Today has been a full day. Originally we didn't have anything planned, but we decided to join the other students in the chateau in a castle tour and a wine tasting. We learned all kinds of information on the bus ride up the mountain.
For instance, Geranium is planted for keeping mosquitoes away since people in Strasbourg live near a river. Roses are used to protect vineyards from disease. They detect it and are infected to save the grapes from disease. Also, back in the day, girls available for marriage would have a wooden heart on top of the roof of their houses to let others know while young men looking for marriage would indicate it by displaying an empty bottle of wine on the roof of his house.
We visited a castle in the French mountains that was mainly used for artillery and only 21 people lived in it at once. Since it is on the border of France and Germany, the castle has been occupied by both countries at different times in history and has the influence of both cultures. The oldest part is from the 12th century and parts were added and restored in the 19th century by King William. At the top of one of the towers is an eagle meant to symbolize Germany, but since it is currently French territory, the French put a flag pole next to it to fly the French flag above the German eagle.
After visiting the castle, we stopped for lunch in Little Venice for tartes, which are basically very thin pizzas with cheese, onions, and little bits of bacon. We had another hour before we needed to get back to the bus, so, we visited some of the sites. The most notable one for me was a house that Voltaire once lived in for a year. If you don't know, Voltaire is famous for writing Candide, a political satire that I had to read back when I was a senior in high school. There are some beautiful flowers here, and they seem to bloom more fully here than they do in the U.S.
After lunch we went for a tour and tasting at a winery. They had some interesting equipment including a piece of equipment for making schnapps that the guide said could make you drunk just from the smell. The wine tasting was nice, and we were given a card that told us what type of grapes were good with what types of food. Since I normally do not drink with food, I preferred the sweeter wine made from overly ripened grapes.
Since we've been on the go so much, some of us decided to just relax this evening. Tomorrow we visit the European Parliament in Strasbourg, and we have to be ready and done with breakfast by 8:00am.
So until tomorrow,