Friday, July 15, 2016

Between the research and the sadness...

There was time to explore today. We walked around window shopping for a little bit while searching for a place to eat lunch. This allowed us to just take in the architecture and the language and the culture of the city. We strolled through an open air market selling mostly clothing and vegetables, an interesting mix. We decided on an Italian restaurant near the Cathedral before making our ascent to the top. This is not a climb for the weak or faint. We climbed up 332 stairs, and while the website calls it "thrilling," I would more accurately categorize it as terrifying.

About half way, we had to cross platform which is maybe, maybe two feet wide. At first, I thought that was it. I was okay with it even though it wasn't the stunning view I was expecting. We were, after all, still pretty high up. I figured those mountains in the distance were what they meant when they said you could see Germany.

I started looking for the way back down.

That's when we realized, there were more stairs. And those stairs kept going up.

We climbed another 150 or so stairs and finally made our way to the top. Once on the top platform, it was stunning panoramic view of the city, stretching as far as the surrounding mountains, with views into the Black Forest of Germany.

I can't even explain with words. If I wasn't so freaked out by how high we were and that the platform we were standing on was bowed, I maybe could have enjoyed it. I walked slowly over to the edge to snap a couple of pictures, but I couldn't stay too long by the side or my insides retreated and the urge to vomit overcame me. Like I told the kids, if humans were meant to be so high up, we would have had wings. But, we don't.

Anyhow, the views were gorgeous. I'll save you the misery of having to climb up yourself.

The tops of the buildings are art in and of themselves. I'm actually thinking about printing and framing these first two and hanging them in my house. The colors, the textures, the lines. All of it.

This is looking east, towards Kehl, Germany which is situated at the base of those mountains just on the other side of the River Rhine. 

And then there is this. 

I bet you're going to stop reading here. There is really no reason to go on. I know. 

The climb down was actually more terrifying than the climb up, if you can believe it. I definitely threw up in my mouth a little. You know that moment when you finally get back to the ground? Where you drop to your knees and kiss the dirt just because you feared you would never see it again? That kind of scared of heights?

That wasn't me. Don't be ridiculous. But it could have been. Inside I wanted to do it. I just didn't want to break down that way in front of the kids an all. 

From here, it was imperative my feet stay on the earth. We visited the Musee Alsacien to help wrap our heads around the art and culture of the region, specifically what made it so distinct. 

The tour through the house explained the housing structures, heating, kitchens, costumes, religions, and much more. The area has such an interesting history, as it has been at times German and French, therefore the history and cultures of both are intertwined in the area. At the same time, the area is distinct. Centered as it is, the area has learned to live harmoniously with a diverse mix of cultures. Certainly, this wasn't always the case, but it seems to be mostly true now. Which is saying something, ya know?

My favorite artifact from the museum was this stained glass, because for me, it simplifies and exemplifies the area. I could bore you with the pictures of Alsatian polychromatic furniture, and bronze cake pans if you want. Just let me know. 

But wouldn't you rather be taken to this peaceful town surrounded by the beauty of nature? This was what it was like to live here, at least to some extent, when my ancestors were here. This is how, in the face of today's events, I chose to end my day...

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