Feb 12

Salon des Vins des Vignerons Indépendants, Strasbourg

We got invited to a wine tasting/exhibition event in Strasbourg by a friend of mine, who is a great wine enthusiast. As we don’t go to events like this very often (may be we will start now), it was more of a social visit for me to catch up with Martin, who I hadn’t seen in quite a while. But it turned out to be a good fun on its own as well, and we had a good time.

The Salon des Vins was organised by a body of independent winemakers from all over France, and it is an annual event similar as they have in other French cities. In the morning we had a bit of a problem with Henry, who decided he did not want to navigate in France, and quitted pretty much right on the bridge between Kehl and Strasbourg, but since we had a map too, and my great orientation and navigating skills came to help, we were there in no time nevertheless.

The place was quite big – apparently over 550 stalls of individual wineries, each with approx. 5-10 wines. Had we been on our own, we would have been quite lost, running around with our glasses as headless chickens, getting wasted on subpar stuff, not knowing good regions, good years or good names. Fortunately, we got to tag along with Martin, who did his research beforehand, went through the big fat catalogue, marking the stuff to be tasted selectively, building also on his experience from last year and on some impressive knowledge. So on top of tasting some exquisite wines, we also got the “wines for dummies” intro to wines from him, which was really interesting and fun. So all in all, everything worked out fine.


Gina enjoying the day

Of course there was the thing that one of us had to do the driving, and therefore not the drinking. Fortunately, Iestyn got completely wasted the night before, was massively hungover, and therefore did not mind taking up the role of the designated driver, as long as he could settle his stomach with a gargantuan French baguette stuffed with proper cheese and meat.


That’s the stuff!

The selection of wines was really big and some samples were just absolutely great. We also saw some more bizarre pieces on exhibition, such as these. But all in all it was a respectable wine event.

A bit overdressed perhaps?

Not drinking this without my lederhosen on

Of course, apart from the great wine, there were all the usual wine add-ons on sale in really tempting selections.




Of course at the end I selected the best samples to take with us home, so that Iestyn got something out of it as well. Can’t wait to break into them one of these nice evenings. And may be next year we go again.

Jun 11


We just got our Henry navigator last week, so we decided to try him out, and went for a day trip to Strasbourg, even though it looked like rain in the morning. Henry was not deterred though, and bravely got on with the route. He was really good at it too, knowing all kinds of detail and what’s going on in the world. Unfortunately, the cigarette lighter in the car did not work so he was not getting juice, and by the time we got to the parking, he was practically dying.

Anyway, he got us to an award-winning parking lot right in the centre (yes, the award was on display there! you could study it whilst listening to nice soothing sea-sound music that was playing in the corridors to repel homeless people and junkies from inhabiting the lot, thanks to which it did not smell of piss, and totally did deserve the award just for that. The disturbing imagery on the walls was probably there for the same reason.). From there dear Henry gave it a shot to get us to the nearest tourist information centre, but died on the way completely. Fortunately, it was very easy to find just by the cathedral.

The cathedral was just like any other, I wanted to buy a Jesus fridge magnet, but Iest did not let me. It had a nice big organ inside, and funky windows.

On the outside, the cathedral has elaborate decorations, for example this statue of Rudolph von Habsburg, which is weirdly and unsettlingly out of proportion with his legs looking quite midget-like; however, the schlong of the horse is proper.

The weather was nothing special but at least it was not raining, so we marched on. Strasbourg turned out to have many pretty houses, with cute rooftops and flowers and tiny stores, and was generally pretty nice for a walk. Unlike Freiburg, Strasbourg is also a town with a little bit of edge, hidden nastiness, immigration tensions, and Hotel Central. Good thing that they are selling Hattori Hanzo swords everywhere, the locals probably need them often.

This is me in front of what our little guide calls the prettiest house of Strasbourg, La Maison Kammerzell.

We had a lunch at a little creperie with yum crepes, but grossly incompetent service, which saved us money on tips.

Altogether, it was a fun day, and the weather was not nearly as bad as what it looked like in the morning. We had a little bit of a problem getting out of there, as Henry was dead and we did not really remember any rout names, but we managed quite well at the end.