Today (December 16th) was a long day on the bus, however, traveling through the Alps was incredibly beautiful. Even though it was foggy the snow covered mountains were visibly showing the grandeur of the Alps.
We stopped for a few minutes at Liechtenstein which is a small country of only 37,000 people, with a vibrant economy. It was so foggy that in my picture Vaduz castle is barely visible. This castle is the residence of the princely family and is one of the oldest noble families of Europe. And of course we had to get our passports stamped!
We continued our scenic drive through the Black Forest which is an area of unrivaled beauty. Once again it was covered in fog which even made it more mysterious and evocative of all the legends associated with it.
We then proceeded into the the Black Forest spa town of Baden-Baden with its Christmas market with ongoing Christmas bands throughout the evening. In days past this was the destination of European aristocracy; therefore its architecture is most elegant. And Brahms lived and worked here from 1865 to 1874. The hotel was a hotel that set forth the charm of yesteryear.
Dec. 17. We left this morning from Baden-Baden to travel to Strasbourg to visit the cathedral and its old town with its medieval covered bridges. It is located near the German border in the Alsace region and thus it is immersed in the Franco-German culture. Its historic center is beautiful and charming with its medieval streets. And of course decorated for the Christmas markets.
Then there is the cathedral dedicated to Our Lady. Although many parts are Romanesque it is a fine example of Gothic architecture from 1318. The cathedral was the world’s tallest building until 1874. And it is still the sixth tallest church in the world. Goethe said it was “sublimely towering, a wide spreading tree of God.” It is constructed of the beautiful local stone ftom the Vosges mountains or the Black Forest and this gives it a pink hue.