We left Prague around 9 AM, and were first on a train from Prague to Munich. The train was relatively empty, and we managed to snag a compartment for ourselves for the majority of the trip. The food cart came by once in the Czech Republic, and once more after we crossed the border into Germany. On the first go-round, we bought a seltzer water and a hot chocolate. Even the hot chocolate made from powder is EXCELLENT in the Czech Republic. Here's a shot of Louisa in our compartment. We rather fancied ourselves as riding the Hogwarts Express, in shades of grey.
By the time we got to Munich around 3 PM, we were absolutely starving. We found an ATM (had to stock up on Euros) and snagged ourselves a doner kebab sandwich, topped with tzatziki and some pepper flakes.
The sandwiches were like manna from heaven to the two of us - we hadn't been hungry in four days, and we weren't pleased with the feeling. Funny story about the sandwiches - the guy who sold them to us offered Louisa his phone number along with the sandwich...she told him she was married, but this didn't deter him.
"Are you Canadian?" he asked hopefully.
"Oh. Huh." And a look of disgust. It was pretty hilarious.
We got back on the train, this time without compartments, just rows, found our seats, and settled in for another five hours of train time. We really enjoyed the views of Germany that we glimpsed from the window - especially a tiny town nestled in the hills that we descended toward ever so slowly, and Ulm, where we had a great view of the Ulm Munster, the tallest church in the world. (Notre Dame de Strasbourg, which you'll see in a bit, used to claim the title, but is now the fourth-tallest.)
On the way, we sampled the candy we picked up in the Munich Hauptbahnhof...some of the fruitiest, loveliest sour patch kids ever, some great gummy cherries, and a few other bits and pieces, the most unusual of which we photographed...
These were sour and sweet, and dissolved into nothing in the mouth.
This guy tasted like caramel marzipan...
And, finally - a dried apple covered in chocolate. Rubbery and kinda icky, frankly.
We finally rolled into Strasbourg at 9 PM, and promptly grabbed a cab from the Gare Centrale to our hotel, Hotel Cathedrale, which was (literally) right across from the Cathedral's western facade and main entrance. The view from our room, taken at sunset...
That street running off down the left of the cathedral, toward the two-spired church in the distance, is rue des Freres, which is where we had dinner our first night. Invigorated by the cool, crisp Strasbourgeois air, the gorgeous architecture, and the fact that we could speak the language, we dumped our bags in our adorable room and headed out to Flam's, a restaurant devoted to the tarte flambee, one of Alsace's specialties. It's a pizza-like tart, with a really thin crust, cooked in a wood-burning oven and topped, in its most traditional form, with creme fraiche, lardons, and onions.
Flam's was crowded and really warm, full mostly of students having a cheap, late, loud dinner - it's part of a chain of restaurants, and had the requisite menus with pictures on, but the food and wine were good, and our waitress was adorable. We both started with a salad, but were mostly psyched about the main event. Well, and the wine, too. We started with a pichet of Riesling, then switched to Pinot Noir with our tarte, which was half traditionelle, half champignons fraiches (just traditional with mushrooms added).
The tart was delicious - crispy, but just bendy enough in the places where the creme fraiche had soaked in. The lardons were salty and smokey, and the onions had just a little bite. We both really liked it, and left feeling very positive about the virtues of Alsatian cooking.
After dinner, we headed to a bar on rue des Freres - we'd spotted it on the way over to the restaurant. It's called Les Gayots, named for the courtyard onto which its back entrance opens. Since Strasbourg is a university town, we were a little nervous that it would be overrun with students. The students make themselves known, for sure, but this bar was a little older (skewed to the 25-50 demo), and was great fun. We sat at the bar and had some muscat, and were chided by a delightful guy (French, but went to UT Austin for university) for not ordering the Gewurtztraminer, which he claimed was "the best grape you can get." He was the first person we'd spoken with since we arrived, and he gave the city a ringing endorsement - something that turned out to be quite prophetic, given the excellent time we had over the following three days.
Edited by Megan Blocker, 24 October 2006 - 06:06 PM.