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Emily Jablon: Daraius and I went to Europe in September to celebrate our 2nd anniversary for ~2 weeks. It was my first time in Italy so I was very excited! In Italy, we visited Varenna on Lake Como, Milan, Venice, and Rome.
Since we were in Europe, we visited a friend in Strasbourg, France and also spent a night in Zurich. We started our trip with a one day layover in Chicago to see friends!
Our Anniversary To Italy – Trip Report Index:
- Part 1 – Planning & Introduction
- Part 2 – Park Hyatt Chicago
- Part 3 – One Day in Chicago
- Part 4 – Virgin Atlantic Upper Class
- Part 5 – Virgin Atlantic Revivals Lounge, London
- Part 6 – Under the Channel to Strasbourg
- Part 7 – Hotel Cathedrale, Strasbourg
- Part 8 – What did we do in Strasbourg
- Part 9 – Eating in Strasbourg
- Part 10 – Park Hyatt, Zurich
- Part 11 – 10 Hours in Zurich
- Part 12 – Hotel Eremo Gaudio in Varenna, Italy
- Part 13 – What to do in Varenna, Italy
- Part 14 – Eating in Varenna, Italy
- Part 15 – Park Hyatt, Milan
- Part 16 – What Did We Do in Milan
- Part 17 – Eating in Milan
- Part 18 – Hilton Molino Stucky, Venice
- Part 19 – Around the Hilton Molino Stucky & Free Shuttle Boat Details
- Part 20 – What we did in Venice
- Part 21 – Eating in Venice
- Part 22 – Waldorf-Astoria, Rome Cavalieri
- Part 23 – Eating in Rome, Part 1
- Part 24 – Emily’s Best Meal Was in Italy!
- Part 25 – Rome Cavalieri Imperial Floor
- Part 26 – Activities in Rome
- Part 27 – Activities in Rome – Where to Go, What to See, How to Save Time
- Part 28 – Virgin Atlantic Flight from Europe to US
- Part 29 – Conclusion & Blog Giveaway
Activities In Strasbourg
It rained almost every day while we were in Strasbourg, but we still really enjoyed the city!
We read the Rick Steves’ France guide book (our Amazon link), and our friends in Strasbourg took us to many of Rick’s recommendations.
The Strasbourg Cathedral is an enormous, yet beautiful, structure and considered one of the best examples of late Gothic architecture. It is on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
It was the world’s tallest building up to 1874 (that’s only ~140 years ago!)
One evening, we watched the light and sound show on the Strasbourg Cathedral.
Classical music played while lights were showcased on the Cathedral.
This was a special year because it was the 50th anniversary of the Treaty of the Elysée – friendship between France and Germany who had many disputes over the borders.
The Cathedral looked beautiful and un-worldly with all the lights shining on it.
It is a very good show, because the story of the music and lights is open to interpretation. You can follow along even if you don’t speak French. And the lights and sound really encompassed the breadth and depth of human emotion, including sadness, despair, hope, and happiness.
The best place to watch the show is not directly in front (unless you like looking up all the time!), but about half way down the street that runs directly in front of the church.
There are gorgeous stained glass windows inside the Cathedral.
One of the largest clocks in the world, an 18-metre astronomical clock, is inside the Cathedral.
I really enjoyed the Romanesque & Gothic architecture. The ceilings were so high. I’m glad I don’t have to dust them!
I loved all the details in the Cathedral. The stained glass windows really set off the architectural touches.
One morning, we met my penpal, Gaetan, and his brother, Thomas, outside the cathedral.
Gaetan and I “met” in 1997 through a penpal exchange program in my school. I could choose a penpal from any country, so as a teenage girl, I chose a male from France to be my penpal. I wrote him a letter, and received one back!
We kept writing each other for many years, and then lost touch through college, and then reconnected (thanks Internet!). We finally met in 2009 in Colmar, France, and have been in touch since then.
They took us for coffee and we hunted around for the perfect croissant. We met in the late morning and the bakeries were out of fresh croissants. The brothers were very upset about this!
We walked around the city a bit, in and around the small, cobblestone streets. We also checked out the shops.
I loved seeing all the clocks, some even played music!
I convinced Daraius to put away his iPad and pose for a photo.
The pretty building behind me is a lycee, or school. This particular lycee is the International School of Pontonniers.
Strasbourg is very pretty because of its cute, colorful, half-timbered homes and windy streets.
The Ill River runs through the town.
We wanted to go on the boat along the river, but there was a long line. So we skipped it.
Strolling through Petite France was very relaxing and fun.
I’d never been to Venice, so Petite France looked exactly like what I thought Venice would be – canals & quaint homes. Turns out that the real Venice was much different than what I imagined it to be.
I loved the half-timbered homes that looked like they came from a story book.
Everything was so picturesque. It felt like being in another world!
We walked on top of a covered bridge and saw more of the old city.
Strasbourg is very close to Germany so there is a lot of German influence, especially in the architecture.
We went shopping for a bit and bought a small souvenier, and then went to the Place Kléber or main square to enjoy the people watching.
People watching is one of our favorite things to do when we travel!
There were kids playing in the water fountain and families enjoying the weather together.
One woman took off her shoes, put her feet in the fountain, read a book, and ate lunch. It was so nice to see everyone enjoying the day together!
We even saw an Office Depot along the way to the square. Daraius wanted to see if he could get 5X points on his Chase Ink Bold card but was scared away by the long line…
In the evening, we walked to Bar Exils for a cocktail with our friends.
I ordered a Pink Panther, which had rum, vodka, Malibu, crème, strawberry, and grenadine. I saw it on the menu and was curious to try it!
It was like a strawberry and crème Italian soda, and very delicious!
At first, the waitress did not understand what I wanted when I told her “Pink Panther.” So after a few tries, Gaetan stepped in and said “Pink Pan-TER!” with a strong French accent. She immediately nodded her head!
We had a great time walking around Strasbourg. If you’re in the Alsace region also consider checking out Colmar, the Alsace wine route, and the other quaint towns along the way.