A most international Canada Day

This weekend we set out to spread our Canada Day cheer throughout Europe, bringing our Canadian charm to Switzerland, Germany and France. All in a simple 3 hour drive.

All ready to set out for our road trip.

Helena at our stop in the Black Forest in Germany. Standing with a giant Bollenhut, giant red pompoms worn as a hat by the single ladies as a traditional folk costume. Because why wouldn’t you want to look that snazzy?

An example of the Bollenhut. The hat bears 14 prominent, woollen pompoms arranged in the shape of a cross. Married ladies wear black pompoms.

Pretty French countryside enroute.
The reason for the road trip was to celebrate the wedding of good friends in the beautiful town of Strasbourg, France.  Strasbourg was not a town we were familiar with but learned that it is a very significant place. Strasbourg is the seat of over twenty international institutions, most famously of the Council of Europe and of the European Parliament of which it is the official seat. Strasbourg is considered the legislative and democratic capital of the European Union.

Whoa…our location for the weekend. Les Haras Hotel. This will do.

Kids were pretty delighted by the welcome in their room.
Strasbourg was a popular destination for the weekend which nearly disrupted the festivities. Happening on the very same day, in the same area was the first ever Eurpoean Act of State in honour of Helmut Kohl, former German Chancellor and Chairman of the CDU, who died this June.

Roads were closed as important heads of state were traveling in for the ceremony and our hotel had a secret service presence for an anonymous important guest. Even the rehearsal dinner got bumped from the terrace when Benjamin Netanyahu decided to dine there as well with his pal Bill Clinton. Rare air we find ourselves somehow mixed up in.

Despite the secret service presence and grey weather, the wedding was quite spectacular. But really, how can it not be spectacular when surrounded by European splendor.


It is so wonderful how French bakeries live up to their stereotype.

You can’t even imagine the amazing smell…

Scenes around every corner that look so, so French.

Pretty tree lined cobblestone streets along the river.

Pretty walk along the river.

Crossing the river headed into town.

Joanna, the blushing bride, ready for hair and make-up at the salon.
The stylist working on his masterpiece.

Came super close to getting the polished look of a French styled up-do myself but I know hair-stylist code and when they say “this will just take 25 minutes” they really mean the better part of an hour. We were running out of time so I pulled out of the wedding party salon trip and headed back to the hotel in hopes of finding a good YouTube DIY tutorial. After a couple failed attempts and the appearance of a new, intense version of Airport-Anna (named Rushed-DIY-Updo-Anna) we finally got out the door, all cleaned up and ready to go.

Thank goodness for weddings. The only occasion the Garcias ever really clean up for.

Not sure my DIY effort came out quite the same as the video but not bad for a rushed rookie attempt.

Helena and I even sported matching fancy shoes!

Joanna showing her bouquet to her daughter, Ester. Despite the serious faces both gals were very delighted.

Joanna along with her lovely kids Ari and Ester.

Gerald, the groom, with his very stylish French Mama. Darn it, why didn’t I go for a fascinator too! Such a missed opportunity.

My crew in their seats for the wedding. I got to sit up front with the other important people!
The wedding was gorgeous in an amazing, big cathedral, mixed French and English. But it wasn’t until the reception that we really learned just how well the French do weddings.

The setting of the reception.

Delicious-ness everywhere.

So petit it seemed appropriate to have 2…or 3.

Helena and Ester giving their approval of the pretzels.
It was the arrival of the pony club that really put it over the top for Helena. Of all the kids at the wedding, Helena was the most dedicated to the pony-ride experience. She made it her mission to ride every horse they brought, doing laps long after the other kids had all grown tired of the activity.

Happy as a clam riding on Kiwi.

Another pony and handler.

And another…

A true French cowgirl.

My handsome boy with his buddy Ari ready for the ambush.

An ambush-free photo.

Me and my sweet cow-girl.

The elusive golden horse, a rare sighting.

Morning, hotel-sleep-over fun.

A pretty morning view in Strasbourg.

The way into the town centre.

Took advantage of our close proximity to Basel to add another city to our list of Swiss places we’ve been.

Really fancy big building in Basel. Obviously important and significant. Must look that one up one day…

The entrance into the old town in Basel.

Sometimes we worry about D’s ability to make friends but he seems to be making out alright here.

Pretty streets and facades in Basel.

It is sunflower season here – such a pretty and simple way to decorate an alter in a huge cathedral.

D and H in Basel.

At the end of the day it feels good to be back in our style of footwear.

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