I continue the second part of my beautiful long journey from Chambéry to Frankfurt. In part 1 I traveled from Chambéry to Lyon then to Dijon where I currently am.
Where were we? Oh yes, Time to leave Dijon has arrived and for that, I need a new destination. Looking on Google Maps I see that Strasbourg is on the way to Frankfurt. 330 km is the distance between this two cities. I should Search for transportation and a place to stay for three days at least so I can enjoy and discover the city.
I’ve found a nice (and cheap) bedroom in Strasbourg, it’s kind of far away from city center, but… guess what? I have my rollerblades! Bedroom booked. Not let’s find a way to go there. Train is not an affordable way of traveling because is expensive but I love trains! Let’s get a ticket. It turned out I was right, 60€ the train ticket, one way to Strasbourg in tourist class, but okay, let’s do it!
As you may have noticed by reading my previous stories, I don't like to search for pictures nor history about the place I'm going to. By doing this, I feel a tremendous pleasure when I "discover" something.
I take the train with my heavy backpack and my rollerblades in one hand (No, I don’t have case nor thing to put my rollerblades in, I carry them on my hand). I sit on a double seat, those one in which you have another set of seats in front, put my things on the front seat, headsets on with Heavy Metal and the train starts to move.
Strasbourg sounds very much to a German word and it’s but it’s a city in the French territory, it was used as a garrison town by the Roman Empire and it’s name back then was Argentoratum.
Read more about Strasbourg here: https://www.britannica.com/place/Strasbourg
Just arrived at the train station, it has been reconstructed not long ago and it looks amazing!
If you think for a moment, it’s like a dome. Have you read about the book and TV show named “The dome”? We can say it’s pretty similar to this but bigger.
It’s pretty hot outside, around 25° and sunny, people passing by because many trains have arrived to the station. I stop there with all my things and check the phone, which way should I take to get to the apartment I’ve rented (just the bedroom, not the whole thing!). Alright, I found it, it’s 2.5 km away, I see there’s a tram which can take me there but why bother if I can rollerblade?
Rollerblades on, backpack on, phone in my pocket with the map opened just in case I need to quick check and here I go. I wasn’t sure which way to take, I have to go under a bridge and then under another one, is this the correct way? I think so, I’ll continue.
After checking the phone over 10 times, I found the apartment. It’s not an apartment, it’s a house with three floors. I knock on the door and a lady comes out:
- Her: Bonjour!
- Me: Bonjour! My french is not that good
- Her: Ah, no problem at all, welcome, my name is … (I forgot her name…)
- Me: Nice to meet you
- Her: Come inside, I’m gonna show you the house
- Me: Sure, thank you so much for having me (I’m thankful even knowing I’ve paid for this)
We go inside and her husband is watching the TV. We say hello to each other and we continue to explore the house. She points me everything I need to know, I thank her again and she goes downstairs. The bedroom is at the top floor with a nice window from which I can see a big avenue near by.
Before all of this, when I was in Dijon and rented the room through AirBnB, the first message I got from them was: “Hello Emmanuel, we are immune to Covid, no need to worry”.
Side note: If someone says don’t worry and you don’t know them, what do you do? Of course I got worried, but what the heck, let’s do it, let’s go there. But… how do you know you are immune? Virus has been here for few months only. Because you haven’t got infected yet it doesn’t mean you are immune… just saying.
It’s around noon, I’m going for a ride with no backpack. I get my rollerblades ready again and proceed to go downstairs. I need a key to get into the house in case there’s no-one there, I stop by the kitchen where they were and ask them for it. Her husband guides me to the front door and he gives me a key, he says: “feel free to enter at any time, this is your house now”, and I go: “alright, give me the papers, I wanna sell it” and we started to laugh for few seconds.
Back on my rollerblades I head to the city center. Not using Google Maps this time, just following my intuition (will it be good? Let’s see!)
I get to the city center. Even though there are restrictions because of Covid, there’s people everywhere. Trams full of them, shops packed, it’s very hard to rollerblade on the sidewalk, time to go on the street. I’m here, in Strasbourg, riding my rollerblades around, enjoying the good weather when suddenly I take a look to my left. There’s a big structure behind the building. It looks like a church but not exactly. Yes, I’m going that direction.
I can not believe what I’m seeing with my eyes, this is freaking awesome! A massive church (there’s a word for this… ah yes, cathedral)
I spent few minutes there amazed by this incredible building. It’s a Gothic Cathedral which took over 4 centuries to be built. It’s so fucking amazing! The details, the size, how old it is! Beautiful, stunningly beautiful!
See? This feeling is what I’m talking about, I love the feeling of “discovering” things. As I mentioned before, this is the main reason why I don’t look for picture nor history about any place I’m visiting. Your should try it next time!
Learn more about the cathedral here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strasbourg_Cathedral
I went to other places in the city and everything looks amazing. There’s a river which goes through the city which makes it even more beautiful. It’s getting late, let’s go back “home” to rest and enjoy a good dinner.
The sun woke me up, it means the earth has rotate once again on its axial tilt of around 23.4° at a speed between 0 and 1673 km/h depending on the latitude you are. NEEERDD!! Did you need to know this? No. Is it good to know? Maybe.
