Showing posts from June, 2010


Metz is to Europe what the Oakland Raiders are to the NFL, only the city was swapped between France and Germany two more times. The capital of the Lorraine lost its French host in 1870 when NapolĂ©on III surrendered to Kaiser Wilhelm I, Metz went to Germany. World War I found Metz back in France in 1918 only to have Hitler re-annex the city in 1940. Shorter-lived than the Los Angeles Raiders though,  Metz was liberated again by Allied troops in 1944 where she now has become the new must-see in France's art museum line-up.

End of football simile.

A short drive from Nancy delivered us via premature parking to an underground shopping center parking lot. I made a wrong turn which turned into another hike. But, who can complain walking around a city like this? Not us.

We popped to the surface at Galerie Lafayette, a large shopping center adjacent to the Promenade de l'Esplanade, a park full of sculptures of what appeared to be lactating bitches. I don't know how else to explai…


The car was reserved through Alamo. The girl assisting us with the contract appeared to think us to be out of our minds for lugging our adventure's burden on our backs and renting a car to go from there to Rome.

We don't think twice about road trips under starry skies above. Five hundred miles a day is a picnic. We drive to Vegas for an evening and return. In an area as culturally concentrated as Europe, especially the Benelux region, one might assume everyone to be road bound exploring all the Continent has to offer. Not entirely, rarely it seems. Language and at one time currency were boundaries enough to keep curiosities sequestered to homelands. And perhaps a prejudice or two. Not that our car rental girl had or expressed any in her amusement of our trek.

If I recall we had five days to go and at round twenty five bucks a day this seemed like a deal, until one adds on fees, taxes, border-crossing fees and insurance for us risky Americans. Added up pretty quickly. All told…


Our TGV wove through threatening cumulus clusters and according to the ground it looked like rain, an ample amount, but one couldn't tell by our windows to the world of eastern France. Nothing sticks, it seems, at one hundred seventy miles per hour. You're lucky if the colors of the French countryside adhere to your optic nerves.

Strasbourg was upon us long before our feet were ready to mount another unknown direction. As we approached the city it was completely unfamiliar, looking more like Raleigh, North Carolina than Disney's magical Alsatian hamlet. Factory outlet stores, franchised retail venues and auto malls. They've learned much from the West, maybe too much.

It was raining when we pulled into Gare de Strasbourg and for the first time I regretted not taking my mother-in-law's advice of packing a little collapsible umbrella. Progress thwarted the regret though since the entire facade of the train station had been enclosed in a glass dome and the Place de …