On our next stop we docked in Germany just across the river from Strasbourg, France. This is where the Ill river meets the Rhine and France Borders Germany. Strasbourg lies at the crosswords of major waterways and land routes. It was founded in 12 B.C. for it’s strategic location and quickly became a center for trade.

Strasbourg was originally German, and changed from German to French many times. It was really cool seeing the city has live Storks and stork trees. The stork is said to be good luck.

France as a country is smaller than the state of Texas, yet it’s the 3rd largest European nation with a population of approximately 65 million. The terrain varies from mountains to forests and to farmland.

The government is run by a president who serves as both head of state and executive head for a 7 year term. The president appoints a prime minister from the majority party in the National Assembly a group of 577 members elected for 5 year terms. The Senates 321 members serve 9 year terms and are elected every 3 years.

France has one of the worlds most highly developed economies. Their major industry includes agriculture, steel, motor vehicles, aircraft, textiles, chemicals and food processing. More than half of France’s power is generated by nuclear power plants.

The religion is about 80% Roman Catholic, 2% Protestant and 5% Muslim.

Education is free and mandatory for ages 6-16. Secondary education, lasting 7 years (11-18) gives students the equivalent of a USA junior college education. Then students take an exam to determine if they may go on to higher education, which is practically free at France’s 60 universities.

Strasbourg had one of the larger Cathedrals and also one of the biggest Christmas Markets. In both Germany and France they serve a hot wine called Gluewine. My husband fell in love with this Gluewine and wished it would migrate to the states. He did bring home several bottles. France also had a lot of chocolates which we brought back as well.

The interesting thing is you can travel from country to country in Europe without showing your passport. You only need a passport to leave the country but not to go between European countries.


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