Travel Journal: France
Today's trip to Kehl, Germany actually started last night with a tweet: “Never thought I'd casually say things like, “Going over to Germany...see you this afternoon...” Thanks @CentreC.” That tweet was a) an acknowledgment of the opportunity that Centre College has given me, and b) an appreciation for the Schengen Agreement which, among other things, eliminated border patrol within the European Union, allowing the free movement of people. Furthermore, my actual purpose for traveling to Kehl was to prepare to further exercise the rights given by the Schengan Agreement.
While participating in the Centre-in-Strasbourg program, most students spend their weekends traveling to other European cities. This is made easy through Europe's intricate railway system. For most trains, it's beneficial to reserve a seat before other buyers take all of the seats. To reserve a ticket, one can go to the Strasbourg railway “boutique” or visit the larger DB Bahn Bus and Train station in Kehl, Germany. While the Strasbourg boutique is convenient (a two-minute walk from the classroom), securing reservations in Kehl is less-expensive and hassle-free.
Kehl is an easy 20-minute trip from Strasbourg via tram and bus. The highlight of the journey is riding by bus over the Rhine River, by way of the Pont de l'Europe bridge, a piece of land shared by the two cities.
A group of friends and I decided to journey to Prague, Nice, Salzburg, and Interlaken over the next few weeks. We wanted to secure seats on trains to each of those places. I volunteered to go to Kehl to make reservations for the group for three reasons. First, I didn't have class today until 1:30 p.m. The Kehl Station opened at 8 a.m., and I was more than happy to make the journey. Second, I find comfort in taking charge and knowing exactly what's going on—my mind is at ease if I'm allowed to be in control of a situation. Third, going to Kehl is fun. I'm used to navigating public transportation thanks to my formative years spent dealing with the Memphis public transportation system MATA. Thus, traveling through Alsace by bus and tram made me feel at home.
The journey to Kehl was a simple one. I awoke at 7:30 a.m., got dressed, put my headphones on, and asked Siri to play Ben Sollee's latest offering “Half-Made Man.” I caught Tram D from Place Broglie to Aristide Briand, where it seemed necessary that, while I waited to board Bus 21 towards Kehl Banhoff, I inhale second-hand smoke from a middle-aged German man wearing a purple windbreaker, sporting Adidas, and carrying an Aldi grocery bag.
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