Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Wanderlust Wednesday: Strasbourg, France

Wanderlust: a strong, innate desire to rove or travel about.

I've been wanting to start a feature like this for some time now, so yesterday I said to myself "I'm in Europe! Traveling away! What better time than now, when I'm actually experiencing new cultures?" 
So my first pick is going to be Strasbourg.

 Strasbourg is a very quaint city located in Northern France. According to Wikipedia they have a population of 272,975 which is very relaxing compared to Paris' 10,354,675. The city is filled with rivers and gorgeous old-style architecture and there are tons of restaurants and shops lining the streets. It has a wonderful combination of French and German culture, due to the number of times the city changed ownership due to war.

 This is a staple of the city centre, an old church called "Notre Dame". I believe it was named after the Notre Dame in Paris. Our tour guide told us a brilliant story behind the wind/chills of the church courtyard. I can't do her version justice, so here is what I found on Wikipedia.
"The legend of the wind blowing around the cathedral is as follows: In olden days, the Devil flew over the ground, riding the wind. Thus he caught a glimpse of his portrait carved onto the cathedral: the Tempter, courting the foolish virgins (Matthew 25:1-13), in the guise of a seductive young man. It is true that his back opens up and toads and snakes come out of it, but none of the na├»ve girls notices that — nor do many tourists for that matter. Very flattered and curious, the Devil had the idea to enter to see whether there were other sculptures representing him on the inside of the cathedral. Taken captive inside the holy place, he could not come back out. The wind always waits in the square and still howls today from impatience on the places outside the cathedral. The Devil, furious, makes air currents from the bottom of the church to the height of the pillar of angels."
 There is also an island in Strasbourg known as "Petite France". Apparently the then German-owned city referred to the island as Petite France because that was where all the sick and diseased people lived and, being German, they believed that the French were the cause of all the illnesses. According to some research it was also a very popular area for prostitution, which is more likely the reasoning behind the diseased citizens.

Overall, it was a beautiful city. I was only there for 2 days but I wish I could have stayed for weeks! It was incredibly refreshing and everyone we met was very nice, even though everyone in my group only spoke English.

What do you think?

What are some of the top places on your travel list?


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