Wednesday, January 24, 2007


We've had our first real snowfall here - probably 5 to 7 centimetres. It's actually stayed on the ground too. Gives my Canadian soul a feeling of peace.

I've also had one of my few moments of superiority since coming here - France may have better health care, food, art, history and a remarkably beautiful landscape, but throw a little of the white stuff at them and they collapse.

Our friend Sebastien (from Bordeaux) has been talking for months about getting snow tires for his car. Knowing they don't get a lot of snow here, I thought that was unneccessary - you really only need them for the big dumps in Canada, or on roads that don't get cleared.

Turns out Sebastien knew whereof he spoke - the roads are insane. Strasbourg appears to have but one plow, attached to the front of a garbage truck. Sightings of it are rare - I believe I saw a horde of paparazzi chasing it near Rue Austerlitz. Sidewalks are bereft of either salt or sand (odd, because they sand them like crazy in the summer for some reason I can't fathom). Every road and walking surface has been pounded into a lethal ice sheet. I will grant that people are taking it in stride - people are still cycling, even if the cars are a little more subject to Newton's Law than they used to be.

The highways are, according to the local paper, even worse. Apparently some sort of school holiday is starting this week, so the autoroutes were busier than normal. Inevitably, they turned into a giant parking lot, with accidents blocking the way at several points. One town even had to deliver emergency rations to motorists stranded in the congestion.

None of this is unheard of in Canada of course - I'm looking at you, Vancouver-ites - but in the non-weenie portions of the country it generally takes ten times as much snow for this level of disruption.

1 comment:

julie said...

In my neck of the woods, they are forecasting lows (LOWS) of 1 to 3 degrees above zero for most of this week. Whether or not this will combine with some precipitation (none forecast) to create Japanese snow (or some reasonable version thereof), remains to be seen. I can see snow on the nearby(ish) mountains, however. That's nice. It can stay there. My Canadian soul is satisfied.