Monday, April 15, 1996 Strasbourg, France
I didn’t sleep much last night so she and Jim were up and packed about 7 am. Woke Barbara up at 8 am on our way to breakfast. Talked with the Embassy lady again from Savannah, Georgia. Barbara arrived for breakfast just after Jim left for his morning constitutional . By 9:30 am we were all packed and ready. Jim had another trying experience in getting the car out of parking. In getting the directions from the clerk on how the parking garage works, he told her that he hadn’t done it for four years. (Since we were there in 1992.) She got very wide-eyed as she thought he’d left his car in the garage for four years! She was a new clerk that we hadn’t seen all weekend so she wasn’t aware we’d just arrived on Saturday.
Packed up and ready to leave about 10 am we headed for the circle at the Arc De Triomphe Etoile. Went around several times as Jim yelled at himself because we didn’t know which of the streets led to Moillet which we’d come in on. But, fearlessly he pushed on and we decided to take the one called Victor Hugo just to get him off the circle. Luck was with us and we’d chosen correctly. On the circle we thought we’d missed our turnoff to go to the Autoroutes for Strasbourg, but hadn’t after all. By 11 am we were on our way for our last day of driving in France.
We’ve combined all of our change for the tolls to use it up. We’re going to try tossing in the change instead of going through the booths with a live body! One booth had a lady and she was very patient in counting out of change we handed her. We’re doing one bag of small change totaling 10 franc and then using larger pieces with it. That way we can get ready before the booth. Used change all the way to Strasbourg. We saw a large working windmill on top of a distant hill. Only one we’ve seen on the trip. Generally it’s a church steeple on top of the hill. This appeared to be a farm.
Arriving in Strasbourg, we found a parking place near the center of the city and Jim and Barbara set out to check out the hotels. The one we’d stayed at in 1992 was full, along with nearly everything else. The Common Market is in session and the town is full of diplomats. But they did find room at one within walking distance of the Cathedral. Finding it was difficult due to so many of the streets being one way or turned into walking malls. But, as usual, we put our heads together and managed to find it after a few false turns. Really a beautiful hotel with a scale model made of sandstone in the lobby of the Cathedral. It is the Hotel De L’Europe.
Our room was down a very narrow hall, but was really lovely when you got inside. The beds were great! Barbara had a double door and spent some time trying to get the key to work not realizing that the outside door wasn't locked! Out into the shopping area we found very old German style buildings and lots of shops. Barbara found some shoes for John at a sizable savings over their cost in the states. Also, she was able to get dress shoes as well as tennis shoes. Jim served as her foot model. She also found some cute baby clothes for Dennis’ new baby which is due any day. It was a shop until Barbara dropped afternoon. She really had fun.
We enjoyed seeing the Cathedral again. Had forgotten about the astrological clock and the fact that there were so many stained glass windows. Almost all of the walls were of glass. Found the post office and Barbara mailed the last of her postcards. We stopped in the plaza for beer and enjoyed the view of the cathedral as we soaked up the charm and the warm sunshine! Then off to find another great dinner. It wasn’t one of our best, but sure beats McDonalds. Jim’s chicken, which was great, didn’t arrive until after Barbara and I had finished our Onion Soup. Back at the hotel, we all sat together in our room to enjoy the huge meringue cookies that Jim and Barbara had purchased earlier. They were so big we all had trouble finishing them! Enjoyed English News on the TV. No extra plugs in the room. Had to unplug the TV to heat the water for coffee in the morning! Everyone is still taking medicine for the colds but we’re on the mend.