We are just back from Strasbourg and Europa Park amusement center. It’s been fantastic. I could not help it – life is actually a lot like Disneyland.
But first things first. Somehow I have never been to Strasbourg before. (If you do not count a medical emergency with my last pregnancy, when I had to go to Strasbourg O.B. research center for a medical examination and possibly a premature labor during the 30th week of pregnancy. This is what they told me back then – Strasbourg is the place to have a premature labor in the neighborhood. I did not need one at the end of the day. But I was impress how well organized this research center was.)
This time driving about 250 km was purely for pleasure. It was totally worth is – Strasbourg’s Christmas market is the best I have seen so far – and having lived in Germany for 3 years, believe me, I have seen a lot of really nice ones. Even though Strasbourg is considered a capital of the “pro-Germanic” Alsace region in France, and its architecture definitely resembles German, they do their Christmas market with unforgettable French charm. The ornaments, the food, the handcrafts, the music… all is a little bit more sophisticated. And, alas, no bratwurst to be found. We ended our visit in MAMCS, a museum of contemporary art, where we discussed with Anna, why people so desperately want to find a meaning in everything. At least that was her question “why do you need to search for any kind of meaning here, maybe the artist was just kidding?” Maybe he or she was. But somehow I like to challenge myself and try (sometimes really hard) to see, where this elusive meaning could be hidden. “If God didn’t exist, it would be necessary to invent him”.
It looked quite practical, when I booked the trip, to stay overnight in Rust, a little German village across the border, a home to Europa Park, the second largest amusement park in Europe (after the Disneyland in Paris). There was nothing wrong with our rental apartment, it was spacious, clean and 300 meters from the Park entrance. It was practical, cheap and wrong. We should have stayed in Strasbourg downtown hotel, we should have left the kids sleeping in their room and should have gone out exploring the night life. It would be a perfect symbolic ending to our visit, a tribute to this beautiful and elegant city. We saved ourselves probably 2 hours of sleep and maybe 200 euros, but esthetically we made a mistake. It would be better to end the day in Strasbourg and enjoy it to the fullest. Note to myself – “life is to short, you’ll sleep after retirement :-)”
Europa Park is perfect, a lot better than Disneyland, to my taste. There are several areas, decorated and sponsored by different European countries, with national souvenirs and specialties. Iceland was our favorite.
Now about how life and amusement parks are the same: you come in, you see a long line in front of the attraction you want to go. And you start second-guessing: “Oh, it’s 20 minutes of waiting for a 1 minute of the ride, maybe I shouldn’t? Maybe I try something else, where there is no line. Oh, all good attractions are like this – you wait and wait and wait… and in total it is 3 hours of waiting for 15 minutes of fun…” And you know what? Yes, you could turn around and walk away, but you would have no memories at the end, you would have missed the fun part alltogether. Life is the same. You study long nights and miss some parties or you work long evenings or weekends – and for what? For a 1 hour graduation ceremony or for 15 minutes of speech your boss gives you announcing your promotion? And then – after you have your 15 minutes of fame, you are usually back to hard work again, waiting in line for another 1 minute mind-blowing ride? Yes, this is what I have always knew and observed it again with the kids today. These moments of fun actually last, and they make all the difference in your life, because without them you could just stay on your couch and be bored.