Tramway of Strasbourg

The history of the Strasbourg tramway started in 1878. The carriages, which traveled through the inner city, were horse-drawn at first, and the horses were replaced by electricity in 1894. While the city changed hands between France and Germany due to the consequences of two wars, the Franco-Prussian War and WWII, the original tram system served as a transport link for the inhabitants of the city.  However, the tram’s popularity waned in the 1950s as other modes of transport, such as buses, bicycles and cars, had become more readily available. And finally, the last tram departed on 1 May 1960, and there were no more of them until 1994.

Today’s tram system is very popular amongst the people of Strasbourg. It is hard to believe that it was abandoned for over three facades…

In 1994, the first tram line A, which connected the northwestern suburb of Hautepierre to the southwestern sunburn of Illkirch-Graffenstaden was opened…

Homme de Fer station for Line A & D…

By walking a little further towards Rue du Noyer, there is another Homme de Fer station for Line B, C & F…

The development of the tram system helped to revitalised the city centre as well as solved typical urban problems, such as pollution and congestion. And finally, the city authorities banned road traffic from the city centre in 1992.

Ok, that’s enough of the history lesson!

Now, mum and I have to find how to pay our fare…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Kloster und Schloss Salem

After our last “German” supper at the beer garden, mum and I strolled towards the direction from where the cyclists appeared. ‘What can it be?’ We were very curious.

Before an imposing gatehouse building, we saw a site map of the surrounding area…

The hotel in which we stayed was two white buildings in front of the brown square building “Eingang” – a ticket office & shop.

This is another map on which you can see how vast the monastery once was…

The former monastery guesthouse and the present hotel was to be built on the edge of the monastery boundary near the right bottom corner of the map.

Mum with Unteres Tor…

By the way, “unteres tor” means “lower gate” in German. The gatehouse was very substantial and impressive. Inside of the deep passage had no illumination and the opposite side of the gate with decorative steel gates looked like the end of a tunnel.

As we walked through the gatehouse, we found a plaque on the wall…

The plaque stated “Markgräflich Badische, Court Pharmacy, former monastery pharmacy founded around 1500”. Apparently, a term “Hof-Apotheke” suggests that the pharmacy was not an ordinary kind but a court pharmacy which was for a princely court. I don’t intend to delve into the history of the pharmacy too far, but I imagine the monastery must have had a close tie with the imperial court of Holy Roman Emperor as the portrait of the abbot with a badge of the Imperial Eagle in my previous post.

There was another thing which made the place rather unique. It was a name, “Kloster und Schloss Salem”. A term “Schloss” which means “Palace” in German and it may mislead some people including me as the place was once a residence for aristocrats or royals. Contrary to my expectation, the place was used exclusively as a home for the Cistercian monks until 1803. I have been trying to find out why it was called “schloss” but my effort hasn’t bore fruit so far. If anyone knows the origin of the naming, please enlighten me!

The other side of the gatehouse was a large open turfed ground with crisscrossing footpaths and pavements.

A Baroque-style building and mum…

The building used to be Salem Abbey and now it is owned by the State of Baden-Württemberg. Inside, it houses the administration faculty of Markgräflich Badische, the cultural office of Bodensee district and a museum dedicated to the former monastery.

You may wonder why the abbey, which was established in 1134, is in Baroque style? It was because the original structure from the 12th century was destroyed by a fire in 1697 and the reconstruction was done in the style of Baroque.

An impressive church in Gothic style…

The only structure escaped the fire of 1697.

The sound of pipe organ was heard through the door which stood ajar. It seemed to be the church was holding an evening service. One thing I still remember vividly about that church was the small of the place. As we walked past the opened door, a whiff of musty smell, which was like the one of cellar’s, struck our nose. It smelt very very old, we agreed.

A cross on the wall of the church…

In the middle of the turfed area, there was a bust of a man, bearing an inscription “PRINZ WILHELM von BADEN”…

His family, the house of Baden, gained considerable territory in Southern Germany after the Holy Roman Empire was finally dissolved by Napoleon in 1802. Napoleon decided to reorganise the aftermath of the dissolution by giving away key territories to secure an alliance with the prince-elector of Baden and in which Salem Abbey was included.

The statue of the prince was facing squarely a building called “Marstall”…

“Marstall” means “royal stable” in German. This ornate structure was created in 1734 for the horses and carriages of the abbot and its guests. According to the guide book, the Baroque interior was still almost perfectly preserved and it was decorated with paintings and wood sculptures by Joseph Anton Feuchtmayer. If I had known more about the abbey beforehand, I could have shown all of them to mum. Damn!!

Along the Marstall, there were oblong buildings which appeared to house some studios and shops…

Some of them were clearly commercial premises and the others seemed to be used as a storage.

