Last Tarte Flambée @ Strasbourg

I love my Bella to bits and nothing will ever change my feeling towards her. However, the life with Bella the Dynamo tends to be full of unexpected mini drama and it can be a bit more than I am asking for. For example, I took her to our usual Regents Park run this afternoon and she came back with loose claws, one definitely on her right front paw and another suspect on her left hind leg. How did it happen?! Are you a trouble magnet or something? You are the trouble wearing fur, aren’t you?

Nothing was wrong with her then…

On our way home, I noticed that something was wrong with her. Normally, she was pretty chilled out on my lap after playing in the park. However this time, she seemed to be paying too much attention to her paws. I felt around her pads with my fingers, expecting some small twigs and leaves stuck between them but found none. And Bella didn’t like it at all. She never dared to sink her teeth in my fingers, yet she made sure I knew her discomfort. At home, I gave her a more through examination while Hubbie held her so she wouldn’t wriggle too much. Then, I discovered one of her claws was definitely loose. Oh dear, I will have to make an appointment to a vet tomorrow, I sighed. My heart sank because I was super committed and busy this Monday and a visit to the vet would be overladen my plate for sure. However, it has to be sorted and the life is like that, isn’t it? Continuous problem solving exercise…

Probably, the sky above the pavilion was telling me something…

There may be trouble ahead…

Anyway, let me get back to the evening my mum and I had our last tarte flambée aka the flammekueche at Strasbourg.

After leaving the cathedral, we sauntered southward, trying to find some inviting eatery along Rue du Maroquin.

‘What do you fancy, mum?’ She pondered for a while and replied, ‘How about Alsasian pizza with beer?’ It sounded very agreeable, therefore, we headed to Le Gruber la brasserie Alsacienne.

The restaurant was pretty full but soon their receptionist ushered us to one of their tables facing the street…

Since it was one of those summer weekends, Strasbourg was brimful of tourists from all over the world, especially from France and Germany, and we were a little worried as if the service could be slow because of it. However, the staffs, who must have been dealing with the tides of visitors on daily bases, seemed to be totally unfazed  and came to take our order fairly quickly.

Mum ordered tomato and basil tarte flambée and I ordered a ham and cheese one…

Mmmmm, tarte flambée and beer are the best bed fellows! The saltiness of the dish enhanced the flavour of the beer so well. We enjoyed our last supper at this historical city very much…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Prayer @ Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Strasbourg

The clock went backward during the last weekend and I still haven’t finished writing about my summer holiday! I am so ashamed.

Believe me because I am feeling rather desperate and also disappointed by my slackness. Ohhh, I must find time and energy to resume chronicling the road trip! However, the longer I lay it off, the harder it becomes to get back to my former productive self. I am so depressed.

Anyhow, I have to restart it from somewhere, therefore, it goes like this…

——————–

My mum let out a deep sigh and her shoulders dropped when she checked the latest news in Japan through her iPod touch after we returned to our room at Hôtel Cathédrale from our tram trip. ‘Mao-chan died today.’ She looked visibly distressed while she scrolled the screen.

Mao Kobayashi, a.k.a Mao-chan was a Japanese broadcaster and also a wife of a famous Kabuki actor. She was battling with breast cancer and her days living through the ordeal was recorded in her blog.

I didn’t know much about her and her illness until the BBC featured her as one of the hundred women who influenced the society, 100 Women 2016.

Mum sat at the edge of the bed and uttered, ‘A poor woman. I wish if I could be in her place so her young children would have their mum.’ ‘Oh mum, I never wanna lose you! But I know what you mean…’ We both felt helpless and sad.

‘Let’s visit the cathedral, mum.’ I tapped on her shoulder.

We tried to visit the place one week ago, yet we didn’t in the end because the queue for the entry was too long. However this time, the queue was almost non-existent. It may have been due to the fact that the cathedral was to be closed for the day in twenty minutes time.

The first thing we did as we entered the cathedral was to buy a candle and pray for Mao-chan and her grieving family…

My knowledge about her was best described as sketchy, but her untimely tragic death did touch me.

Unlike her, we are very fortunate, mum and I agreed as we placed a flickering candle on the tray.

Time spent with one’s loved one. That was what she must have craved ardently yet it was cruelly snatched away from her. It must have been heartwrenching for her to realise that she would have to leave them behind.

