Allen’s Adventures in Europe – Part Seven


SGW is very grateful to our friend and contributor, Allen Lai, for this final part of his adventures in Europe.

It would appear that my lucky star is still with us. Despite the rainy day forecast, we seem to have caught a break while we were on the road.

Strasbourg, the second most popular tourist city in France

Strasbourg is the second most popular tourist city in France, after Paris. The city is chiefly known for its sandstone Gothic Cathedral with its famous astronomical clock, and for its medieval cityscape of Rhineland black and white timber-framed buildings.

A city built on a system of canals, called Le Petite France because it was once used to house French soldiers with venereal diseases in the 16th century
The Ill (ILL) river was so named because the area used to isolate sick french soldiers

This is particularly so in the Petite France district or Gerberviertel (“tanners’ district”) alongside the Ill and in the streets and squares surrounding the cathedral, where the renowned Maison Kammerzell stands out. Walking around is like in a fairyland.

St Thomas Church dates back to the 12th century. Easily recognizable by its massive romanesque bell towers, one square, one hexagonal
The complicated waterway surrounding this medieval city
All the streets are lined with colorful cobblestones
One of the three remaining 14th-century ancient medieval ramparts towers along Ill (ILL) river. It used to have 90 towers

The executioners had a bad reputation in the Middle Ages.

The Tanner’s Guild
The famous Tanner’s house is on the right. The former headquarter of the city’s Tanner’s Guild (leather craftsman), now houses a restaurant
These pretty medieval half-timbered houses dated back to the 16-17 centuries are magnificently decorated. Their steep roofs are open over the attics where the hides used to dry
The building is beautiful from any angle
The Maison Kammerzellwhich
Maison Kammerzell is right next to the cathedral. This famous 14-century restaurant is a designated dining location for visiting officials

We had lunch at the famous historic Maison Kammerzellwhich is right next to the cathedral. This 14th-century Maison is not only famous for food, but it’s an appointed restaurant for all the presidents, visiting officials, movie stars, and famous visitors. Inside, we passed through the hall of fame. Ronald Reagan, de Gaulle…..were there. Climbing up to the third floor, we have to pull on the rope. The food and wine are incredible and the setting is classic.

The hall of fame
To get to the upper floors of the 14th-century Maison, we have to pull on the hanging ropes to climb the steep stairs
Another Michelin lunch at Maison Kammerzell

After lunch, we drove back to Heidelberg, Germany. It is considered one of the most beautiful cities in the country. The picturesque ensemble of the castle, the Old Town, and the river Neckar surrounded by hills, inspired the poets and artists of romanticism. Being a university city, there’s a special kind of vibe. But compared with my last visit before the pandemic, it looks quiet and many shops were out of business.

The 17th-century statue of the Madonna at the Kornmarkt Grain Marketplace
The landmark church of The Holy Spirit was built in 1998. It’s been used by both Catholics and Protestants at the same time with a partition wall in the middle for 200 years
Heidelberg castle is perched high on a hill overlooking this university city
Heidelberg Altstadt, the oldest part of the city. Behind the twin towers is the Carl Theodor Bridge crossing the Neckar river
The Heidelberg castle dating back to the Renaissance era was destroyed by war, fire, and pillaging
A night view of this castle
At night, tourists were leaving, and so did I. Many shops were closed, and compared with my last visit, it’s awfully quiet. But I love this city, and will certainly come back

We had our pork knuckle and German beer. Then went back to Frankfurt and got ready to fly home.  I have a great time. Europe never disappoints me. Not sure when the turmoils of this sick world will recover. But I am not waiting, making use of every opportunity to see the world. Back to Toronto, do my laundry then put everything back in my suitcase, getting ready for my next trip next month.


As this post is being uploaded, Allen is in South America visiting Peru. I received this message from him, shortly before his departure.

“I am on my way to Peru, it’s been always on my bucket list, long before I knew the existence of Machu Picchu. It was a 1947 expedition, where Norwegian explorer and writer Thor Heyerdahl set sail from Peru in a balsawood raft to prove that Polynesians originated from the Incas. In his book, the Kon Tiki expedition, he wrote about the Inca people and I was fascinated. The lost civilization, the culture, the people, the place, the extraterrestrial appearance. The book was published in 1950, the era when men and women took up the challenge, of climbing the highest mountains, conquering the oceans, and exploring the unknown with very little of what they knew, but tons of courage to face the seemingly impossible task. The very same era when I was born….lol”

SGW is looking forward to hearing about his adventures.

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Published by stewartgoeswalkies

Happily married man to a wonderful lady. Living in Hong Kong. In my younger days I enjoyed hiking, camping and rock climbing. I've trekked in the Himalayas and climbed Mt. Kinabalu in East Malaysia.

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