The French and the Germans have been fighting over Alsace for about 400 years, so it is no surprise that this region of France, bordering the Rhine and Germany sounds French mostly but looks German. For the past 50 years things have been peaceful in the region and tourists move seamlessly between the two countries. Strasbourg, the beautiful and quaint capital of Alsace is familiar to many Canadians who served in the Canadian Armed Forces and were stationed at CFB Lahr, Germany which is only 30 miles away. Strasbourg was the R&R destination for Canuck troops on leave. Strasbourg is a compact city, well served by public transportation. The old town is on an island in the middle of the city, which lends itself to sightseeing boat tours. The magnificent Cathedral is the focal point of the city. It was started in 1176 and completed in 1439 and at one time was the tallest building in the world. The famous west front, decorated with thousands of figures, is a masterpiece of the Gothic era. Alsatian food and drink are superb and no visit would be complete without digging into a plate of choucroute – a huge mound of sauerkraut with ham, pork and sausage piled on top. An hour south of Strasbourg is the medieval town of Colmar—swarming with tourists year round but a must-see nonetheless.

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