Artistry II – Day 9 Strasbourg and Black Forest

By posted on July 18, 2017 2:12AM
Strasbourg feature

Strasbourg was the first stop on Day 9 of my Highlights of Germany cruise with Avalon Waterways. Situated on the Grande Isle, the old city of Strasbourg is surrounded by canals and the river Ill. The waterways were not built to accommodate modern cruise ships.

Passengers walked five minutes from where the Artistry II was docked to board a canal cruiser. Our cruise was narrated by a local tour guide.  She filled us in on the interesting history of this region of Alsace, France that has more than once changed from French to German governance and back again.

Guided Tour Strasbourg Canals
Guided Tour Strasbourg Canals

Historically many prominent buildings and neighborhoods were built facing the river. The canal/river tour provided an opportunity to see and hear centuries of Strasbourg history from the time of being part of Roman Gaul to its final return to France after the second World War.

Strasbourg is currently the home of the European Parliament as well as the European Court of Human Rights.

Strasbourg History on the Water
Strasbourg History on the Water

Following the hour long boat tour we walked from the dock to the center of the old city.

Tourist Activity Strasbourg
Tourist Activity Strasbourg
Half Timbered Building Strasbourg
Half Timbered Building Strasbourg

Before having free time to explore Strasbourg on our own, our guides gave us a tour of Strasbourg Cathedral. Construction of the current structure was begun in the 12th century and was mostly completed by the early 15th century. For about five centuries it was considered the world’s tallest building at 461 feet.

Entrance Strasbourg Cathedral
Entrance Strasbourg Cathedral
Intricate Sculptural Detail Strasbourg Cathedral Exterior
Intricate Sculptural Detail Strasbourg Cathedral Exterior
Interior Strasbourg Cathedral
Interior Strasbourg Cathedral

As part of my three month trip to Europe I sought out pastries for a future article on the pastries of Europe. In Strasbourg I was searching for kugelhopf, a traditional cake of the region.

Pastries Strasbourg
Pastries Strasbourg

Strasbourg was crowded with tourists during June. However, exploring side streets and alleyways away from the main center near the cathedral it was possible to find quieter spots with locals mixed in with the tourists.

Strasbourg Below Ground
Strasbourg Below Ground

One of the oldest surviving structures in Strasbourg is Maison Kammerzell situated to the left of the main entrance to the cathedral.

Maison Kammerzell Constructed 1427
Maison Kammerzell Constructed 1427

After about 45 minutes exploring on our own it was time to meet our guides in front of Maison Kammerzell and walk outside of the pedestrian only city center to meet our coaches for transfer back to the ship.

Strasbourg Canal
Strasbourg Canal

Our last lunch on board was served at noon in the dining room with the Grilled Lunch on the Sky Deck as an option for those passengers who had not yet had that opportunity.

Last Lunch on Artistry II
Last Lunch on Artistry II
Custard and Fruit Desserts will be Missed
Custard and Fruit Desserts will be Missed

Two optional shore excursions were available after lunch, one to the Black Forest and one to the town of Colmar. Passengers choosing on to go on the excursions departed the ship at 1:15 and the ship set sail at 1:30 for Schoenau where we would pick up excursion passengers at 6pm.

I chose to stay on board the ship, along with many other passengers, to enjoy a final afternoon of cruising. For the first time during the cruise, or at least while passengers were on the ship and awake to see it, we entered a lock that was built to hold two ships at a time. This was accomplished with only 10 inches to spare. It was nerve wracking to watch each ship get into position.

Tandem Lock Parking
Tandem Lock Parking

Having found my kugelhopf just moments before we departed Strasbourg I skipped tea time in the Panorama Lounge at 4pm and had tea and kugelhopf in my cabin as we sailed.

Kugelhopf
Kugelhopf

One bite of this cake was all I needed. I stuck with hot tea for the afternoon! I do not know if my kugelhopf was of inferior quality or if they all are somewhat dry and tasteless.

Disappointing Kugelhopf
Disappointing Kugelhopf

Happy Hour began at 6pm and at 7pm we had a Farewell Cocktail Party in the Panorama Lounge.

Farewell Cocktail Party with Captain Rudy and Cruise Director Sabine
Farewell Cocktail Party with Captain Rudy and Cruise Director Sabine

The chef made certain that our last dinner on board was a memorable one from the first bite of Amuse Bouche to our final bite of Baked Alaska.

Artistry II Farewell Dinner Amuse Bouche
Artistry II Farewell Dinner Amuse Bouche
Artistry II Farewell Dinner Appetizer
Artistry II Farewell Dinner Appetizer
Artistry II Farewell Dinner Soup Course
Artistry II Farewell Dinner Soup Course
Artistry II Farewell Dinner Lobster Tail
Artistry II Farewell Dinner Lobster Tail
Artistry II Farewell Dinner Entree
Artistry II Farewell Dinner Entrée
Artistry II Farewell Baked Alaska
Artistry II Farewell Baked Alaska

After dinner there was music and dancing in the lounge. This last night it appeared that almost everyone gathered in the lounge after dinner. Many joined in the dancing and there were some spontaneous sing-alongs to the piano offerings from Jerry, our onboard musician. Somehow I ended up with no photos of this fun final evening onboard.

I have posted a Summary Review of my Highlights of Germany Cruise with Avalon Waterways. Remember, your feedback is always welcome. We like hearing from our readers.

Kathy Stafford is a writer, publisher and editor. She was a contributing author to "Sasha Cohen Fire on Ice". She has been a contributing editor to several publications including, "Discover Balboa Park: A Complete Guide". Kathy was publisher and editor of "Skating Sketches", reporting on figure skating worldwide, for over ten years. She was a credentialed journalist as a figure skating specialist for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City. She has covered international skating events in Switzerland, France, Finland, England, Canada and the United States with published articles in Canada, Japan, and the United States. Although she never accepted an assignment, she was on the list of approved Lonely Planet authors for three years. She is currently combining her love of travel, and her background as a writer and editor, as a publisher and author of travel related journalism. In addition, she blogs about her search for her family roots at www.cherokeerootsblog.com.

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