Two blog entries in one as I couldn’t stay awake to write yesterday.
The run to Strasbourg should have been fine, but I was struggling once again with the cold-that-will-not-give-in and general tiredness. It’s a very flat route and we should have done almost all of it along the Canal du Rhône au Rhin. This is very straight and for the early part wooded on both sides making an attractive forest path with a reasonable gravel surface. After a few kilometres, though, it was starting to feel a bit monotonous, with nothing to see but trees as there were not even any boats on the canal. We ducked out and followed the nearby road instead, which at least meant we saw all the villages along the way. There was cycle path by the road for part of the way but where we ran out, the traffic was fine with one or two exceptions.
We made a slight detour to visit the Maginot Line Museum near Marckolsheim. The outdoor exhibits were impressive, especially the surviving bullet damage, but unfortunately we didn’t get to see the inside as the museum was closing for lunch. That was the start of getting the timing wrong, which then extended to missing lunch ourselves because all the cafes were closed for the afternoon. We found a supermarket, improvised a picnic of sorts and pressed on.
We got back onto the canal towpath – by this stage surfaced and with interesting water traffic – for the last stretch into Strasbourg and found the hotel easily. The internet had provided details of a vegan restaurant (in France!) on the other side of the city centre, so one cold-infested tourist and another walking painfully with a stick made their way by tram and shuffle. You will see us soon In the ads extolling the joys of a healthy cycling holiday. Regardless, delicious vegan food was eaten and we saw a little of Strasbourg on the way.
We saw a bit more this morning as we cycled out of the city, and then made our way north again to – finally – rejoin the Rhine. It was afternoon before we saw it again as when we reached the bank outside Strasbourg, our path ran along behind the flood dyke. We saw plenty of other waterways, though, one of the biggest being the River Ill (or the River Three, as I like to think of it).
We crossed the Rhine this afternoon by ferry at Neuburg, shortly after leaving France by what has to be the lowest key border crossing this trip. We then followed a confusing route (we did manage a complete loop by accident at one stage) into Karlsruhe. Very happy to reach tonight’s hotel as well, although we were both in much better form today. Delighted to find a good restaurant right across the road from the hotel.
I have been managing to keep track of which country I am in for the past couple of days, but the language confusion has been profound. This is not entirely my fault: people in Alsace greeted us in French or German seemingly at random, would switch between the two if we seemed at all unsure and were not above using both in the same sentence. My German is (slightly) better than my (dreadfully rusty) French so I kept lapsing into German. The next few days should be more linguistically straightforward.