Day 30 Monday – Kaiser Karl V and Others…

Today we cycled 105 km to Deggendorf. We made a mess of directions at one point this morning which added kilometres to our journey without progress! We are nearing the Austrian border.

The cycling was very flat. Given I moan about the elevation gain on the bad days, I thought that I should include the graphic for a good day.

It’s clear that we’re following the river downwards from source to sea!

Our lovely hotel last night in Regensburg was right in the centre of the Altstadt (old town) and was really quaint and interesting. For instance, each room entrance had the name of a famous “Regensburger” from the corresponding century in the doorway carpet. We had Room 16 which was Kaiser Karl V (1500-1558), a member of the Habsburgs. Next door was Albrecht Altdorfer (1480-1538), a German painter, engraver and architect of the Renaissance working in Regensburg. Room 14 was Friedrich Auer v. Greenberg whose history I didn’t go into.

Here’s the photo of Kaiser Karl V looking down on us from the wall of our bedroom!

At reception there was a full list of the people after whom the twenty rooms were named. 

Later, having left the hotel, the feminist came out in me and I tried to check this photograph to see if there were any women included but even enlarging the photo, I couldn’t tell. At this stage, still being curious I rang Beata, at reception who had been really helpful the previous evening. I asked her if there were any women on the list and she said yes there was at least one, she’d check to see if there were more. I was happy to hear that at least one woman had made it to the list.

Maybe the recent article in the New York Times on Women in Tech Speak Frankly on Culture of Harassment was too fresh in my mind! (The photograph at the top of this NYT article baffles me though – I digress!)

Anyway back out on our bikes on an overcast morning. We passed this crop wearing what almost looked like raincoats. I’ve no idea what crop it was.

What a sky but not a drop of rain fell on us all day.

Having spent a lot of time over the years in France I’m very familiar with war memorials in villages and towns for their boys and men lost in various wars. Here’s a German war memorial at Gosling for those lost in the first world war.

We passed this flock of sheep and the muzzled sheep dog.

The shepherd then appeared. He asked me if we were English, obviously having heard Denis and I speak. I explained we were Irish. He was happy to have his photograph taken. 

Denis talks about picking hazelnuts as a child in Moneygall. I’m not familiar with hazelnuts growing wild so was happy to see some.

A long river boat – some of these river boats travel quite fast.

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We had lunch in Straubing, again another beautiful town, (population 47,000). As we approached the town I could count seven spires in the distance.IMG_4422

We had a lovely lunch in the town centre. I watched a group of elderly people having lunch together nearby and thought of that awful bus crash this morning in Northern Bavaria where eighteen elderly people were killed. Those people on that bus, out on an excursion, were probably thinking mundane things like where they would have lunch and then it’s all over!

I’ve included some pictures of more beautiful buildings in Straubing.IMG_4437IMG_4438IMG_4439IMG_4440IMG_4447IMG_4448

Then it was back on the road. I love the way there are no ditches/hedgerows that would obstruct our view of what’s growing in the fields. Visitors to Ireland don’t have this advantage!IMG_5462

Our first sighting of the cobs developing in the corn (maize) crop.IMG_4454

Just a picture showing the Véloroute on the levee beside the roadway. Denis is the red dot on the levee.IMG_4463

We don’t meet many people walking the route, but this was one.IMG_5466

Rush hour in duckland!IMG_5468

We arrived at our stop for the night in Deggendorf. Having left the Véloroutee, we followed Google maps cycle route to our hotel, except there was the small problem of a railway to cross.IMG_4468

Not a problem they provide a lift that takes bikes to cross under the railway.IMG_4464

We stayed in a nice hotel in Deggendorf and had a lovely dinner. In general I’m not a fan of German food – we’ve come across a lot of sausage, noodles, dumplings… However I do like their Sauerkraut, particularly when it includes caraway seeds. Last night’s dinner however was good, I should have photographed more. The tomato sauce with the steak was a lovely homemade spicy sauce. I loved their generous use of herbs.IMG_4514

Someone later pointed me to a tweet he had seen referring to German food –

Was thinking Germany has beautiful scenery & as many medieval villages & towns as Italy. Should be on tourist lists. Then I looked at the menu. 

I would tend to agree – the scenery, the medieval villages and towns are amazing, the food less so.

