Hey, remember when Grant visited me in France while I was studying abroad? Probably not, because I never got around to telling you about that part yet. Our fun trip to Luxembourg was regrettably short, but all the same we weren’t all that bummed out to be returning to Strasbourg to continue to hang around in the sun and eat macarons.
On our first morning in France we took a stroll into the main town, about 30 minutes’ walk from my neighbourhood, La Robertsau, which is also the location of the group of European Institutions housed by Strasbourg: the Human Rights Court, the Council of Europe, the Agora and, of course, the European Parliament itself.
We stopped for lunch at Café Brant, which is a fancy café in a beautiful location, with the river on one side and Place Brant with the Palais Universitaire on the other. The only thing on the menu that was within our price range was the Strasbourgeoise sausage with potato salad: a local speciality and a familiar favourite sounded just perfect to us, so we ordered that and waited eagerly. I tried to remain enthusiastic when the waitress served me a hot dog and some cubed potatoes drizzled with olive oil, but it didn’t last long. I mean, I like hot dogs, but trying to pass them off as a fancy French dish is about the least cool thing ever in my book: needless to say, I haven’t been back since.
Anyway, after that we wandered along the riverbank – it comes alive in the springtime, when the promenade fills up with young French people who want to soak up some rays, read quietly, share a picnic with friends… or, in some cases, make out.
We left the canoodling couple behind and wandered along to Esplanade, the main campus of the Université de Strasbourg where I had my classes this semester. As campuses go it’s pretty damn ugly, but the buildings are actually all really well-equipped and modern inside, which is better than crappy classrooms in a beautiful setting. I also pointed out to Grant the weird wooden structures I’d been trying to puzzle out since Week One: they are identical in design to the benches and tables and boxy seats dotted around campus, but they’re much taller. For the longest time I was totally bewildered by their presence, and the only explanation I could come up with were that they were for leaning on. Why would you put weird leaning posts at awkward angles to each other in the middle of campus when you could have benches instead? I have no idea. But then I saw a few people actually utilising them, confirming my theory: these things really are there for you to perch uncomfortably on while you hang about and chat to your friends. Maybe it’s supposed to encourage you not to sit around on your ass all day? I don’t know, but I can’t get over how ridiculously unnecessary and stupid these things are, so we took a couple of keepsake photos.
After a good lean, we packed up and continued on towards the mall, Rivétoile, where I did some light shopping while Grant advised and encouraged. He’s a really excellent shopping partner :) Then we went home and relaxed for a while before meeting up with my friend Amanda (who is also Grant’s sister) for dinner at a fantastic Indian restaurant courtesy of their parents. Big thank you to Mommy and Daddy Stubbins!
Quite a lot of discovery for one day! The weather was gorgeous all day, and set to be the same on Tuesday, so we planned for picnicking and Wandering Around Part 2. We were so tired we would’ve slept like babies if it hadn’t been for my tiny single bed and my tendency to thrash around a lot… Poor Grant puts up with so much to come visit me :)
Til next time, everyone! I hope you all have a great week ahead of you.