On the last day of the AMD meeting, activities wrapped up around 3pm which left some time for me to quickly run back to the hotel, grab the car and drive over to Strasbourg, France. It was so close that it would have been a shame to sit in the hotel room that night, especially because Strasbourg is a quick drive over from Baden Baden, less than 45 minutes down the road. The plan was initially to have dinner over in Strasbourg, but I ended up spending most of the late afternoon and evening walking around town, photographing and attending a mass at the Strasbourg Cathedral.
This trip turns out to be the first time that I had driven across a border in Europe rather than flying and was surprised that there was no customs, no checkpoint or anything. I know that as recently as 2000, there was a border checkpoint, but with the unification of Europe, apparently most of these formal border crossings have been dismantled.
The cathedral itself is worth visiting Strasbourg for. I actually saw it from Germany across the Rhine River and it appears to be the highest point in Strasbourg and apparently was the world’s tallest building until 1874 when St. Nikolai was completed in Hamburg, Germany. It is an imposing gothic structure made of a similar sandstone to that in the Cathedral of the Madeleine back in Salt Lake City. Its always amazing to me that these towering structures with arches and flying buttresses could be made when they were. At the time, it must have been an even more amazing sight than it is today. Much of the detail in the church is of a higher quality that I’ve seen in other contemporary buildings and cathedrals and the grotesques and figures are amazingly complex in some cases.
Could not help but post this shot of a guy standing outside of the church just as I was leaving. I had posted this over on Utah Photojournalism just after getting back into town from the trip.
Central Strasbourg is a mix of very old medieval streets and modern shops with lots of young people around. I had wished for more time to visit some of the museums and especially those at the Université de Strasbourg, though the late arrival hour precluded that. If I ever make it back, I’ll have to endeavor to make it a priority to spend more time in Strasbourg proper.
On my way out of town I ran into a bunch of zombies… I don’t know if it was a flash mob kinda thing or a zombie run or what, but it did make for some entertaining people watching. The zombie bride was the best dressed zombie I saw and most amenable and charming to boot. Merci zombie bride.