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France
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9 July 1998

            We drove through Luxembourg and eastern France the next morning.  Local highways are one lane each direction, winding with no shoulder, and pass by houses and barns right up against them.  You don’t slow down for villages; you’re lucky if there is a sidewalk between your car and the 3, 4, or 5 story shops and houses.  Approaching the city of Strasbourg, we could see the massive old church towering over everything.  But once we got to town, we could no longer see it because most buildings were 4 to 6 stories high.  We had a hotel reservation in Strasbourg, which we finally found.  I saw an old church near the hotel and thought that was the one we went to see, but it wasn’t.  The other one was about 8 blocks the other direction, which we walked like everyone else.  We couldn’t actually see it till we got to it, what with the tall buildings and curved streets.  Then we just stopped dead in our tracks.  It was … awesome!  It was about a thousand years old, and a thousand feet tall, massive and ornate inside and out.  It was stunning!  We took lots of pictures. 

                 

                 

                 

                 

            In our walking around, we passed by the other church and were very surprised by it.  It was gothic style and large by any standards, and several hundred years old.  But, a three-story building had been built next to it with shops on the ground floor and apartments above those.  This building was literally attached to the church; you couldn’t slide a sheet of paper between them.  This building was continuous, and when it got past those exterior arches of the old church, the building was 5 or 6 stories high and curved back to attach to the higher part of the church.  We’ve never seen anything like that!  Unfortunately, our pictures of that one did not turn out any good.

            We stopped at a MacDonald’s to eat and found they served their hamburgers on croissants.  No one there spoke English, as it is not a tourist town.  However, the menu was on the countertop, so we could just point to the picture of what we wanted.  Fries are fritz and are served with mayonnaise.  Sprite is the same in any language.

            Getting out of town the next morning and finding our way across the border back into Germany, turned out to be a real ordeal.  We ended up on small local roads again, but probably saw a lot more of Germany than we would have seen on the autobahn.  We saw a lot of small garden plots all together.  People live in the cities or villages, but have a garden plot out in the country.  In some places they put very small houses on their plot and use it for a weekend home.  With the European Union, all of the borders are open and mostly unmanned.

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