 

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Day 29 Sunday – Overwhelmed by beautiful buildings

We set off early and our plan for the day was to cycle to Regensburg, to see some of the city in the evening before continuing on towards Passau tomorrow, Monday. 

We set off a little later than planned owing to early morning rain. It cleared and we were underway by 8.30am. We cycled 88km, most of it was flat with the exception of a serious climb through a forest in the middle of the day. 

In the early part of our cycle we passed the Roman remains at Neustadt an der Donau. The narrative at the site told us

The German Limes [frontier fortifications]  formed the Roman Empire’s frontier from AD 100 – 260. It was part of more than 5,000 km of Roman frontier that stretched from Britain acrioss Europe, cutting through the Middle East and back to the Atlantic Ocean via North Africa. (These remains are now part of a UNESCO ‘Frontiers of the Roman Empire’ World Heritage site.)

Cycling on from there – this was the forest on that hill in the elevation graphic above. The forest is innocent enough looking in this photograph but that innocence didn’t last!

We passed a classic car rally in progress.

At one point we made a mistake and had to get the bikes up over a pedestrian bridge

Afternoon ice cream against a very threatening skyIMG_4283

An interesting tepee, note the sky again – we were lucky it didn’t rain

We had booked a hotel right in the middle of Regensburg old town and arrived at 4ish leaving plenty of time to sight see. Regensburg is a beautiful city, it felt more like a small town. According to Wikipedia it has a population of 145,000 and includes the largest medieval old town north of the Alps with nearly 1,500 listed buildings.

1,500 listed buildings – that’s a listed building for every 100 inhabitants!

First up was the Stone bridge – I found it hard to get a decent picture.  IMG_4296

The stone bridge built 1135–1146, is a highlight of medieval bridge building. The knights of the 2nd and 3rd crusade used it to cross the Danube on their way to the Holy Land. The bridge was originally built with 16 supporting arches giving it a total length of 330 metres.

The yellow building to the left of the bridge was called the Salzstadel. Regensburg was an important town in the salt trading. (Salt was often so valuable that many soldiers had their wages paid out in salt rather than money.)IMG_4299

Then it was straight to the Cathedral. Quoting my guide book Regensburg’s St Peter’s Cathedral is a unique example of French Gothic in Southern Germany. Its construction began in around 1274 and is one of the most significant churches both in Bavaria and beyond.

I’ve restrained myself including photographs here! How these buildings were so beautifully constructed, such elegant proportions, built almost 1,000 years ago with none of the modern building design tools. One can’t but be overwhelmed sitting there taking in their beauty.

There was an awful band singing just outside the Cathedral, their playing almost spoiled the ambience of the whole place. They were actually playing Country Roads, take me home … How I wished they actually would!

More of the German Limes, (remains of Roman frontier fortifications) preserved in Regensburg.

Some random beautiful buildings in the town

Bismarckplatz with its beautiful fountains

I walked over to the former abbey and Benedictine monastery at St Emmeram which has been owned by the Thurn and Taxis royal family since 1812. Unfortunately I was running out of time. This is some of what I quickly saw in the area accessible to the public – again such magnificence!

I was so sorry not to have more time to spend here in Regensburg (and in other places we have visited). Six weeks on the bike is not long enough!

And no one told me that Bavaria was so beautiful.

 

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Day 28 Saturday – Reflecting

Our rest day arrived and boy did we enjoy it, basically doing … very little! We slept late and after almost nine hours, we felt good. The day was spent doing maintenance on the bikes, on the blog, on ourselves.

I like to write a blog of the trip for several reasons and not in order of importance:

  • It keeps a record for us. Otherwise the memories and places would all jumble together into one big mess. It’s nice for us to refer to afterwards. (We kept a blog of our cycle trip five years ago and still refer back to it ourselves.)
  • I’ve been interested in the work of Ian Robertson, Professor of Psychology at TCD. He wrote: Novelty is very nourishing to the brain because it stimulates a neurotransmitter called norepinephrine which, in moderate doses, acts like a sort of ‘brain fertilizer’. Curiosity exposes you to novelty, and curious people live longer and healthier lives, research shows. I find that writing a blog encourages me to be curious, to seek out interesting things, it keeps my attention sharp (and aids my memory afterwards.) Having to explain means I first have to understand myself.
  • The blog allows us to share the journey with family and friends. The messages back both on the blog and by email and text have added to the fun. It gives a sense of company along the journey and we enjoy your company!
  • Many people fear that one loses privacy in blogging, I find that there’s nothing particularly private here that I’m not happy to share. We get as much back through sharing.

