It's been a quite a while. Like a lot of time. I won't make any excuses, it was mostly just laziness, plus a few adventures that would require blogs of their own to cover all the stories. But, the conclusion is finally here, including weeks 8, 9, and 10!
At the end of Week 8, a friend and I decided to head to Germany for a short while and go exploring. We also stopped in the Alsace region, so there's plenty of food to show. First, on one of the several trains to Strasbourg, just on the border with Germany:
This trip was one of specialties. After leaving Wednesday afternoon, we had until Friday to eat as many regional specialties as possible. Therefore, in Strasbourg, I made sure to eat some tarte flambée (or flammekeuche, the German name), a doughy flatbread with crème fraîche, onions, and lardons (bacon bits).
After staying the night in Strasbourg, we took a short trip to the other side of the border and to the South a little to Freiburg. Now came time for the German specialties. Having traveled to Germany and Freiburg specifically before, I was mostly there to introduce my friend to the cuisine and tourist attractions while taking the opportunity to eat some good old käsespätzle, an eggy pasta covered in melted cheese. Easily found anywhere (but in our case from the Freiburg markthalle), it's truly a sight to behold:
Spätzle is not a regional specialty, though. Freiburg lies near the Schwarzwald (Black Forest), which means it's one of the best places to get a Shwarzwälder Kirschtorte (literally Black Forest Cherry torte). The torte is comprised of layers of cherry jam, chocolate sponge cake, and whipped cream.
Less spectacular in nature but still in the spirit of the Black Forest comes Week 9. I didn't eat anything all that special, except for this vegan French clone of the kirschtorte found in Lyon:
To be completely honest, I didn't like it as much as the one I had in Freiburg. It wasn't because it was a vegan clone, it was simply not the right proportions (and it probably didn't help that it had been sitting around all day since being made in the morning). In the background is the cake my good friend got. I don't recall exactly what it was, but I remember it was almost entirely white chocolate.
The next meal I have to share is somewhat bittersweet. No, not the meal itself, but the setting. It's time to talk about the farewell dinner, the last time some of us would see each other, at least for a while. For this, I decided to go back to the basics. For the plat principal, chicken and potatoes (and a jus d'ananas, pineapple juice):
And for dessert, chocolate mousse:
But, the cuisine doesn't end there. While this may have been one of the last meals I ate in France, it wasn't the last thing I ate before arriving at home. That award goes to the Premium Meal on my Condor Airlines flight home. I present, for your consideration, an airplane dinner:
There's a lot to unpack here, and I mean that both figuratively and literally. From the top left to bottom right (not in order of consumption): quinoa with ham, butter and cheese, strawberry mousse, a small chocolate, a salt and pepper shaker, chicken and veggies (trust me), and a pretzel roll. Also, apple juice. Surprisingly, I enjoyed this food and the overall flight more than any other I've taken. The temperature inside the plane was nice and the food was actually surprisingly good. But I could practically smell the fish and chips getting closer and closer as the flight progressed.
Strasbourg, like many other European cities, is a city of history. One of the most prominent historical locations is the Cathédrale Notre Dame, an impressively large cathedral. The pictures don't even give it justice, I had to crane my neck just to catch a glimpse of the top.
Afterwards, the air conditioned Palais Rohan was a welcome, quiet break. The familiar architecture hides not just one, but three museums, the musée des beaux arts (fine arts museum), musée archéologique (museum of archaeology), and musée des arts décoratifs (museum of decorative arts).
After our bus ride to Freiburg and a night of much-needed sleep, we took a short tram ride and hiked up to the Kanonenplatz (literally cannon plaza) to be greeted by a breathtaking view of the Freiburger Münster and much of the city:
After hiking back down, eating our fill of kirschtorte and käsespätzle, and exploring some of the other attractions (such as the crocodile statue below), it was time to call it a day. The last day of the trip.
The trip to Freiburg was one of the last major trips I made. After a few days in Lyon, I went to the French Alps again and was greeted with the usual pleasant view:
And then it was back to Lyon to pack, and to leave. Shortly before our last day, the entire class had a picnic in the parc de la tête d'or, this time in another corner of the park:
And then, just as soon as it started, and with a flurry of train rides and a flight, it was over.
A lot of the costs during this time period were for travel, though I did splurge on food, despite friends taking us in for a night and feeding us. At the time of writing, I've lost track of several of the receipts, so some prices are estimated. Also, I took out some cash to use in Germany, as their credit card infrastructure doesn't tend to accept international cards, so it was more difficult to track spending.
- Approximately 8.95€ for "chili" before leaving
- The first train from Lyon to Strasbourg cost 89.60€ (round trip)
- From there, the trip across the border and back was 23.50€
- And finally, the round trip bus ride to Freiburg came out to 6.99€
- A couple euro for a slice of kirschtorte from Gmeiner
- 1.80€ for a single-journey Strasbourg transit ticket (for the night we arrived)
- 3.60€ for a day ticket the next morning
- About €25 for dinner plus a drink in Strasbourg (at Au Brasseur)
- 12€ for sushi once I got back to Lyon
- An 18€ tourist t-shirt (because you have to have one)
- About 5€ at a vegan pâtisserie for a piece of cake
- 6.50€ at a shop near the parc de la tête d'or for a sandwich and some gummy candies
- 5€ for juice for everyone, to bring to the picnic at the parc
- 5€ for ice cream
- 15€ for chocolate to bring back home to my family
- 7€ (estimated) total for bread during this period
- 22€ of miscellaneous (read: I forgot) purchases
The subtotal for the final three weeks comes to 256.94€, with a non-chocolate total of 229.94€. Of that, 125.49€ was spent on travel. Split among the three weeks, that's about 76€ a week, so overall not that bad.
This is it. This is the end. After all the delicious food and amazing views from the train windows, it has to come to an end. The last few weeks I got more adventurous, exploring the city and going out with my friends at night, all before it abruptly but not unexpectedly ended with the flight home. But the whole time I was in Lyon, I wasn't just sitting around, wondering what the future might hold. No, I was planning, calculating what I would do next.
But those are stories for another time.
For now, this is me, signing off one last time. Goodbye.