Wine Tour Day 5 - a farewell to Strasbourg
As a symbolic gesture of regret, we decided to spend our final morning in Strasbourg checking out some of the larger institutions that have been so integral in our EU member lives and, it seems, we will soon no longer be a part of. So we took the car out to the EU Parliament building - a modern Goliath of a building so contrasting to the traditional image of old Strasbourg. Regrettably I didn’t get to bump into Nigel Farage (Chief Brexit Protagonist/Buffoon for anyone outside of Europe) so couldn’t “let him know how we felt” about the existential crisis he has inflicted upon the nation he claims to love. Oh well!
So onwards to Obernai in the heart of Alsation wine-making country and only a short 20 km hop from Strasbourg. However again, those local roads had us spinning in circles. Our Hotel had warned us that today, for this one day of the year, Obernai Town Centre would be blocked off by an annual market that filled the whole town and therefore we “should follow these instructions instead”.
Oh how they must have chuckled to themselves as they plotted their splendid Gallic joke on the poor unsuspecting Anglais. After becoming hopelessly lost and giving up on the emailed, manual directions we reverted to a variety of Sat Navs and Apps in cars and on smart phones none of which of course were aware of the “cultural event” taking place and all of which tried to direct us straight through the middle of it. I regret that this resulted in some actual shouting and some very bad words, in the car when finally, upon Mandy’s insistence, I was compelled to drive the wrong way up a one-way street! You have no idea what, as a rule-following British person, that cost me. However, she was right. Five minutes later we pulled into the courtyard of the hotel, whereupon the Manager informed us that “today the Police let us drive the wrong way up the street”. Might have been helpful to put that on the bleeding instructions then!!! I imagine there were German families still patiently circling the edge of the town until midnight when the market was dismantled, everything went back to “normal” and no rules were required to be broken.
Having dumped our bags, we headed into town (more Hansel & Gretel buildings - very pretty) to experience Obernai’s Annual Market. Given we are nearly in Germany and considering the famous reputation of German Christmas Markets we were expecting a wonderland of local produce and fine wines and beers, as well as some touristy, wooden toy/ornaments and other such traditional stuff. Nope. It was basically a totally standard “urban market” packed with stalls peddling printed tea towels, plastic tat, tasteless t-shirts, CDs (who buys CDs anymore?) and smartphone covers. We could have been at a Croydon car boot sale!
Ignoring the tat-peddlers we found a likely-looking restaurant/pub and had an early dinner of, you’ve guessed it, more meat. This time, Ribs!! It was basically half a pig. I apologise sincerely to those vegetarians who might see this entry or even anyone who dislikes, as I do, the tediously endless postings that some like to make on social media of their dinner. But this was something else. It was massive!! So I had to share. The photo that is. I allowed my wife one rib and wolfed the rest down myself.
Wine tasting tomorrow and a trip to a nearby monastery for some quiet contemplation... and a big old picnic. Mmm...