Strasbourg was our destination this morning for a 3 mile “do as the locals do” walk through the old part of the city ending up at the impressive Notre Dame Cathedral (note – almost every large town/city as a Notre Dame Cathedral – I always thought the one in Paris was the only one). The buildings in the old part were from the 13th through 15th centuries. The amount of timber on the front of the house indicated how wealthy the family was.
We stopped for two “tastings” - the first was at a gingerbread shop where the lady makes 27 different kinds. This gingerbread is nothing like what we have as they soak the dough in honey for up to a year and ½ before they bake it. Then to that basic dough, they add other things such as nuts, fruits or spices. The second stop was at a shop where they had different “sauces” that where made with a base of some sort of chocolate with nuts or other things added. These can be used over ice cream, on croissants or fruit or just spread on bread. One tasted like Nutella, other like chocolate sauce with ground up pecans in it.
Strasbourg is located across the Rhine River from Germany and is the largest city of the historic region of Alsace, France and is the official seat of the European Parliament. In 2014, the population of both the city proper and greater city area was about 484,000.
Strasbourg is one of the de facto capitals of the European Union (alongside Brussels and Luxembourg), as it is the seat of several European institutions, such as the Council of Europe (with its European Court of Human Rights, its European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines and its European Audiovisual Observatory) and the Eurocorps, as well as the European Parliament and the European Ombudsman of the European Union. The city is also the seat of the Central Commission for Navigation on the Rhine and the International Institute of Human Rights.
Strasbourg's historic city center, the Grande Île (Grand Island), was classified a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1988, the first time such an honor was placed on an entire city center. Strasbourg is immersed in Franco-German culture and although violently disputed throughout history, has been a cultural bridge between France and Germany for centuries, especially through the University of Strasbourg, currently the second largest in France, and the coexistence of Catholic and Protestant culture. It is also home to the largest Islamic place of worship in France, the Strasbourg Grand Mosque.