Beautiful roses were blooming here and there along the building…

The roses were very well kept and the place was spotlessly clean. But where is everybody? We were puzzled as there was not a single soul around us. ‘I guess all went home for the weekend already because it’s Friday?’ We reasoned as we pottered along the path.

Fancy meeting you here, your Majesty!

In one of the window, I spotted a bobblehead doll of Queen Elizabeth! The sight made us smile because it was totally unexpected.

Staying in Salem turned out to be a treat for both of us as the place was not too touristy, therefore, we could experience somewhat more authentic German atmosphere.

Did you know the place was given the biblical name “Salem”, which meant “place of peace”?

We sat on one of the wooden benches near the hotel and mused how the name was fitting to the place like Salem.

We should go back and have some rest, we stood up, patted our backsides and headed to the hotel.

Look mum, their door handle is so pretty!

Were these made by one of the blacksmiths who were displaying wroughtiron works in the windows along the abbey square?

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Beer garden @ Markgräflich Badischer Gasthof Schwanen

Before I start to write about our last German supper at their beer garden, let me fill you in with the history of this hotel. I still regret about not doing any homework before visiting this amazing place which resulted in me not allocating enough time to explore the hotel and its surrounding area.

Markgräflich Badischer Gasthof Schwanen was mentioned by the chronicler Franz Xaver Staiger in 1863. He recorded that the placed was called the “Gasthaus zum Schwanen” and it was built in 1665 as a monastery guesthouse of the Cistercian monastery.

Reichsprallat Anselm II Schwab, one of the abbots of the monastery Salem who was portrayed in 1749 by Gottfried Bernhard Göz in front of the Imperial Eagle…

Once upon a time, it was a monastery wine tavern and pub, and now, the place is a restaurant with a beer garden for the locals and visitors…

The beer garden was half-filled with guests who seemed to be enjoying a long summer evening with a lively conversation and glasses of beer.

Mum and I sat ourselves down at one of the tables and ordered beer…

Ahhh, how much we loved German beer! They were well chilled and rich without being too bitter. A perfect accompaniment to alfresco dining.

The menu was brought by a waitress who spoke very limited English and their menu was described in German only. Hmm, what should we do? We looked around and found two diners nearby who were eating something looked tempting. ‘Let’s try what they have!’ I pointed at their table and gestured to the waitress. She, in turn, nodded and disappeared into the kitchen.

While mum and I waited for our food, we sipped our beer and reminisced about our road trip. ‘Can you believe this beer garden is the last German beer garden of our holiday?’ We couldn’t help getting sentimental.

Then, the foods were brought to our table…

Mum had “Gebratene Schweinefilletmedaillons an Pfefferrahmsoße mit Eierspätzle und einum gemischten Salatteller” – fried pork fillet medallions with pepper cream sauce with egg tender pasta and mixed salad dish. She wanted spätzle because there would be nothing like it in Japan.
My last German supper was “Maishähnchenbrust an Rosmarinrahmsoße mit Basmatireis und einum gemischten Salatteller” – corned chicken breast with rosemary cream sauce with basmati rice and mixed salad dish. I hadn’t had rice for a long time, therefore, I enjoyed it very much.

While we were dining, we saw more than a few cyclists riding out from the gate nearby and were very intrigued by it. Maybe we should investigate what is behind the gate after dinner, we discussed as we chewed through our food…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Winding down

Bella was playing with an empty Bi-Facil bottle, and I felt blissful, sitting down on a sheepskin rug and watching her.

Things are definitely winding down. How nice.

During this holiday, I am gonna get stuck into a book, The Holy Roman Empire: A Thousand Years of Europe’s History…

While munching on my favourite treat…

Orangettes covered with dark chocolate! They are so divine, and I can’t stop eating them. There is one huge regret this Christmas though. I forgot to order my another seasonal favourite, marron glacé. I really miss the teeth-aching sweetness of the chestnut! Ahhh, l may have to run to F&M tomorrow…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Mum & Warplanes…

‘My god, they are HUGE!’ Mum gasped, her eyes widened as large as saucers.
We were at RAF Museum in Colindale, North London. As we sauntered around the displays, we noticed how the atmosphere was still and quiet. It felt like as if we were skirting around sleeping giants so we wouldn’t awaken them from their slumber…

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It was my mum’s very first encounter with real warplanes and she was astonished by the humongous sizes of them, especially, the US & British bombers.

Mum with a Vulcan Bomber…

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Mum, a Spitfire & Hurricane…

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After returning to Central London, we sauntered around Covent Garden. It was a chilly afternoon so we decided to have soup noodle at Wagamama.
Mum ordered a bowl of vegetable miso ramen but she wasn’t very impressed with the taste (or the lack of it) of the broth…

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As she gingerly picked up a strand of the noodle, she confessed that she would prefer a piece of buttered Hovis with a mug of PG Tips. Oh dear, I am sorry mum…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

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