Monday, July 5, 2010

Getting Caught Up

It has been a wild and crazy 3 weeks. There is a lot going on here in Germany. Most importantly, Germany just advanced into the semifinals of the World Cup! I will talk about the festivities that went on during the game in a later post, but first I would like to get caught up on what I have been leaving out, including my trip to Strasbourg.

I left off talking about my vacation to Kos and how beautiful it was. After that weekend, I had a few days of classes followed by a trip to the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France. The city itself is located very close to the border of Germany and France, which made the trip from Pforzheim only about one and a half hours long. Our first stop was an appointment at the European Parliament. At this point in the program, I saw a variety of buildings and became fond of the different styles of architecture and the detailed work that went into the structures. The Parliament was no different.
It was great to travel to and tour the Parliament. We had an interesting discussion with one of the employees who talked about the building itself, credentials for becoming an employee, current events and topics being discussed, and a brief Q&A with our group. One neat aspect of our tour was entering the "meeting place" to view the different countries representatives discuss their political views on a topic. What caught me by surprise was how each representative communicated with each other. Each seat, including visitors, had an earpiece that would translate what the speaker was saying into a variety of languages. One thing to note is whether or not the communication from one person to the next is being properly translated so that each representative has a clear understanding about what each other means. This could eventually cause a problem when trying to compromise during a debate, voting period, etc. Regardless, the European Parliament left me astonished as far as the complexity, structure, and diversity of such an organization.

Strasbourg was a very neat city to visit, so I am glad it was part of our program. It was great to take everything in and get another cultural experience from a city rich in history. Not only did we get to explore the city on our own, but we also had the opportunity to take a boat tour throughout Strasbourg, which left us even more culturally satisfied.

The architecture of many of the buildings is what fascinated me most. I am a fan of the architecture of different churches or cathedrals, and Strasbourg is home to one of the most famous, Cath├ędrale Notre-Dame-de-Strasbourg, or the Cathedral of Our Lady of Strasbourg. It was also important to me because two years prior, my brother had the opportunity to visit Strasbourg and told me about this Cathedral.
After a long day of touring the city, our final stop was a restaurant on our way home famous for their Flammkuchen. I had it before during my stay in Landau three years prior, but forgot exactly what it had tasted like. Its texture can be described as a mix between a pizza and a chip but with many different toppings that can be ordered. Since we had such a vast group, we ordered almost 2 of each kind. In the end, I had some interesting flavors surrounding my taste buds.

1 comment:

  1. Sorry you did not get to Gutenberg Plaza and see the statue of Johann. At one point, Gutenberg fled Mainz in German for Strasbourg. However, he's buried in Mainz and there's a statue of him there also.