I had always wanted to spend at least one Christmas in the Northern Hemisphere. Even in Australia we have images of Christmas with snow. Imagine my unrestrained delight as the TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse) sped towards Strasbourg in Alsace and I looked out and saw snow in the fields and forests. I am not sure what the other passengers made of my excitement and incessant photo-taking. Of course the photos are really not much more than a blur.
Not quite so exciting was having to descend from the train in the Arctic conditions when we reached Strasbourg. By now it was actually snowing. I was rather pleased with my foresight in booking Hotel Cathedrale directly opposite the cathedral and surrounded by Christmas markets. What's more there is a bath so I can duck back to the room for a long, hot soak between checking out the markets.
|Our hotel is the blue building|
We started our visit with the Cathedral so that we could see the nativity scene and the special exhibitions of tapestries and Neapolitan figurines. The tapestries were extraordinarily well-preserved with their colours and patterns still very clear.
Although it was very cold, I enjoyed wandering around the market. Storeholders and visitors alike were good-natured. I found the mulled wine too sweet for my taste but I did enjoy one of the best crepes I have ever bought on the street. It was huge and topped with cinnamon sugar. Delicious and very warming. The markets sell Christmas decorations, foods such as pain d'épice (although I am not sure if they are as good as Aussie in France's
homemade one), bredle, macaroons, etc and handicrafts.
|So much better than going to the local discount store to buy a tree|
|One very large Christmas tree|
|View from our hotel|
Dinner at Dôme Café was rather unremarkable. The prices were slightly higher than I saw elsewhere but it was warm and convenient. The vegetable soup was a little too watery and the flammekueche of cream, onions and bacon was crispy and generously proportioned but somewhat lacking in taste. I did however really enjoy my glass of champagne.