What to do for a weekend in the Alsace region.
I can’t believe Christmas and New Years have already come and gone. The holidays allowed me some quiet time to reflect on our last trip to Strasbourg, France. I had gone once before for a day and loved it, so decided to stay for the weekend this time.
We were blessed with nothing but sunshine and blue skies and managed to beat the Christmas market crowds. And we had the chance to celebrate my favorite holiday there-Thanksgiving! But let’s be honest… celebrating an American holiday abroad is incomparable (it is SO hard to find a Thanksgiving turkey in Europe!), buuuuut we made the best of it. Aside from the task of finding a last-minute turkey, I was in no mood to even learn how to cook a turkey on my own, lol! So we decided to treat ourselves to a fancy dinner out. We made ourselves a res at La Hache and went out for a round of bowling (a bit tipsy on the wine from dinner :p) afterward.
The highlight of the trip was, of course, the Christmas Market (Marché de Noël de Strasbourg). In fact, it’s one of the oldest in Europe! All the action takes place near the cathedral where vendors offer an array of handmade goods. We picked up some locally crafted ornaments and Christmas cookie cutters for gifting. I’ve shied away from traveling to European cities in winter due to the chilly temperatures, but Strasbourg is always worth bearing the cold for. It is seriously the closest thing to a Christmas Wonderland I’ve ever seen.
We also took a day trip (regional train just about 35-minutes south) to Colmar. It’s much like Strasbourg but a bit more quaint. We had an obligatory mug of Vin Chaud (warm mulled wine) and made our way around the city in just a few hours. This tiny village came to life after sunset. The ubiquitous Christmas lights lit our way along the snug cobblestone streets. Albeit short, it was definitely a worthwhile visit.
One thing I always recommend to friends who are travelling somewhere for the first time is to do at least one walking tour. Normally they are low-priced (or free) and take up only an hour or two. Often it’s actually a surefire way of hitting all the hot spots in little time. It’s a chance to learn more about the city’s history and meet fellow travellers. During our trip to Strasbourg, for example, we took a lovely boat tour along the picturesque canals. We hit all the hot spots, like Petite France, Grande Île and the European Parliament in a little under an hour. It also allowed me to easily orient myself for the remainder of our trip.
What’s your absolute favorite holiday? How is it celebrated in your country? Let us know in the comments below!
Happy Holidays from S&T <3