European Travel

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Strasbourg, France

Just for a different flavor we decided to make a trip 1 hour west to cross the French border. This is the Alasce Region caught on between the borders of France and Germany. It's lovely and the wine is sweet. We did find a nice red and some dry whites we enjoyed (go figure, me finding wine). Joe also enjoyed a yummy drink the waitress recommended, but I forget it's name. I plug that back in here another day.
Strasbourg is home to the breathtaking Roman Catholic Cathedral of Our Lady of Strasbourg. This is an exellent example of Gothic architecture. Arriving late Friday night, Joe, the boys & I walked down to have a late supper and found a nice open air cafe' sitting in the footprint of the cathedral. To our surprise (an delight) a wonderful light show set to music is held at 10:30 each evening in July & August on the facade of the cathedral. It's spirers, oriel windows (I had to look that one up) & carved statues are all illuminated on cued with powerful orchestral music. It took my breath away...
The next day, we discovered that all the museum in the city were free on this first Sunday of the month! (Gallaghers are lucky that's why I like hanging out with them ;0). This included the viewing gallery of the cathedral itself. We climbed 61 meters up a very narrow stairwell to a view deck just below the main spirer.
It is a commanding view of the entire city.

We toured quite a few of the museums and lunched at another cafe' just before it began to rain (see I told you Gallaghers are lucky). In celebration of the rain, Joe and I drank two big beers each and had a nice buzy going. The helped with uphill walk home.

Earlier we drove to Colmar France to visit the Unterlinden Museum which houses a compelling altar peice by Grunewald. Joe, Ryan and I listened to the head sets and found out that these paintings were created to help the infirmed deal with their painful sufferings during the Middle Ages. I guess seeing these horrifically graphic biblical scenes would remind the sick how much worse it could be? I can tell you it wouldn't have give me much comfort! The altar peice folds in different directions so the hospital staff could change the display for the patience. There was a small example for you to manipulate to experience Grunewald's design -- Colin & Jon found this fascinating.
Walking throught the streets in Colmar in "Little Venice" we happened upon a boat tour depicting how farmers use to float there wares down stream to market.
The boys really enjoyed this tour -- bonus kids ride for free. Whoever said the French aren't nice to Americans.
However, even wit all this culture, history, and architectural marvel, when asked, the boys will tell you the best part of their trip to France is the Fountain. Running throught water in your boxer shorts in a public park seems to provide enjoyment for boys throughout there life -- I won't mention any names.

Monday, August 3, 2009


Trier is a lovely little town in the Rhines-plafz region of Germany. It hugs the Mosel River and boasts delicious dry and sweet white wines. We took the train from Landstuhl to Trier and spent the night in a hostel located a few hundred steps to the Market Plaza. Touring Trier on a nice summer day allowed us to see many sites. The town is built on the ruins of ancient Roman City complete with baths and an amphitheatre. The main attraction is a well preserved gate that marked the entrance of the Roman town. It is called Porta Nigra. Joe is enjoying the view from gate over the modern city. The amphitheatre has an underground passage, that Joe and the boys were brave enough to explore (count me out!). The hostel was, well, a hostel, but it was cheap and a super location!

Our First Few Trips in Europe

Burg Nanstein is the local castle in Landstuhl. We hike here on our second nite in Germany. The boys enjoyed the ruins and the view. Joe and I enjoyed a beer.


Here we are jet lagged and happy. Behind us is the town of Landstuhl.

Burg Nanstein pictured from Bismark Turm.
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