The next three days of our trip was spent in Strasbourg, but the stay was uneventful due to my friend having to work long days and I spent one long day working from our Airbnb apartment, one day partially working, partially planning the rest of our trip, and doing laundry. Not that Strasbourg isn’t a beautiful city, but work, some practical errands, and incessant rain made sure that focus was on other things than being a tourist.
We drove from Gruyères to Strasbourg without incident (well, I think I got caught on traffic camera, but no ticket as of now) and I dropped my friend at her place of work and headed towards Natzweiler-Struthof concentration camp, which is located some 50km or one hour by car from Strasbourg. It was the only concentration camp established by the Nazis on present-day French territory. It was in operation from May 1941 to September 1944.
I had some issues finding it with both the car’s GPS and GPS app on my phone, but finally managed to locate the site with the help of road signs. The Natzweiler-Struthof has two locations. Upper location with the barracks and lower location about 2km away with the gas chamber. It rained when I arrived, so I started with the museum and by the time I was done the weather became better, so I could explore the outdoor site. It was a bit surreal as the area is so quiet, peaceful, and surrounded by such beautiful nature that it was difficult to imagine the events that took place here.
You can spend a couple of hours in the museum alone, but the gas chamber was closing at 5 p.m., so I needed to make sure I can see everything in the 2.5 h I had, so I didn’t spend more than half an hour in the museum and headed through the gate to the site where barracks were located.
Some parts were off-limits (e.g. parts of the grass and close access to the stone monument in the background on the photo above was closed due to it not being quite stable), but otherwise you could explore freely. On this Monday in mid-September there were very few people, so I could explore the entire site with like five other people.
One of the barracks was empty, but the other hosted an exhibition.
After that I headed down the road to see the gas chamber, which was also located in an absurdly idyllic place, right on the edge of a village.
After this I drove back to Strasbourg and met with our Airbnb hosts, got the keys and settled in. The apartment was quite good in terms that it had parking, good wifi, and was spacious for two people. The bad side was that it was quite bare with just essentials, so it wasn’t cosy. In the evening we went out to explore a bit of Strasbourg before dinner.
We had dinner at a restaurant called Le Kuhn. It was okay and had available tables on a short notice. It served traditional French dishes and was more of a bistro. The food was quite good, but nothing mind-blowing. 🙂
The next day I worked in the morning, created our travel itinerary for the rest of the week, and found a laundromat, which was located less than a block away from our apartment. The problem was that for the life of me I couldn’t figure out how to buy detergent from the machine at the laundromat, so I had to go to a store and buy that first. I wasn’t the only one as a couple of people after me couldn’t figure that either, but at least I could give them some of the detergent I bought. 😀
In the evening we went to eat to a restaurant called La Hache. This is a restaurant my friend has been before and we went there primarily so that I could try frog legs. I’ve never tried them before that and they were surprisingly delicious. The food and ambiance at this restaurant were also great, so this place is warmly recommended.
After that we again took a bit of a stroll around Strasbourg city center and stopped for ice cream at a place called Amorino right next to the Strasbourg cathedral and it was really good, so I recommend that as well. 🙂
On the third day I worked from 8 a.m. until 9 p.m. and my friend did the same. She brought back some take out sushi and we ate at our Airbnb. On Thursday she needed to work as well in the morning, so I gave the keys back to our Airbnb hosts and headed out to just walk around Strasbourg a little bit in the daylight. Around two o’clock we met and started driving towards Germany, our next destination.