Wanna know more about this? https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2546864/How-fast-YOU-spinning-Earths-axis.html
It’s a stunning day once more, after doing few things I get my rollerblades ready and I go to discover the city once again. I’m heading to the river this time, there’s a side walk next to it and I’m rollerblading on it.
After an hour, I’m starting to feel hungry. I should stop by a Kebab place to eat something (I love kebab!). Heading to one I’ve just seen, Just noticed there’s a lot of people in a queue next to this place. I ask a guy what’s going on:
- Me: Bonjour monsieur, parlez-vous anglais?
- Him: Yes
- Me: Oh cool! How’s it going?
- Him: All good here, and you?
- Me: Super! Can I ask you what this queue is for?
- Him: Sure, in this place, because of Covid, volunteers get together, they collect food and give it for free to whoever needs it, you should go
- Me: Mmm, that sounds like a good idea! Merci beaucoup!
And yeah, of course I’m going! I mean, free food, why not? I get into the queue and wait for my turn. They give me a bag with food which looked very nice. With the bag on my hands I go back to this guy to thank him and talk a little bit.
We started talking and he ask me where I’m from, I say from Argentina and we switched to Spanish since he lived in Spain for few years and he can perfectly talk it. We shared our stories but I’m getting hungry, I’m sorry man but food is first!
Going back to rollerblading I find a nice spot next to the river. I will sit on the grass, under the sun to enjoy a very good meal. While having lunch, few kids were canoeing on the river, I managed to make a video of it (it also includes the cathedral):
I’m so happy about today, it’s been amazing. Time to go back to the bedroom and work a little bit. Money is not coming from the sky! After working I watch a movie (John Wick, I love Keanu Reaves, if you haven’t watched it, I recommend it) and then go to bed, tomorrow will be a new day.
Just waking up, and damn! it’s raining. Slight rain but sometimes is pouring, I should stay in bed, no going out today, shit. Tomorrow is my last day here, now that I have free time I should look for my next destination. Frankfurt it is! Strasbourg was the last stop before my final destination, without even knowing it was going to be. Alright, train ticket again. I save money in food but I spend a lot in trains, what do I love the most now? Can I eat a train? I still prefer food over trains, I swear!
I bought the ticket online and this time I don’t need to find an AirBnB since my sister is gonna host me in Frankfurt. How long am I gonna stay there? No idea, nothing is rushing me to go nowhere, saying so, let’s enjoy the staying.
Last day in Strasbourg has arrive. The train is leaving around 10 am. It’s 8:30 am and I just turned off the alarm, time to get up from bed. I did my backpack last night and I’m ready to go. But before I should get breakfast. I go to the kitchen and I make something quick. Back again in the bedroom, I collect my backpack, my rollerblades and I’m heading downstairs.
The owners are aware I’m leaving soon, so they go downstairs to say goodbye. We shake our hands and I proceed to get my rollerblades on. Of course I’m gonna rollerblade to the train station!
I just got to the train station. I’m looking for a machine to print my ticket because I don’t know if they are going to recognize I got it online. Found it and printed it, ready to go. Based on the signs, the train is leaving soon from platform 5. It’s at the other side of the station, time to walk.
Perfect timing, train is arriving just now. I get inside with my stuff to find a nice seat. The train is almost empty, two more people along with me. A staff member (I don’t know the proper word for this, people who work in the train, checking tickets and staff) comes to check my ticket, everything is good, let’s go.
I’m enjoying the landscape, I’m starting to see more and more woods, it’s true what I’ve heard about Germany, woods everywhere!
I have no idea why but every time a police officer asks me for my passport, I get nervous. And this is what happened. My passport is valid, I have a working holiday visa, everything is okay but I’m still nervous.
The train stops in a border city between France and Germany. A German police officer comes to me and he said something which I didn’t understand but I had my passport in hand. I give it to him and he starts to check everything. He looks at my picture in the Visa and looks at me afterwards. Thoughts in my head:
- Am I the same guy as in the picture?
- Do I have less hair now than when the picture was taken?
- Will he notice my lack of hair?
- Am I in trouble?
- Please officer, let me go through the border!
He takes the handcuff from his belt and he says: “sir, you are under arrest, there’s an Interpol alert on you and we can not let you go”. I’m shaking and starting to cry…. Nah, I’m kidding, he said “everything is okay, have a nice and safe travel”. He left the train and we are good to go. (Got you! You thought I was going to to jail, didn’t you?)
Train start to move again. Next stop is 20 minutes away. I have to get off the train to catch another one which will take me directly to Frankfurt. After waiting for over an hour, the train arrives. I board it right away, there are more people in this one.
I start to feel more anxious and nervous, I haven’t seen my sister in over 2 years and we are going to see each other in Frankfurt, Germany. If I think it through for a moment, I can’t believe it. We are going to see each other at the other side of the world, this is insane.
Woods starts to merge into the city, the landscape is beautiful. I can’t believe I’m here but I’m enjoying it a lot! Finally at the train station, my sister is waiting for me at the platform, we hug each other and we leave to her house.
That’s all folks! More stories are coming!