Thursday, July 12, 2012

A belated and perhaps incoherent recap of a weekend

NOTE: please excuse my incoherence and lack of accent use. 

When I told my advisor that I will be going to Lausanne for the summer, she told me to check out Strasbourg. Well, that didn’t sound like a bad idea – after all, I know someone who’s doing an internship there, don’t I? Therefore, a little whimsically but not completely randomly, I chose to visit Strasbourg (and therefore Noah) this weekend.

Strasbourg is about 3.5 hours from Lausanne by train. I first took the “tilting train” (it’s pretty cool… train tilts when turning to be able to go faster) to Basel, which is the city at the Swiss-French-German border. Then, I took the Alsace regional train to get to Strasbourg. The trains were comfy and sleepy Sumin had a pleasant, peacefully asleep train ride.

Within minutes of getting off my train, I met up with Noah (yay!) and we walked to his place. Here were my thoughts while walking:
1.       Strasbourg is SO LARGE
3.       So many restaurants! And the food looks tasty!
5.       More pretty buildings! And I’m still walking…how big is this city?

By the time I left Strasbourg became a little less frightening and large, which probably has something to do with the fact that Noah and I walked around a lot on Saturday.

Walking around was interesting – Noah took me to the street that had a produce market, and it was hard to resist buying fruits and veggies that I probably cannot carry back home (just imagine me with my backpack and carrying an armful of produce on the train…. No I don’t think so). There’s a cathedral in Strasbourg (1. Surprise! 2. It used to be the tallest building in the world until 1874, and is now the 6th tallest church in the world) and we went up to the viewing platform after looking around the interior. There were a lot of stairs, but Noah and I successfully conquered them and were able to look at the city. There, I learned that 1. Wind is really great 2. Strasbourg is filled with small, pretty buildings 3. Mountains and forests look about the same from really far away, and 4. Noah is quite photogenic.

Although it was a very hot day, there were many interesting things to see on the streets. There were many people dressed in medieval costumes and dancing to medieval music being blasted from speakers. The vendors of the produce market were also dressed in costumes. There was also a large flock of geese, which Noah and I originally spotted in a pen. Later, we saw a guy in costume with a wooden flute leading the flock of geese in the streets as a part of a little parade of dressed-up people.  I must say, that was the cleanest and happiest-looking flock of geese I have ever seen. According to Noah’s friend and Noah, Strasbourg is celebrating some liberation from some bishop or something this July. I’m not exactly sure what the celebration is for, but it was fun to see people and geese.

Eventually it became too hot and Noah and I escaped to the library, which was super nice and air-conditioned. I highly recommend this library as a tourist attraction, with its collection of all genres of books, personal DVD-watching units (I think they were for DVD), and nice, simple design with comfy chairs. Noah and I went to the theatre section and read for a while (I read Romeo and Juliet – in English – and it was way too cheesy). Afterwards we grabbed THE BEST SANDWICH EVER, chilled, and ended up at the museum of modern and contemporary art, which was also super nice and awesome. I have come to the conclusion that museums in Strasbourg are pretty awesome – on Sunday, the museums were free because it was the first Sunday of the month, and we went to the archeology museum and the decorative arts museum. It was pretty crazy seeing all the artifacts they found in Alsace,  since every archeology museum I had been to presented things from far far away lands.

All the sightseeing and walking around was pretty great, but I don’t think this trip would’ve been as good if it weren’t for the food. For dinner on Saturday, we had tartines , which are basically the outcome of taking a slice of good bread, putting stuff on top, and baking it. For lunch on Sunday, we went to a tarte flambee (a famous Alsatian dish where one takes some kind of dough, put crème fraiche, onions, and bacon pieces on it, and bake in a brick oven) place. Compared to the expensive food in Switzerland (Erin can tell you all about this), I was so grateful for the reasonably-priced, delicious food.
I really enjoyed looking around Strasbourg and it was good hanging out with Noah (I was a little deprived of interactions with students my age). To end this post, I would like share these following realizations:
1.       So you think you can dance is a pretty great show. (Noah and I watched an episode and it was so good!)
2.       Goat cheese is very yummy, especially on tartines and tarte flambees.

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