When we get to base in the evening, it’s shower, wash out clothes and then stretch out on the bed, rest and write up the day (for me) while not resting and out running (for Denis). The only frustrating part is as I’ve mentioned before when wifi is slow as photographs are hard to upload and they are so much part of the day. Denis generally reads the day’s account before I put it up and adds or subtracts, mostly adds. I love to get the day posted before we leave the following morning, I don’t like when it gets backed up as sometimes happens.

Our days are taken up with cycling, eating lots, drinking lots of water, sight seeing, sleeping, running, writing a blog. We keep up with email though probably badly.

There’s a meditative quality to our cycling. We can be on the bike for around seven hours in a day, (it feels like our day job). Other than talking to each other, we are in and of the countryside. It’s like we’re embracing the landscape with our two open arms. The countryside is providing the entertainment. It’s like having a constantly changing picture in front of you. (Though if the hills are steep, I hardly even see the beautiful, changing picture, I’m concentrating on changing down gears and getting up that hill. Sometimes I count up a hill, I find counting useful to distract myself.)

Denis related from Flann O’Brien’s The Third Policeman, that after years of close contact, Some of the atoms of bike mixed with the atoms of postman such that the postman become part bike and the bike part postman!

We are beginning to feel a bit like that.

I find that hills are like metaphors for life, they look worse in the distance but if you’ve enough momentum built up, you can be up and over before you know it. In life, we may have enough momentum built up within ourselves to handle whatever is thrown at us …

Cycling along I can hear the silence. Over the distances we cover the only sounds that really break it are bees buzzing, other insects making their insecty noises, birds singing, the cuckoo, doves cooing, church bells ringing, the wind in the trees, a cock crowing, a tractor … After all, the Véloroute is designed to be in very quiet, peaceful, rural places.

I’m a great radio person and lately I’ve become hooked on the Audible App, (listening to up to three books per week as I walk). Audible is now very worried about my welfare as I have fallen off the Audible earth – I haven’t listened to a single book since we started this journey. I see (and ignore) lots of emails from them coming into my Inbox. I doubt they have included the sound of silence as one of the tick boxes as to why customers stop buying books.

You can smell the landscape, the smell of the earth, honeysuckle, the smell of fertiliser being spread, wild roses …

I can’t but notice how many different colour butterflies fluttering about singly or in groups.

On hot days you can feel the difference in air temperature, cycling through warm air followed by cooler air, followed by warmer air. Like the thermals they talk about in flying.

If you ask me what I do for seven hours on the bike, I haven’t a clue but in my mind it never feels like that. In my legs, well that’s a different matter.

The Véloroute is like a giant treasure hunt – we’re following signs all day and the treasure at the end of the day is a shower/bath and a clean bed. You come in all sweaty and hot and get into a hot shower – bliss. The simple things in life become real pleasures. Each evening I feel a lovely, physical tiredness. It peels back life to a more simple form.

Today we have 2,063 kilometres done over 23 cycle days (an average of 90 km per day). We reckon we will be in Budapest within two weeks. I asked Denis today would he like to be finished and he said not at all. Nor would I. We are loving this cycle bubble. I feel we are blessed to have the time to do it, the health and fitness to do it, and that we can afford it, (though it’s not an overly expensive holiday – accommodation mostly in rural areas and food – the travel and entertainment are free). I feel we are blessed to have the interest to do it – I love the fact we are both on the same page when it comes to challenges like this.

Last year I attended the funeral of a farming friend of my now deceased father along with my sister ad brother. My brother recounted to us a story from when he was a very young boy. One hot sunny summer’s evening he was walking along behind this man and my father chatting. They were passing a big field of ripened wheat, The man stopped walking, stood and said to my father – You know Brock, if heaven is half as good as this, it won’t be half bad!

Though not religious, I feel something similar about this cycling holiday.

Enough reflecting – back to the day job!

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Day 27 Friday – Our cycling record to date

Today we cycled 129 km from Günzburg to Ingolstadt – a new daily distance record for us. 

Unfortunately Strava was acting up and didn’t record the stats properly (including elevation gain). The cycling route was perfect in the morning. At lunch in Donauworth, Denis suggested that we go as far as Ingolstadt which would make it a longer day – we were both fine with that. (We usually book our night’s accommodation at lunchtime when we can see how we are doing. Touch wood this strategy has worked well for us as there seems to be plenty of availability.) However having planned to push the distance boat out, we got a shock when we encountered serious hills immediately after lunch. We soldiered on. We had planned an afternoon break at Neuburg and boy did the prospect of ice-cream and a cold drink keep me going!

Denis is able to take photographs while cycling, I’m not and have to stop to take them. We’re both just using the camera on our phones – at the end of the day Denis share’s his photographs through AirDrop. It’s also very handy since the phone records time and place for each photograph. It’s amazing how good the cameras on phones have become.

We are now crossing Bavaria.

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Some photos as we cycled along today …IMG_4191IMG_4192IMG_4195IMG_4193

The signs give an idea of how extensive the cycle networks in Europe areIMG_4196

And this one, showing again how plain and simple the official “trans-Europe” Véloroute 6 can be at times!IMG_4200

This is Donauworth where we stopped for lunchIMG_4201IMG_4202

Today was a day of cycling across beautiful Bavarian countyside, neat farmland with villages and towns dotted in the distance. The red tiled roofs made the buildings stand out.IMG_4205

I’m not sure what this crop isIMG_4207IMG_4211

Lots of solar panels on roofsIMG_4213IMG_4216IMG_4215

Cycling across the countryside both here and in France, we noticed a lot of religious statues/crosses on the edges of fields along our route. IMG_4219

The farmer who owns the field below won’t be happy to see so much of his crop lying down, (called lodging). I decided to look up the cause – I had felt it was due to wind.

The Alberta Agriculture and Forestry website states: Lodging in cereals is often a result of the combined effects of inadequate standing power of the crop and adverse weather conditions, such as rain, wind, and/or hail. Lodging is also variety (cultivar) dependent. For example, a tall, weak-stemmed wheat cultivar has a greater tendency to lodge than a semi- dwarf cultivar with stiffer straw.

I’m sure Canada knows a thing or two about growing cereals!IMG_4223

At our long-awaited afternoon stop in Neuburg, we noticed a lot of people in traditional Bavarian dress – there was a festival on in town this weekend.IMG_4224IMG_4225

We deviated from the marked Véloroute for the 20 odd kilometres from Neuburg to Ingolstadt, our end-point. It was perfect in that it still followed the river and was flat, but it was a very undeveloped path, (two paths for some of the distance, though not inferior to the sometimes very simple Véloroute.) Note the levee – the right hand path is higher than the left.)IMG_4227

Just some brief facts about the Danube –

It flows through ten countries, more than any other river in the world. Originating in Germany, it flows southeast for 2,860 km passing through or touching the border of Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, [our end point], Croatia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova and Ukraine before before emptying into the Black Sea.

We joined the Danube in Tuttlingen on Tuesday but the Danube actually rises about 30 km further west in Donaueschingen in the Black Forest. Screen Shot 2017-07-01 at 16.26.44

There were markers along the way – metre markers to the Black Sea. IMG_4229

The Danube as we approached IngolstadtIMG_4230

When we reached Ingolstadt, we checked with our hotel to see if we could stay an extra night and yippee they had availability for Saturday night. We felt we needed a rest day after cycling 525 km in five days.

Our Sligo friends have arrived in Passau and will cycle to Vienna. We will catch up with them between the two, next week.

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Day 26 Ulm Cathedral and avoiding rain…

Today we cycled 115 km from Herbertingen to Günzburg.

After a lovely stay in our nice guesthouse in Herbertingen, we set off on our way.

But only after a big, healthy, breakfast – more of the lovely bircher muesli

Over the last few days we have started seeing storks. From holidays before in France, we knew of their liking to nest in church steeples. The church steeple here in Herbertingen had its nest.

When I looked on Wikipedia about storks’ nests: Their nests are often very large and may be used for many years. Some nests have been known to grow to over two metres (six feet) in diameter and about three metres (ten feet) in depth. IMG_5145

The weather forecast for today predicted some rain 😦

Because it had rained overnight, we noticed that the snails and worms were out in full force, note them on the base of this monument.

