe and stopped by the Parc De L'Orangerie.  This park was beautiful.  It was large and very spacious and there were beautiful flowers and statues that adorned the greens.  I sat in the parc for awhile and read.  After here I walked to the Jardin Botanique, which wasnt as large and green as the Orangerie.  After I decided to get out of the heat for a bit and roamed around a shopping mall.  After the mall I walked around the Grand Ile and stopped by the department stores.  After, I bought some ice cream and headed back to the hostel for a quick nap before my boat tour at 5:45.  The Boat tour was fun and brought us along the River Ill and around the Grand Ile and even to the European Institutions.  My favorite part of the tour was going through the Locks.  Locks are devices that lift/lower boats to different  levels of water. After the tour I went to Barrage Vauban to watch the sun set over the city.  I had a beautiful panoramic view of the Grand Ile.  

Overall, I enjoyed my trip to Strasbourg.   The town had a peaceful and laidback atmosphere.  Strasbourg obviously a french city, but it did have a distinctly different feel.  Travelling to Strasbourg made me realize how much I trully enjoy travelling France.  France is an amazing country to discover because most people who think of France, immediately think Paris.  Don't get me wrong, I love Paris, however, the city does not fully embody what France is.  To really get to scratch the surface of France you have to explore the diverse regions to begin to understand the complexity of the culture and history rich nation. Every place I have seen in France has its own distict culture, but still exhibits the French attitude of life.