|Welcome to France, commence pastry gorge - Photo by Wasabi Prime|
Our first official French city was Strasbourg, which, yes, sounds very German. It means "the town at the crossing of roads," which is especially meaningful, as the official language is of course French, but most streets are in both French and German, the residents are bilingual and you'll have as much of a chance to find schnitzel and beer as you would croissant. But it's definitely French at heart -- despite what Paris may claim -- the French national anthem, La Marsellaise, originated in Strasbourg. The anthem's original title was Chat de guerre pour l'Armee du Rhin, the War Song for the Army of the Rhine.
|German pretzels, French patisseries and boulangeries, and a golden goose - Photos by Wasabi Prime|
|Sightseeing to stir an appetite - Strasbourg's Notre Dame Cathedral - Photos by Wasabi Prime|
|Pastry-browsing and flammekuchen-eating - Photos by Wasabi Prime|
|Touring Strasbourg through their canals - beautiful, even on a rainy day - Photo by Wasabi Prime|
|Visiting quaint wine villages and eating our fill of flammekuchen in every form - Photos by Wasabi Prime|
|Storks are totally metal in European folklore - Photos by Wasabi Prime|
It was also where we were like, "What's with the storks...?" The legend of the stork delivering babies originated in Alsace and considered a symbol of the region, but of course, like all Old World stories, the original tale is kind of intense. People believed storks were the birds who could deliver the souls of the dead who are reincarnated as newborns. The storks are welcomed as signs of fertility and prosperity, and perches are set up on buildings to encourage their rather ginormous nests. While we were visiting late in the year, we managed to see one stork who decided to hang out a little longer into the fall, which was a rare and special sight to see. The takeaway from all this was that storks are pretty metal in Alsace.
|More pastries and old world charm in Alsatian villages - Photos by Wasabi Prime|
|Wine tasting at the so very foxy Maison Zimmer - Photos by Wasabi Prime|
We picked up a few bottles (not foxes) to bring home; we had some interesting wines that are very unlike the versions we have in the States. Maison Zimmer's Gewurztraminer was dry, on the tart side, but refreshing, unlike the sweeter styles we're used to here. I admired, but sadly did not bring back any traditional Roemer wine glasses, which was the preferred and traditional glassware to enjoy the local vintages. We were lugging back a goodly amount of wine and I feared breakage, since these glasses are quite delicate. Originally all-green in the early days of the Holy Roman Empire due to impurities in the local sand, the Roemer glasses' color was kept as the process was refined. It became a visual symbol of the region, also called "forest glass." The wide mouth was a French influence, as it was believed it would enhance the floral bouquet of the wines.
|A parting view of France and our trip doth endeth! - Photo by Wasabi Prime|