Thursday, March 23, 2023

Waking Up in France

It took us roughly five hours to fly SFO-JFK, and roughly six hours to fly JFK-CDG. One longer flight would have allowed us to sleep better, but we persevered in our AA 777-200 flatbed seats.

We landed at CDG just after 6AM. That area of the airport is lacking in eateries and we were lucky to find a 15-Euro continental breakfast in the Sheraton Hotel’s restaurant. It was about €2.50 a pastry, not counting juice and coffee.

We still had nearly three hours to wait for our train to Strasbourg, and managed to find a couple of seats where we could occupy ourselves watching the passing parade to and from the basement train station - Asians, Africans, miscellaneous other tourists, and some French people as well.

Eventually our TGV train arrived and two hours later we were disembarking in Strasbourg, a city we last visited in 2014.

We took an Uber from La Gare to the Hilton Strasbourg, where a room was ready. The room is too hot and next door is a major construction site. 

We didn’t care. We were exhausted. After a two-hour nap we ventured down to the Executive Lounge for some quiche and Dopff Cremant d’Alsace, a winery we’d visited on our previous trip.

We made it back to our room, and slept hard until 6AM. After a good breakfast in the restaurant, we’re ready to brave the rainy weather forecast with our two travel umbrellas and explore Strasbourg’s Old Town.

An Uber ride later and we’re wandering around the scenic area adjacent to the magnificent Strasbourg Cathedral.

It’s impressive inside as well.

We later enjoy a scenic boat ride on the River Ill, a tributary of the Rhine.

Both the cherry blossoms and the tourists are out.

Even by European standards, this is an historical region.

After the boat tour and some more strolling, we find a small restaurant, Au Petit Tonnelier, for an enjoyable lunch.

We share a Foie Gras appetizer.

Then it’s duck for Kathy and pork for Brian.

The friendly young Albanian-born waiter advises us a “manifestation” (demonstration) is about to start, so we retreat to our hotel.

We get a notice that our Saturday train to Colmar has been canceled. It’s only a half hour ride on a regional train, and we’ll have to consider our options.

First, an afternoon nap seems in order.

Two hours later, we hear continuous sirens in the distance, along with faint booms that could be exploding tear gas canisters. Our waiter might have been right. It’s a good evening to stay smug in the Executive Lounge.

No comments: