Thursday, May 24, 2007

My first encounter with French language

Recently we decided to visit a French city near German border. It is called Strasbourg and is located at a three hours train ride from my city. We traveled on the "Happy Weekend train ticket" (a ticket that allows you to travel anywhere in Germany within one day) to a German city (Kehl) on the border of France. Where here, Strasbourg was lying over the river. We thought we should cross the bridge into France and then purchase a "full day ticket" in Strasbourg to make use of local transport. But the ticket office near the border was closed. The bus stops had no ticket machine and the bus drivers didn't sell "full day tickets". Worse, the drivers didn't speak either English or German. People at the border also didn't speak anything but French. So we used our natural instincts to ask for directions. We took the bus to the center of the city and climbed the highest cathedral in France there. It had more than 300 steps and induced hunger when we climbed down. We asked for a Turkish restaurant and ate a Halal Döner (shawarma) from there.

Then we set out to see the chocolate museum boasting to show chocolate manufacturing process and offering free chocolate. We took the tram to outskirts of the city till a bus station and asked a waiting passenger for further directions. He told us in broken English to take bus nr 50 after half an hour. The sun by this time was starting to burn. When the bus came, we showed the map and location of museum at which the driver asked us to take bus nr 2 with hand signals. We again waited and then got to the driver of bus nr 2. After showing him 3 maps of the region, he pondered for about 10 min and identified the place where we were standing on the map. Exhausted, we asked him about the museum and he began again searching the map and his brain. After about 10 more minutes he explained the directions in French to which he also didn't seem confident about. So we decided to head back to the city and took a boat tour around the city. The one hour tour showed us the European Parliament there. Then we took our dinner from a Bengali restaurant and headed back to Kehl with bus. The bus stopped in the middle for tne minutes to make us miss our train and wait for an hour for the next train. Once in Kehl we had to wait another hour for the next train. So we went inside the city coincidentally finding a loud festival there. We reached back at 2:30 am instead of 12:30 am. Pictures of the trip can be seen at Picasa.


Anonymous said...

could you tell me where is the Turk restaurant is? I am going to strasbourg and want to know whether there is any halal restaurant.

Yasir Niaz said...

It is difficult to remember. I remember that we walked from the central church with the highest tower to the nearest tram line. Then we turned left along the tram line and maybe again turned left after walking on the tram line. The restaurant was on the corner and they had placed tables outside as well. Actually we asked a normal food stall owner about any Turkish restaurants nearby and he told us the address. I guess this is the best way for you too. May be you can contact these mosques to find out more.

Yasir Niaz said...

You could also eat at the Bengali restaurant located next to one of these mosques (i think the second mosque).