Day 161 – 169
November 7 – 15, 2010
We got up to Strasbourg and Judy and I only had about 3 full days together. Judy was returning to the US on November 11. She was kind enough though to offer me her room in her shared apartment until the end of the month since it was already paid in full. Such a tempting offer! Free accommodations?! But time was of the essence and actually, I had already bought a ticket to Turkey flying out from Basil airport located in Switzerland, only an hour train ride away. So, unfortunately, I couldn’t take her up on her offer but what a great way to see a part of France for almost free!
So my days in Strasbourg were numbered. My time with Judy came and went that it felt like we only had a day to spend together. Actually she was really busy trying to finish up work and tie up loose ends before leaving. The day after we returned from Paris, we ended up sleeping in and she didn’t go into work the next day! oopsies. I felt bad because I knew she had a lot to do. AND to make matters worst, if we took advantage of this time together and explored the city, it would not have been lost in vain but we ended up just lounging around – my new favorite pastime on this trip! We finally left the house at about 4PM but by then, everything was more or less closed; they seem to work on their own clock here.
The relatively quaint and unpretentious city of Strasbourg is actually a big deal. It is the official seat for the European Parliament as well as some other notable European institutions. According to wikipedia.org, it is also home to the Council of Europe, European Court of Human Rights, European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines and its European Audiovisual Observatory, Eurocorps and the European Ombudsman of the European Union. Who would have known? Strasbourg has found itself under not only French rule but German rule too and in early days even came under rule of the Holy Roman Empire. Its close proximity to both Germany and Switzerland gives the town an international feel which seems absent from most other French locales.
On our first night, Judy and I dined at a creperie which was okay. I was already starting to eat less and realized that I am not much a fan of savory type crepes. I barely finished my order of crepe though somehow we still had room for dessert?! The second night, Judy took me to a cozy restaurant that specialized in L'onglet de boeuf à échalotte. The best way for me to describe this dish is that it’s thin pieces of rare beef. Bloody meat doesn’t scare me too much but I suppose if you like your steaks well done then you wouldn’t be able to enjoy this. This dish was excellent especially for the price of about $40 per person. Included in the set course: beef, salad and french fries. Yum. Of course to thoroughly enjoy the meal, I needed to partake it with my travel chopsticks. This meal I couldn’t finish either which was fine because I much preferred to eat this with rice! So I forcefully finished the fries and took the rest home for dinner the following night.
L'onglet de boeuf à échalotte
Before I knew it, Judy was leaving and I woke up early on the morning of the 11th to see her off! It’s always so sad to say ‘good-bye’ but like our last meeting in Russia, only two months prior, I knew it wouldn’t be too long before we saw each other again. I’m so grateful for the friendship I have with Judy. Not only is she a great travel companion but she’s like the big sis that always makes sure that I am okay. Thanks Judy!
Of course as soon as she was off, I curled back in bed! Weather forecast wasn’t so great but anyway I envisioned spending the rest of my time writing and catching up on my blog. I was also trying to see if I could book some tickets to Lithuania for the New Year. While I was trying to find a ticket, Antonia was also working on getting hers. In the end, I found a reasonably priced ticket to Lithuania via Belgium and via France on the way back. If I didn’t have to pay for bags, I could have done the trip for about $100 but because I would be taking 2 flights going and 2 flights back, I would need to spend an additional €15 for one checked-in bag PER trip totaling €60 ($80!). Feeling under pressure and not knowing that I could add on the bag option later, I purchased baggage for two flights then realize it was too much and that I didn’t want to spend another €30 so I did the obvious damage control, I didn’t purchase the baggage for the other flights. It was a bit retarded because I could take a bag from Belgium to Lithuania and a bag from Lithuania to France. Going was not a problem because I could always bring gifts from Belgium to Lithuania but if I wanted to bring gifts from Lithuania back to Spain, I couldn’t; I’d have to dump them off in France during my two hour layover. Anyway, I felt better having lost some money rather than all; I would still try to see if I could recoup my money from the airlines. Now the only other issue was finding someone in Spain to help me with storing my bag.
Although I would have preferred to stay in, Judy kept encouraging me to go out and explore the town. I really didn’t want to especially since it looked cloudy. But she was right. As much as I wanted to catch up on my blog, I was there in Strasbourg, I should go out and explore! So, per her advice, I walked to see the European Parliament and then the following day walked to see an area known as Petite France. The scenery was beautiful and I’m glad Judy played the guilt trip on me! I got to take some gorgeous shots of Strasbourg!
All in all, I got to catch up on some blogs (2?) and explore the beautiful town of Strasbourg. It was the first time in a long while that I was able to relax and feel completely safe with my valuables sprawled out. Thanks Judy for the much needed time to rejuvenate even though you weren’t there with me the whole time! All in all great week in Strasbourg and tomorrow I’d be going back to the Middle East – Turkey (is that considered the Middle East?) I was excited for the trip, I just needed to make sure I got to the airport - an hour away - to catch my 10:20AM flight!