The Rhine near Koblenz (Koblenz, Switzerland, not Koblenz, Germany, through which we will also pass – confused yet?)

Somebody turned the heat back up.  It’s hardly been cool these last few days, but this afternoon in Basel it has been well over 30 degrees once again and I am cooked. I am deeply grateful not to be on the bike today and just to be doing some gentle sight-seeing instead. 

Yesterday was a lovely ride through beautiful countryside and quaint towns once again. So much history in this part of the world and I am ashamed how little of it I understand. We were crossing borders yet again, and perhaps the most bizarre was a white painted line in the middle of what is apparently Europe’s longest covered bridge. Although the border crossing over a hydro power dam probably ran it close. At least I managed to keep track of which country I was in all day!

A lot of up and down as the countryside is gently rolling hills – no significant climbs, but really nothing flat either.    At one point lots of gravel paths of variable quality through some very picturesque woods. The shade of the trees was very welcome, but the relentless vibrations travelling through bike saddles rather less so. 

We had a serendipitous stop at a local outdoor swimming bath when we were hunting for a place for a drink and comfort stop. It turned out that the catering was being run by local volunteers for a community event. They made some mad foreign cycle tourists very welcome and we went on our way fed, watered and much cheered. A late lunch in Munsterplatz at Bad Säckingen was also very welcome. The last 30km or so to Basel were a bit of a struggle with weary legs but we found the energy for a detour to Augusta Raurica to see the very impressive Roman remains. The visitor centre had closed but there was still plenty to see. Another thing on our list to return to some day. 

We rolled (limped?) into Basel quite late but mercifully our hotel is close to the main station so food was still available. As with every other hotel so far, the staff were lovely and there was bike parking available. All good and extremely welcome. 

Today we have travelled around Basel by tram, trying to spare Bruce’s still-painful foot. We had a wonderful time at the Paper Mill Museum, learning lots about the history of printing and publishing in Basel and also getting the chance to make paper.  We tried to go to the Pharmacy Museum but it was unexpectedly closed, so instead we went to the Basel Jewish Museum nearby which was fascinating. It’s not possible to do justice to any city in one day but we saw enough to know that there is lots more to explore here if we get the chance to come back. That list is becoming rather long…

Back on the bikes and on our way tomorrow, into France this time – so I can add language confusion to my currency confusion.  

Lovely community event at the outdoor swimming pool
Border crossing by the hydro-dam
Munster, Bad Säckingen
Covered bridge, Bad Säckingen – the white line marking the German-Swiss border is alas not visible in the photo
Roman Theatre at Augusta Raurica
Rathaus Basel-Stadt
Lane near the Pharmacy Museum