07/03/2004: "Almost Home"
Sorry I didn't post for a few days while we were in Strasbourg and Lille. The French keyboards have a distinctly different layout (Azerty) which makes typing very very slow. A guy in Orleans had a Qwerty keyboard, and our motel in Lyon had WiFi so we could use our own.
In Strasbourg, we checked out the cathedral which has an astronomical clock which is hundreds of years old. At 12:00 sun time, which is 12:30 French daylight time, it goes through an elaborate bunch of movements, with an old man chasing a young one around a circle, the twelve apostles of Christ walking in front of him, a rooster flapping its wings and crowing, a cherub turning over a sandglass, and Christ crossing himself. It's all narrated and they charge admission.
Strasbourg also has a really nice modern art museum whose permanent collection has lots of Kandinsky and their own Jean Arp. They had an exhibit featuring Roland Topor, an illustrator who drew lots of fantastic stuff. Kind of the French Gorey.
We were going to go to Brugge, Belgium to be close to Calais, where our Channel Tunnel train reservation left from, but we decided to say in Lille, France, instead. We weren't really there long enough to get much of an impression except that its streets are pretty twisty -- next time we'll take the tunnel train directly from there instead of from Calais, which is like Tijuana or Tangier.
In Strasbourg and Lille, we pretty much gave up on the world-class restaurants, and had inexpensive but good local food. In Strasbourg, that means German food made by French chefs -- sauerkraut made with sweet wine instead of vinegar, head of veal (it's pretty fatty), sausages.
We're back in London, where the Internet cafes have Qwerty keyboards. We'll have dinner, probably Indian food, and then hop on our plane tomorrow morning at 10 which will arrive only three hours later in SF at 1 pm. (plus 8 hours of time change...) Then there will be a pile of mail to sort, some Tivoed programs to watch, and some bugs to fix at work. And, we'll have to sort through the thousands of pictures we've taken to pick out a handful (more than that are too boring to slog through) to put up.