Strasbourg, France

Thank you so much Kari and Tim for recommending Strasbourg! I learned about it in my EU class, but hadnt thought about visiting. This is my favorite city so far. It is so relaxed and easy to navigate. It is right on the French/German border. Germany is right over the river. I was reading that Strasbourg spent most of the 20th century being annexed by one country or the other, and today you can hear both languages in the street. The University is beautiful, and I wandered through and acted like a student just because. The University is flanked by Botanical Gardens where I took some fantastic pictures.

I had some great bunk-mates last night, and ended up chatting for a while last night and then had breakfast with them this morning. Teja from Slovenia, living in Luxembourg, doing an interview in Strasbourg and Zetta from Greece living in Frankfurt here tying up loose ends. Both had lived in Strasbourg, Zetta for ten years while doing her studies including her Ph.D and Teja as an exchange student for seven months. Each speaks three languages, man am I jealous. I want to learn to speak French. They each had recommendations for me and each love Strasbourg. Teja had an interview with the European Commission this morning so I tagged along to see the area. Zetta had some time to kill and graciously gave us a ride. Teja and I walked around the Parc de L'Orangerie exchanging information about what it is like to live and work as females in our respective coutnries. The parc is my favorite here so far, it had some interesting houses, great fountains and flowers galore. I left Teja at her interview and went on to see the European Court of Human Rights, and then the European Parliament building. Both are brand new, sparkling glass buildings. The Parliament building was much more impressive. As I walked around it, I kept seeing new parts, they even had trees on the roof. Sadly they wouldnt let me in because I wasnt with a group. They said I could sign up with 15 other people online, I said ok thank you, when I find 15 people I will be back. Maybe next time.

EU Buildings
EU Buildings
I strolled down the entire canal way down to the University where I ran into the American Consulate. Holy security. Policia everywhere. I sat across from the University at a cafe, outside, (for some reason everyone thought it was cold and were inside, crazy) it is the perfect fall day. Thats the thing about Strasbourg, it actually smells and feels like fall here in a way that it didn't in Belgium. It is a welcome change as fall is my favorite season. I sat at the cafe and wrote and just enjoyed for a while. After this, the University and the gardens, I went to one of the main touristy areas of the city, L'Petite France. Well I guess I shouldn't say touristy, it was, but it was really this clash between German and French architecture. It was very German, with the wooden slats across the front, but also very French with the colors and cafes. A great area to visit.

A "my happy place" picture. 
There is such a different feeling here, I don't feel like I have to do anything, but feel like I could do everything if I wanted to. They have some small museums which I will skip to hang out in the cafes and watch people. I saw the Cathedral yesterday, and a number of other churches. People all over are walking and eating lunch along the canal. Lovers kiss around every corner. The bridges make for wonderful pictures and the French are forever poised and stylish.