Strasbourg, France

July 22-26, 2021

An extraordinary melange of French and German influences, old Rhine imperialism now home to the EU parliament, Goethe romanticism, influencers like Albert Schweitzer (a minister there for some time), fine Alsatian food and French wine. My kind of town—mixed green salads with subtle vinaigrette dressings come with just about everything. Choucroute is their sauerkraut, again a more subtly preserved version than its German cabbage cousin.

Fashionable, sophisticated—lots of boutiques, stunning home furnishings stores, cafes, patio restaurants and bars. Some well-dressed folk, most are very casual. Sun-burned and smoking--lots--that takes getting used to. Saw many women keeping their masks when not in use on their arms, sort of around their elbows. Keeps from digging into your pocket or bag, since masks are de rigueur inside anywhere.

Architecture from Medieval and Gothic to German neoclassic to Art Nouveau. Streets named for the trades and guilds that made the city on the Rhine and Ill Rivers a trading hub in the Middle Ages. City survived many wars, is home to a cathedral as old as Notre Dame, and looks like a mix of Paris, modern Rome, Lisbon, Munich. The city center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Bikes and skateboards need some getting used to; teens are bold after 10 pm. Still, folks are respectful; we felt safe walking around at all hours.