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Overnight Stop at Strasbourg, France – Day 47
Wednesday 16th September 2009 – France
I started the day with breakfast which was included, and checked out. The bus stop was only around the corner from the hostel so it wasn’t far to lug my gear. While waiting I spoke to one of the girls who was also waiting for the bus, and was also at the previous hostel that I was in. I was ready to leave Luxembourg now, and move on to other places.
Once in Luxembourg city again, I made my way to the station and waited briefly for the train to arrive. It wasn’t very busy so I had a lot of room to spread my things. As we set off, a horde of police and customs people filed there way down the aisle, checking passports and bags etc. One look at mine and the lady just said it was OK, and didn’t bother to search it. The rest of the trip was hassle free and gave me the chance to relax a little.
I arrived in Strasbourg, in France, as it was on the way to Switzerland, my next destination. I got my tickets for Switzerland and popped into the tourist office for guidance to the hostel. At this point I posted some postcards, then got on the correct train to a place called ‘Jardin de deux rives’. Once I got off the bus, I couldn’t work out in which direction I should be going, and once I turned back to back track, having realised I was on the wrong path, I saw the signs for the hostel and had to walk a fair way down a long road by the river to get to it.
I checked into a room with 2 other beds, and with a toilet and shower, it looked really nice. They didn’t have WI-FI so I couldn’t make any further bookings at this point. I tried to get some food from the vending machines, but they weren’t accepting money it seemed, so I went on a walk over the river find a food place.
I didn’t find anywhere to get any food, but I did notice the fact that one side of the river was France, the other was Germany. It was weird to see shops on one side in one language, and just over the bridge they were in a completely different language. I went back into the French side, and carried on searching for food. It was a bit blowy by now, although not cold. As I walked along, a couple of guys started circling me on their bikes talking in French I told them I was English and didn’t understand them, which was probably a bad idea, because then they started shouting at me. Others from a nearby corner started gesturing at me, and spitting in my direction, and I did my best to just ignore them. But as others walked towards me I figured it was an idea to get the hell out of there, so I crossed the road and headed back. They were shouting in my direction until I was out of sight.
My search for food had drawn a blank, and I was a little more convinced that the French hate the English, if I needed any convincing. So I made for the hostel, and just got a snack from another vending machine. It was gone 4pm by now, and dinner was at 7pm, so I thought I may as well just wait, save some money in the mean time.
Back in the room, I was surprised I was still the only one inhabiting there. I used the opportunity to rest myself, then took my partially rested self down stairs for a go on the big, metal Internet machines. Each button had to be pressed with some authority for it to register, and being a French keyboard, it was hard to figure out the layout. It had short cut buttons for ‘@’ and ‘.com’, which was useful. But for me it actually took longer, because I would begin to type it out manually, then realise there was a short cut button, so would wipe out what I had already written, and use the button, crazy! Once I’d done all I could in terms of booking ahead some hostels – most were booked up now as much as 5 days ahead – I then used my ticket to grab my evening meal.
It wasn’t much but at least it was a meal. The service was OK, that is until they found out I was English, then they didn’t smile at or talk to me any more. The hostel was overrun by college students and the noise was deafening in the canteen. The noise level cut sharply as the trolley carrying all the plates the students had used, toppled onto the floor, smashing each and every one. Not surprising as the stack resembled a giant jenga tower made of porcelain, yet they still kept stacking. I had to smile, but I bet it was less than funny for the staff who were there that night.
With the fun and games over, belly adequately satisfied, I headed back to my still unoccupied room. I wondered if I would have the room to myself tonight.
I completed my usual routine of getting the next days things ready, set my alarm and readied myself for bed. To my joy I had the room to myself, toilet and shower and lots of room, lucky me 🙂
Written by Daniel Stevens,
Founder of Roundtheworldtrip.org.
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