Hi everyone! My name is Pat Moran, and I’ll be talking about our visit to Strasbourg, France.
After spending a wonderful week in Switzerland, the Dins took a train from Zürich to Strasbourg, connecting through Basel. Upon arriving in Basel, we learned that we had only two minutes to make our train to Strasbourg. So, we took in the sights and sounds of the city, as we frantically sprinted through the station, suitcases and garment bags in hand. Luckily, we all made it onto the train without a second to spare!
We arrived in Strasbourg in the afternoon of June 13th and enjoyed a nice meal with our hosts at the home of Molly Tennis, our contact and biggest fan in Strasbourg. Afterwards, we accompanied our hosts back to our homestays. Sam and I had the pleasure of staying with Sarah and Michael O’Connor and their two daughters. Sarah worked at the Council of Europe and Michael headed European sales for a nanotechnology company. Sam decided to call it an early night, while I stayed up talking about European politics with Michael.
Seeing that we had a free day, Sam and I took the opportunity to sleep in before meeting up with the other Dins and exploring the city of Strasbourg. We saw the Strasbourg Cathedral—although we didn’t climb to the top—and enjoyed a wonderful lunch nearby. After spending the day in the city, Sam and I headed back to our homestay to freshen up and rest a bit. One of the best parts of Alsace-Lorraine is the food, and we made sure to enjoy this unique regional cuisine during our time in Strasbourg. That night, all of the Dins met up at a local restaurant to enjoy an Alsatian specialty, tarte flambée, which I can best describe as a flatbread pizza topped with cheese, sliced onions, and bacon cubes.
The next morning, Friday June 15th, we had a tour of the Council of Europe courtesy of Eli’s host, Isabella Pilavachi. In contrast to the European Parliament, the Council of Europe is not endowed with any powers, instead acting as a purely diplomatic organization. That afternoon, we met the US Consul General to Strasbourg, Kara McDonald, and toured the US Consulate General building. In the evening, we performed at the College International de l’Esplanade with the Sunday Afternoon A Cappella Choir, an extracurricular a cappella choir inspired by the Dins’ performance on our last world tour.
On the next day, Saturday June 16th, many of the Dins chose to go to Colmar, a picturesque example of Alsatian architecture. Sam and I, however, chose to stay in Strasbourg on Sarah and John’s recommendation. That night, we had our biggest concert in Strasbourg: a joint performance with the Strasbourg Philharmonic Choir. The concert venue was special, a former Cabaret and space not normally available to the public. Thanks to the work of the US Consulate General, the French military agreed to let us perform in the space.
After our big concert, many of the Dins were ready for some rest and relaxation. On our last day in Strasbourg, our prayers were answered, and we were generously hosted at a countryside manor for an unbelievably fun, all-day pool party featuring ample Aperol Spritzes and an inexhaustible supply of Crémant.