We passed the Vosges mountains on our left as we sped along to Strasbourg, another city that surprised us. Europe has certainly made its mark on the station building there, but we hadn't thought there would be so much else to see between trains. Leaving our backpacks, it was an easy walk to the old centre - the Grande Île.
This turns out to be a city crammed full of fine buildings, but dominated by the pink Cathedral of Notre-Dame-de-Strasbourg with its vast spire. The carvings - inside and out - and the stained glass are sensational; but then I seem to have felt that about very many of the churches and cathedrals we have visited. What was different here was the throng of people, in spite of which the manner in which the authorities presented the church and its works of art to the public displayed a special reverence.