20 km from the German border but the difference splashes to the eyes. Strasbourg. The French slowly smoking cigarets next to the coffee shops, waiters rushing with plates full of baked potatoes and melting cheese on top. Motorcyclists squeezing between dogs and children chasing the soap balloons. Even though locals complain people are cold and closed in this part of France, trust me, guys, you have never been to a traditional Bavarian village.
Thanks to Hang-outs on Couchsurfing, two hours later I met a Peruvian girl who had been exploring Europe for the last year. Priscila has been using CS all over France, Germany, the Netherlands and knows every single couchsurfer from Strasbourg.
I somehow gravitate towards all Latinas in my life…
…and find the best representatives of South American countries in Europe. As the evening turned out to be way more pleasant with the light wind and some sun rays, we degustated local cappuccino. A Russian hitchhiker – couchsurfer also joined us for a walk across small bridges. She has been hitchhiking all over Central Europe and Balkans over the span of last weeks. So pretty a nice company.
I spent the evening with a Columbian, a Venezualian and a Peruvian sipping slowly Portwine in the bar right next to the main sightseeing point of the city – the Strasbourgian Cathedral. Unfortunately, we failed to get to the only Latin place – Barco Latino as it closed due to the weather conditions.
You will feel the spell of the city once you dive into the quarter of Petite France with multicolor building and cafeterias, restaurants and bridges, epic views and the smell of cheese.
Some Tips for the traveler
- I would not recommend going only to Strasbourg. It would be way nicer to check the surroundings. Germany is 1.5h from the city. Colmar – super touristic, but charming city – 30 min. And definitely Paris 2h with ICE train.
- Couchsurfing is easy to find but the only problem might appear – hosts love to travel! So make sure you have a backup plan.
- Basing on the Russian girl’s hitchhiking story – it is not difficult to get a ride to Strasbourg but make sure you go via small towns, not Paris, Frankfurt, or Munich.
- France is way more expensive than the neighbor Germany. Touristic cities especially. I would recommend preparing some food at home or buy fresh bread with hummus/cheese/tomatoes and enjoy it by the river.