I promised to mum that I would never ever bore mum or Hubbie with me moaning about lines on my face or freckles on my nose. Because I was so lucky to be alive and all the marks I bore on my body were evidence of my physical existence in this world.

Poor Mao-chan would have loved to have lots of laughter lines on her beautiful face and to grow old happy! For her sake, we must try to be grateful and enjoy everyday as it comes, mum and I put our hands together and prayed.

After dedicating a candle and prayer, we walked around the cathedral.

The inside of the enormous gothic structure was awe inspiring. Soaring walls were like a deep ravine and the nave in front of us was far and long…

Before the present cathedral was constructed between 1176 to 1439, there was a cathedral in a Romanesque style with three apses which was reputed to be decorated with gold and precious stones.

We wanted to explore this amazing place  longer but a church official started to herd up the visitors towards the exit, pointing at his wrist watch. Ok, ok, OK! We’ve got your message. We gingerly started to walk to the door.

Out of the darkness…

and into the light…

Now, we must find somewhere to have our last supper at Strasbourg…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Petit Train, ambulance & soldiers…

We arrived back to the city centre from the west bank, using our return tickets. We alighted at Broglie which was a tram stop one stop away from Homme de Fer. From there, we walked down Rue du Dôme and at Rue des Hallebardes, we turned right and followed the street towards our hotel.

Same as the most of the streets around the famous cathedral, rue des Hallebardes was lined with high-end fashion boutiques, chocolatiers and beauty shops. Their show windows were beautifully dressed and the items on display were all very seductive.

How about this backpack for a champagne picnic?…

Very chic, huh? They also had a matching set of canvass chairs too.

Then, we saw the Petit Train which came down the street towards us and stopped…

 

​A man was strapped on the stretcher, and the medics were standing around the open doors…

They seemed to be in no hurry to take the patient away. Maybe, he has injured himself rather than he is suspected of health scares, such as heart attack or brain hemorrhage, we guessed as we observed the scene.
Then, we saw a group of soldiers coming down the street…

They marched on, stony-faced…

The sight reminded us that we were living in a precarious time. A sense of danger was never far away…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Homme de Fer to Porte de l’Hôpital

Mum and I traveled to the south of the city, using Line A. We wanted to visit the area called Petite France because it looked most interesting when the Petit Train took us there last time.

From Homme de Fer to Porte de l’Hôpital…

As we alighted from the tram, a fire engine appeared and sped past us…

 

 

Allez, pompiers!

Mum and a tram…

The streets around Quai Saint-Nicolas were very quiet…

‘Not much is happening here, is it?’

Mum and I were a bit disappointed because most of the business on the south bank of the river were closed and the area appeared deserted. It was a very hot afternoon, and we were dying to replenish ourselves with some cold drink. Yet, it took us ages before we stumbled across a small cafe on Place Henri Dunant. At Cafe Recto-verso, we sat at one of the tables under the shade and drank orange juice.

We felt much energised after a breather and headed northwards, crossing Ponts Couverts which connected the north bank and the south bank.

Then, we carried on sauntering along Quai Turckhelm…

At Rue du Faubourg-National, we crossed to the west bank of the river and walked to a tram stop at Faubourg-National Gare.

Now, it is time for us to head back to the cathedral, we waited for Line B to carry us home…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

How to ride it @ Strasbourg 

‘Now then, how are we gonna buy tickets? And where is a ticketing machine??’, we scratched our heads and looked around. Unless you are a total stranger to the city, the people nowadays don’t buy paper tickets to use public transports, do they? In London, New York, Paris, Tokyo, etc, we tend to buy a pass or use a credit card. And it is all great because paper-free equals mess-free and no queuing at a ticket office means time-efficient.

However, if you are a total stranger to the place, finding the way around is not as easy. ..

Behind my mum, there was a machine with a “Validez ici” sign. It looked like we would need to validate our tickets before boarding the tram. But where can we buy the actual tickets?  We asked a group of university students where we could find a ticketing machine, and they showed us the machine further down the platform.

The fruit of our effort…

After a few attempts, we managed to acquire ourselves the tickets! Now, we are not gonna be mistaken as fare dodgers, we smiled as we waited for our ride.

Look, the tram is approaching!

 

And departing…​

 


Enough observation. We are getting on now…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

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