Merry Christmas everyone ! Writing this post in my hostel’s lobby, as I have a few hours to kill before I head to the train station and take it to Paris. Strange fact, I could have taken a train to Blois today with a million layovers, and it would have cost over 200 euros. Instead I found a train from Strasbourg to Paris for 30 euros, staying in a hotel for 40, then taking a train tomorrow for 14 euros. It’s smart to figure things out yourself rather than plug it in the train website generator !!
Okie, now onto my trip in Strasbourg. It’s an extremely lovely city, with a lot of German influence; knitted trees (yes people go around and knit urban places), bicycles as preferred method of transport, Alscaien food (sauerkraut, sausages, potato pancakes, local beer, German language). It reminded me a lot of my last Christmas in Europe when I stayed in Munich, which isn’t a huge surprise because Strasbourg has been owned by France and Germany back and forth.
Strasbourg is the official capital of Christmas ! I am not sure as to how this came about, but the amount of Christmas markets and decorations make it evident as to why it is the capital of Christmas now. As much as I love going to the markets and seeing all the different cuisines and ornaments (I drank a few or many hot wines), I do believe it is a tourist trap. I noticed all of the locals were lined up outside chocolate stores and bakeries to buy the same products they sell at the markets. I believe that the products at the market are not that fresh, and more expensive. They do have markets in certain parts of the city called “Golden Square” that defines the products as legit, best quality authentic items you can purchase.
I’m sorry but I’m not able to add captions to my photos easily on my iPad, I’ll add those when I’m home 🙂
In Novemeber, they arrested terriots in Strasbourg who were thought to have been planning something for December. With everything that has been going on in France + what just happened Monday in Berlin’s Christmas market, everyone was on edge, but prepared. All around center ville, there were road blocks with French police and national guard. They checked inside all of your belongings, and closer to Christmas you even had to take off your coat. Walking around centre ville was the national guard full uniform with machine guns. It’s a very strange experience that I had to get used to last time I was in Europe, but everything that is irrelevant to you in the U.S. becomes relevant when people with machine guns are walking around. I visited Notre Dame cathedral a few days earlier and asked about the midnight mass. The woman said this year is very different given everything that is happening, and that I had to arrive 2 hours before church at 10pm, at the side entrance. All around the cathedral was road blocks, national guard vans, and again a machine gun at every corner of the cathedral. Everyone was security checked before entering. I honestly don’t know how to describe how bizarre and eye opening it is to experience this by just going to mass. I’m so incredibly thankful for all the security and that everyone is safe ❤