Did you know that traveling around Europe is easy?
This past weekend, my program sponsored a trip to Strasbourg, France, so a couple of my friends and I signed up. Despite having to travel almost halfway across Germany we made it to Strasbourg in four hours! I was shocked.
In case you though Europe was huge.
Once we made it to Strasbourg, we immediately took a city tour… by boat. One of the important things to realize about Strasbourg is its position by the Rhine River. This proximity to such an important river is part of the reason that it has flip-flopped four times between Germany and France four times before finally settling as a French city.
Having been traded between these two cultures for so long, the city’s culture is a unique mix of French and German food, architecture, speakers, signs, clothes, and much more.
“Strasbourg is the best of German culture with the best of Franch cuisine”
– Unidentified Strasbourg Citizen
While Strasbourg is famous for being this mixture of German and French culture, it also has some pretty famous landmarks. Among a number of cathedrals, the most famous is Strasbourg Cathedral, a pretty appropriate name if you ask me.
One of the most important things about Strasbourg is that it is the seat of the European Parliament. Every month, almost 600 representatives from all the major countries in Europe meet to discuss laws regarding travel, product standards, and anything else that concerns laws between countries in Europe.
The French Countryside:
On our way back to Germany, we had the opportunity to drive north through rural eastern France. On the way, we first visited a museum about Nazi Germany’s occupation of Strasbourg and eastern France. This was one of my favorite parts of the trip so far; it was powerful to literally be in an area that was directly influenced by the events in WWII. Situated among the beautiful hills and valleys in Aix En Provence, the museum served as a strong reminder of the price for the current peace in Europe and among most of its nations.
A Mountain Monastery:
Finally, my group made one last stop at a monastery ten minutes east of the German border. Nestled between some of the French hills near Germany was a secluded Catholics monastery. Excluded from the somewhat populated valley lying below the monastery itself, the views around this Odilian monastery were breathtaking. Soaking in the views was a great way to end a pretty busy weekend.
Back to Germany:
After reaching the French-German border, the group got out of our bus and walked across a bridge over the Rhine River to the German side. Seeing all the German road signs and stores actually was kind of comforting, and I think we all were happy to be traveling to Marburg, but having the opportunity to go to France for the weekend is something that I won’t forget for a very long time.
The walk across the bridge to Germany is considered a symbol of peace.