My Life as a Traveler

Welcome to Stress-bourg

Warning: This post may be a little cranky. Such a shame, with such beautiful scenery!

It all started with Morgan. Yes, let’s blame Morgan. He was the one who borrowed the SD card for my camera and did not return it in time, so that when we went to tour the cute little town of Eguisheim last night, there were no pictures. Such a cute little town, too. Stressful. But here’s what I learned. You can go to www.google.com/images and type in the name of the town: Eguisheim. Then you can see the narrow streets, sweet square, and half-timbered houses still standing from days of old. You can’t see the (very mild) sauerkraut and five kinds of meat that I had for dinner, but I’m sure you can imagine it.

In the morning, we had breakfast with everyone else who is staying in our little bed-and-breakfast. All French, and only our hostess, Marie-Therese, speaks halting English. She tries to include us in the conversation, and I understand a lot of what’s going on, but it’s coming so fast, that I can’t translate properly to George and Morgan. Stressful. Marie-Therese and her husband took a trip to San Antonio, Texas a couple of years ago, where they have family. Turns out there is a pretty decent community of Alsatians in Texas. Who knew?

At 10:30am, we get in the car and try to follow the Alsatian Wine Road, using the sporadic signage, a sparsely sketched guidebook map and the GPS. We keep getting off track. Since it is a holiday and the first sunny weekend in weeks, everybody is out sightseeing. Forget about going into the small villages on the route. Stressful. We look upward to see a castle decide to drive to it. When we get there, it takes us 15 minutes just to drive in, decide not to stay, and out of the parking lot. Stressful.

Still, it’s only 12noon. We ask the GPS to give us a route to Strasbourg without highways or toll roads. She takes us in the totally opposite direction, a 2 hour ride up and down mountains and through passes, instead of one hour on the Autoroute. Nice drive through the woods and lovely small towns. We finally hit the flatland, and after getting gas for the rental car we must return, we head into town. First, we try to get to our hotel by the cathedral. GPS gets us to the huge square the hotel is on, but way on the other side. You can’t get there from here and there are a million people walking all over the place. Stressful.

We decide to just drop the car at the train station, a 20 minute walk away. On the door of the rental station office a sign says they’re closed and please return the car to the airport, 15 minutes out of town. I swear I confirmed that we could return the car here, even though it was a holiday. Stressful. Oh, and George has to get to a meeting at 5pm near our hotel in town and it’s after 3pm. We drive to the airport, to find out that we could have indeed returned the car in town and do we want to drive it back. No, we most certainly do not. We leave the car there and, since there is no time to take the train back into town, we take a $50 taxi ride to our hotel. Stressful.

Our room is on the square of the cathedral. I booked it because I loved the view of the cathedral from the room and it had air-conditioning. However, we are disappointed to learn that the hotel has not turned the a/c on because it hasn’t been hot until the last 3 days. It’s pretty hot now, and we have to leave the windows open to get any relief. Unfortunately, we can hear every person on the square, the cooks in the restaurant kitchen across the street from our room, every time a waiter stacks dishes from the diners on the street, and the occasional car from around the corner. Sometimes herds of students come through and we might as well be in the midst of Grand Central Station. George is severely unhappy about the hot and noisy room. Fortunately, there’s a nice Alsatian dinner to be had and we have only the main course and head back to the hot, noisy room with the chefs across the way watching me fall asleep.

Welcome to Stressbourg.

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