After visiting the Cathedral, I took my cousins to see Petite-France, a lovely district in Strasbourg full of medieval half-timbered and Baroque architecture. It is truly worth a visit, even though the name of the area does not have such a charming provenance. According to Wikipedia (yeah, I know, not always the most authoritative of sources):
"The name Petite-France ("Little France") was not given for patriotic or architectural reasons. It comes from the "hospice of the syphilitic" (Hospice des Vérolés, in French), which was built in the late fifteenth century on this island, to cure persons with syphilis, then called the "French disease" in German, Franzosenkrankheit."
Well, even with that bit of not so pretty history, it's still possible to enjoy the very scenic neighborhoods. I wanted to visit the Square Louise Weiss, which is on a quay that forms a pleasant little island. There was some sort of official person and an open (removable) gate at the entrance to the island. I watched several other people walk in so we did too. Farther in the park we saw a crowd of people and some sort of elaborate set-up. Of course I was incredibly curious (nosy) so we drew closer and realized that some sort of tv show was being filmed! We joined the crowd (and thus probably ended up on French tv. Hi, mom!) and watched the hosts cooking something.
There was another segment being filmed in a different area and a guy was holding some sort of chicken. I could see the writing on the wall for the chicken! I just hoped he wasn't going to off the poor bird where we could see it.
We left to walk around the neighborhood some more, then have dinner. My cousins chose a restaurant in the tourist area and they had cheese, wine, and snails (!). My cousin had finished the snails and left the butter sauce. With hand signals, the French waiter showed him the importance of eating the leftover butter with bread since I'm assuming that one who would like the taste of snails would also like the remaining butter on bread. Oh goodness.
I let go of the thought of snails when we left to find my dinner: I wanted to have a burrito at La Cocina, a Mexican restaurant near Petite-France. I ate here last time I came to Strasbourg. The burritos aren't bad but they're a little bit bland. However, the ingredients still taste good and it's adequate for someone needing a Mexican food fix (which I pretty much need all the time. sigh). Plus, I wanted to show my cousins the crazy steep stairs to the bathroom. Seriously, I feel as if I should crawl up them instead of walking up them. The tread is also narrow so I kind of walked sideways since my boots make my feet seem even bigger.
|This picture doesn't do the steepness justice!|
As we left the restaurant we saw yet another Santa Claus attempting to break into someone's house. Naughty Santa!
Even better yet was a store's display farther down the road. There were the weirdest mannequins inside and we spent five minutes examining them and giggling furiously (while being a little weirded out by them, too!). The clothes were odd as well.
|Bald mannequin, poorly painted on facial hair.|
|Uh...dude's face is broken, and why on earth does he have super long girly eyelashes?|
|This sweater is ridiculous.|
|Leather shirt, anyone?|
|The jeans were really the worse: ruched, distressed, and weird. So is his facial hair: it's shaped like an anchor!|
That wasn't the last of weird mannequins, either. Another nearby store had mannequins who were taped back together. How weird! Maybe the mannequins from the two stores got into a fight with each other when the humans had gone to bed?
|Her arm is held on with tape. Why??|
This wasn't the last store with a strange display. Tomorrow I'll write about the gnomes who had met misfortune.