Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Ye Olde Teaser Poste
Prelude: This tower – the “Porte de Hôpital” - is the last remaining tower-gates of Strasbourg’s medieval city walls. It one of the last vestiges of the city wall that looped south of the historic Grand Ile. It is, as you would expect, next to the city’s sprawling hospital campus. That building next it that looks like a chapel? Totally not a chapel, dude.
Since October 2006, I have refrained from blogging much about the city’s more notable sights, as I did not want to ruin the surprise and delight of Strasbourg’s many interesting facets for that segment of my readership that was planning on visiting me. As far as I can tell from my blog statisitics, that amounts to exactly two people, but better safe than sorry, says I. I only started blogging about the city recently as there was no reasonable way I could get everything in between our last guest departing and our departure day (16 days away now).
In any case, the very last of our guests left last night (see ya, Mark!). In all, we had 54 visitors come to Strasbourg (not counting repeats, which brings it to 59 by my count) to see us in the 37 months we’ve been here. Roughly 50 of those stayed with us. I gave my city tour, or variations thereof, at least 28 times (not including several partial tours).
Much of what is on my tour is no surprise, even to the least-informed of visitors: everyone is at least dimly aware that Strasbourg has a beautiful cathedral, and minimal web-surfing will introduce people to the Petit France district (which I haven’t written about yet).
But there’s no point in visiting a city where you know a local if they aren’t able to show you something special, obscure, and off the beaten track. I have such a place on my tour, and it is a doozy. I call it the Super Secret Location.
I made each of my 54 guests a solemn promise: they were not to tell anyone - anyone - about the Super Secret Location once they left Strasbourg, and to discuss it only with other initiates. I have only hinted at its existence here on the View of the Marching Fishes. I am proud to say that I have introduced this place to native Alsatians that have lived in Strasbourg for most of their lives. They were amazed that they had not known of its existence, and entranced at the place itself. I wanted my future visitors, and now you – my beloved and allergic-to-the-comment-box readership – to share in that delight.
In my next post, I am going to describe the Super Secret Location. It’s a major step for me – with it, and Notre Dame out of the way, my favourite city sites will have been dispensed with, blog-wise (though trust me - I'm not done with this town yet). I’ve been saving this one for a long time, so it’s a little sad to finally post it – another sign that my time in Strasbourg is relentlessly pushing ever-closer to its end.