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.
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.
Following the hour long boat tour we walked from the dock to the center of the old city.
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.
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.
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.
One of the oldest surviving structures in Strasbourg is Maison Kammerzell situated to the left of the main entrance to the cathedral.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Happy Hour began at 6pm and at 7pm we had a Farewell Cocktail Party in the Panorama Lounge.
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.
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.
Strasbourg was one of our favourite stops. I wish we had gone back into the old city in the afternoon instead of taking the Black Forest tour. The bus ride was too long, and then we had to wait for all the ladies to take a bathroom break before we started the museum tour.