Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Sunday, June 24, 2007: daytrip to Stasbourg, France

There is so much from Europe that I need to catch up on. I wish I had kept a detailed, entertaining, witty blog from the whole trip. Unfortunately, I did not. I did, however, take flobbity jillion photos (literally), which makes documenting my travels much easier.

The following video is from a daytrip to Strasbourg. This was my very first visit to France! I was so excited to cross the Germany/France border. Don't worry, I caught the whole thing on video tape. An unlucky few of you may someday have the opportunity to watch my 6+ hours of home video from the Europe trip. But for now, please enjoy an 8-minute video of highlights. (The resolution is pretty low because I had to compress it quite a bit... but you get the idea.)

Thanks to wikipedia, I discovered some interesting facts about this beautiful French city on the German border:
1) During Christmas celebrations in 1999, there as an al-Qaeda plot to blow up the Christmas market near the beautiful Strasbourg Cathedral. Thankfully, German authorities foiled this plot.
2) In 2001, during an open air concert, a single tree falling killed thirteen people and injured nearly a hundred. That must have been one HUGE tree, not like the puny ones growing in Las Vegas.
3) Strasbourg is home to "Arte," a French/German television network dedicated to the arts and to cultural programming.

This city is beautiful. I enjoyed a relaxing walk along the banks of the Ill River, which flows through the city. I also enjoyed a gorgeous view of the entire city from the top of the Strasbourg Cathedral via a plethora of stairs on a narrow circular staircase enclosed alternately by dark enclosures and cage-like metal bars. We were nearly 470 feet from the ground! It was the world's tallest building from 1625 until 1847. Even today, it is still the fourth tallest church in the world (or the seventh tallest, depending on the source). In any case, for a claustrophobe with a fear of heights, I felt a certain sense of accomplishment by facing not one but TWO fears.

This was my first visit to a European cathedral. In 1999, I visited the Cathedral of the Madelaine in SLC with the BYU Honors program; this visit was unfortunately colored by pious BYU students rudely commenting (inside the cathedral) on how they couldn't feel the spirit inside this building. How embarrassing. Visiting the intricately adorned Strasbourg Cathedral inspired within me a certain kinship with the architects and craftsmen who worked so hard to build this building of worship. LDS people often pay tribute to the pioneers who sacrificed to build temples. Is this not the same thing? Throughout time and across cultures, people have been inspired to create beautiful works of art/ music /literature /architecture to worship diety.

The view from the top of the Strasbourg Cathedral was breathtaking. As I continue to write about my travels in Europe, I will probably use the word "breathtaking" over and over again, enough to annoy the general readership of this blog. But it's the truth! I have seen so many sights that have literally taken my breath away. At the risk of sounding like a cheeseball, this has truly been a once-in-a-lifetime summer. Stay tuned for further updates.

Love, Heather


Wendy said...

I didn't watch the video this time, but rest assured that when I do, I will comment again! I have to comment on the BYU students and their self-righteousness. I love, and by love I mean detest, how some members of the Church seem to think that the Spirit cannot dwell anywhere that is not directly linked to the Church. As if people sincerely worshipping God in the way that is most truthful to them is somehow distasteful to Him and therefore unworthy of His spirit abiding there. How arrogant. If they didn't feel the Spirit, perhaps the cause is in the mirror, not the cathedral.

DrummerGirl said...

Amen, Wendy, amen.

You articulated my point in a much more elegant and less rambly way than I did. If I ever write a book of short stories (which probably won't happen bc no one wants to read short stories from an author they've never heard of), I'm gonna have to insist on hiring you as editor.

You go girl.