The French Borders were just minutes away and we thought it would be shame to be so close and not visit Strasbourg. Actually, the … touch-and-go trip there had been informally planned among us and our dear friends in Karlsruhe months in advance, but the bad weather prevented us from giving it a thumps-up when we arrived in Karlsruhe.
In the end, emotion prevailed over logic and we decided to give it a go!
We took the 9.33 train from Karlsruhe HauptBahnhof and with an intended trip of 37 minutes with the superfast TGV, the pride of France and Europe, we would arrive in Strasbourg just in time for a proper brunch with the kids.
The trip with the train was awesome. The kids had gone ballistic being able to sit on the upper … deck of the train and we had a great time seeing them looking through the glass window – and the glued drops of rain – to lands, houses, nature and places they had never seen before. I had my 10-minute recollection of my past…life, chatting about my impressions of my travels in Japan around a decade ago, after meeting a Japanese engineer seated next to me in the train who was working for Honda and visiting friends in Europe for some days.
When we arrived in Strasbourg we were informed (when we inquired) in the train station that the options for our return trip to Karlsruhe were either restricted or too expensive, so we decided to splash some cash and make it back with the 13.47 train, 1st class! The proper brunch vanished into ashes!
Once we stepped out of the train station we composed a quick ‘n’ dirty plan and set off for our crash course on Strasbourg. We made a quick pit-stop in an open-on-Sunday mini market as we were feeling slightly peckish, got some food for us and the kids and continued.
Our first informal stop was in a small alley where we friskily ate our on-the-go brunch, fed the kids and then made our official first stop in the Saint Pierre le Vieux church. The mass was ongoing so we found – even the kids – 5 minutes of serenity. We exited and through a quick walk we made it to τηε impressive Kleber square. We got some photos and then as if a flood of tourists immediately appeared in front of us, we arrived in the main Cathedral just to find too many people that had the same idea with us – visit the Cathedral. What is more, the Cathedral was not going to open before 12.00 so we decided we could not afford to waste more time to wait. We bought some memorabilia for our collections – and i remember getting cross with the lady as she would foolishly insist not to give me two cheaper than cheap paper bags to fold my memorabilia which I got in the end), walked around the truly impressive cathedral and then decided to stop in a I cannot-get-more-touristic bistro. There we had a Weiss beer, a coffee, an orange juice and then we walked towards the river.
Our final destination was Petit France. Strasbourg had made a very good impression as the buildings created a typical central European atmosphere. But Petit France was even better. This Alsatian characteristics and architecture and the truly beautiful timbered houses realty made me love this neighbourhood! I wished we had more time to find a cosy table on one of the balconies and enjoy a local dish with some beer.
Before leaving we bought some local chocolate delicatessen, changed nappies in Alexander and then as I looked at my watch and saw It was already 13.00, we decided to call it a day!
We made it to the train station, waited for our train and when we found our 1st class seats and let the kids sleep, we relaxed on our seats and enjoyed our trip back to Karlsruhe with the super fast TGV and its mind-boggling speed (246km/h).