We decided to sleep in this morning. Mom was tired from yesterday's grueling run so we opted out of the walking tour to Strasbourg and slept in. Waking up at 9:30am, we just missed the breakfast deadline so we had coffee and muffins and waited until 11:30 lunch. I took advantage of the time to catch up on the blog. After lunch we signed up for the shuttle bus to Strasbourg, no touring, just a ride to and from the Christmas Market.
That works out well. We have only about 2 hours of time in Strasbourg including the time to walk to and from the bus drop point since it can't drive into the pedestrian zone of the old city. There's a lot to see. Strasbourg holds one of the oldest and largest Christmas markets in France, with a wonderful setting in front of Strasbourg Cathedral. Strasbourg Christmas Market has over 300 chalets, and attracts over 2 million visitors during the Christmas season. It's a good half mile walk each way. Mom's starting on me already.
"We don't have enough time in these Christmas Markets!", she complains. "Al's Tours always allowed plenty of time at each market". Well, I have to say, I am a pretty good planner. We do notice that the Viking Rhine River cruise follows the same itinerary whether it be summer or winter. On the Christmas Market version, they consider the free time to go to the towns not for exploring the town but to see the local Christmas Market. Seeing the town in an hour and a half is feasible but walking 30 minutes to and from the market location allows only 30 minutes to see maybe 50-100 huts which isn't happening. One fellow passenger complained to us that she had to leave her purchase because it was taking too long to pay. Others left also to avoid missing the last bus back to the ship. For serious shoppers, she's right. Karen's also complaining about the cobblestone streets. "They're too hard to walk on. I hate these things." Isn't that why we came here? That I can't help her with. Contact Al's Tours for your next European train excursion. It's good that she completed her serious shopping before the river cruise.
I finally bought a hat that I've been talking about buying at each stop and finally made the purchase. Mom bought some ear muffs and two table linens. We added another mug to our Gluhwein mug collection. Back at the boat we cleaned up and headed upstairs to hear the plans for tomorrow. Then it's dinner time. Dinner's fine and we retreat to our room, preparing for tomorrow, another long one I hear.