Strasbourg, France was our first “big city” stop, population around 880,000. It is the capital of the Alsace Region of France and the seat of the European Parliament and other institutions such as the European Council, giving its outskirts a more typical commercial urban feel as contrasted with its historical sections.
I had expected the Alsace wine-growing region to have an appearance similar to that of our familiar California wine country, but, with primarily corn being grown in the fields on the side of the road it was much more Iowa-like in appearance.
Storks are the symbol of the City of Strasbourg, representing the return of new life in the Spring. Apparently an old legend holds that if a child wanted a baby brother or sister, they would put a sugar cube on the window ledge to lure in the stork (presumably with baby in beak). Just wanted to warn you all. Unfortunately my stork photos taken from a bus window were too blurry to share.
In 1518 Strasbourg was the site of the rather dramatic Dancing Plague. Apparently in a period of four days up to 400 persons burst into spontaneous and frenetic dancing, some dying of heart attack, stroke and exhaustion as a result. It was believed the plague was a natural disease caused by “hot blood” and bleedings were prescribed as a cure.
Strasbourg is known for its Gothic cathedral which was bgun in the 12th Century and finished (as cathedral finishing goes) in 1439.
Some Quick Observations:
This was the first place we encountered any “street people” in Europe
Even in the larger cities there were many streets closed off for pedestrian traffic, making the shopping, dining, and mingling experience much more pleasant