05.03.2020 - 09.03.2020 7 °C
The rain followed us from Colmar to Strasbourg and as we left we saw unfortunately there had been another train derailment this time the line from Strasbourg to Paris. It didn’t impact us yet as we transitioned from Colmar.
Arriving at Gare de Strasbourg, a large terminal including trains, buses and trams we ended up catching a taxi to our apartment which was in the Grand Isle, in pedestrian only streets and we could see the Notre Dame Cathedral spire from our window. After settling in, we headed out to look around at the river, the outside of Palais Rohan and the Notre Dame square, blustery and wet we finished our sightseeing for the day.
The following day our mission was to see Petite France, a lovely pedestrian area of colourful medieval and Renaissance houses near the river that formerly housed fishermen and tanners and are now shops and homes. The weather was fitting for ducks, who were swimming in the river, as it was drizzling wet and extremely cold with a real feel of 0 degrees. Near the Petite France area there is the Pont Couverts (Covered Bridge). There are three towers remaining that are no longer covered but still impressive that were fortified to defend the town. Opposite the covered bridges is the Vauban dam with the barrage built of pink sandstone, we walked on the terrace and the inside of the barrage which is a well used pedestrian walkway. The afternoon was spent out of the rain looking through Galleries Layfette and other stores.
On the Saturday, it was a cold start but the sun was out and we made, like many others, full use of the day walking around. We found one of the old port gates which is near a magnificent health and hospital precinct, St Paul’s Church which is picturesque in its position from the river, the swans that gracefully swim the strong river currents, different squares including the student quarters and also Saint Thomas’ church on Rue Martin Luther. A street food lunch sufficed - Strasbourg sausages, fromage, sauerkraut topped with mustard in a baguette meant we could eat and walk the French markets full of fresh produce, flowers, antiquities and second hand items.
Sunday was our last full day in Strasbourg and after a later start and a windy day, we decided to walk around the grand isle river. This meant we got to see other key Strasbourg buildings and monuments along the way including one that celebrated wine and the role of Strasbourg in the creation and distribution of wine. In the afternoon we visited the Notre Dame cathedral also of sandstone in a pink hue and is said to have the largest gothic spire in Europe. The cathedral has glorious stained glass windows, an ancients astronomical clock and is known for its rose window. Well worth the wait and braving the cold and windy square for a visit.
On Monday morning an early start for the day, as we walked to the train station and saw that the first train for the morning to Paris had been cancelled and waited to see that our train had been delayed and would also be further delayed on the line. As we were advised on the train our eta in Paris we knew even with a short walk from one station to the next we would miss our connecting train to London. Highly recommend Eurostar, in their stride re-ticketed us and a few others after us, for the next train, so we headed through the customs process, and then waited with some lunch before boarding the train to London. The train trip was easy and the volume of people a change to what we have been used to more recently. On arriving at Saint Pancreas station, it was exciting to see the black cabs as we joined the queue for a taxi. Unfortunately our taxi was blue, but our cabbie provided us with excellent commentary and tips for our local area, he also gave us a photo opportunity of driving a London cab. We are staying a 5 minute walk from the Tower of London and Tower Bridge - both amazing sights on a very cold, wet and windy London afternoon.