I found that I had a new obstacle on my path as I couldn’t in all conscience cycle over the worms/snails.

I even befriended some snails. I feel that we and they have a lot in common, we both carry our own packs!

This could be Denis cycling and me following!

One doesn’t often see hay saved like this nowadays.IMG_5243

An interesting sculpture

One of our many crossing back and forth over the DanubeIMG_4056

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Taking a short cut 🙂IMG_4059

More storks

Just to give you an idea of the gradient sometimesIMG_4080

Here there was a sign saying the gradient was 20%! Denis made it up this one, I didn’t

I asked him after was he tempted to get down, he said his feet were clipped in so he had no choice but to stay going. Denis almost never walks up a hill even if it’s very steep. I tend to walk up the steeper ones particularly if I’m tired in the late afternoon.

Look who we found at the top of this particular hill!IMG_4102

We stopped for lunch in ErbachIMG_4126

Back on the road after lunch we passed these unusual looking sheepIMG_5300

We visited Ulm, this was our first glimpse from the bikes. Note the lovely old wall with pyramid and cathedral behind.IMG_4128

Ulm is known for having the church with the tallest steeple in the world at 161.53 metres, and as the birthplace of Albert Einstein.IMG_5306

Below the Rathaus. Quoting wikipedia The Rathaus (Town Hall), built in 1370, featuring some brilliantly coloured murals dating from the mid-16th century. On the gable is an astronomical clock dating from 1520. [Can’t see in my photograph] Restored after serious damage in 1944.IMG_4148

The pyramid is Ulm’s public libraryIMG_4147

We had our afternoon break sitting in the square admiring the cathedral

Back on our bikesIMG_5309

We later came across a new cycling challenge – where the Véloroute is seriously gravelled in that the gravel is so deep that one has to cycle very slowly so as not to skid. This was the case for a few kilometres on our way into Günzburg, our stop for the night.

Despite the weather forecast, we only had to shelter from two showers in the day and neither were particularly bad – we were lucky!

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Day 25 Wednesday – Walzing up and down near the Danube

Today we cycled 77 km from Tuttlingen to Herbertingen.

But it wasn’t the cycle we expected!

We met the Danube yesterday, Tuesday evening, in Tuttlingen and will now be following it to Budapest.

As you’d expect, following the course of a river from source, one would be travelling in an overall downhill direction and yes we were but look at the amount of up and down from today’s cycle! We were not expecting that, given that the Veloroute is close to the Danube. However since the river passes through deep gorges, sometimes there is no room for the cycle path other than to go over the hill. The fact that you then go down the hill a little more than up, is little compensation.

Carrauntoohil is 1,038 metres high, today our elevation gain was 1,039 – dare I say another …

Because rain was forecast, we hadn’t set an alarm. As it happened whilst it rained during the night, it had largely cleared by morning. Between our late start and the hills we only managed 77km.

We stayed and had dinner at a lovely, small hotel in Herbertingen, managed by a girl who had visited Sligo twice for horse riding at Grange. It’s such a small world!

Unfortunately I’m finishing this post a day late and have only freezing cold wifi so will have to go without pictures. Will catch up tomorrow hopefully!

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Day 24 Tuesday – Another Carrauntoohil day!

Today we cycled 102 km from Rafz in Switzerland to Tuttlingen in Germany. After more meandering between Switzerland and Germany, we are now finished with Switzerland and will be in Germany for the next few days. (It just struck me afterwards – because Switzerland as well as France and Germany, are part of Schengen, there is no passport check.)

 Whatever about the distance we cycled today, it was the elevation gain – 1,453 metres that made it stand out!

Thus it was another day of Carrrauntoohil and some more – it was even more hilly than yesterday. We expected it so we were prepared. The hill at the end was severe but overall I found it easier than yesterday. (Denis never complains – he takes it all in his stride!)

The top of the hill even had a marking for its 862 metres and had a mast! Not only that, but a sign for a ski lift!

We were delighted to reach Tuttlingen and felt a sense of accomplishment after the day. The forecast wasn’t good for the evening – this was the sky that greeted us as we arrived, in fact the rain was just starting. Though it looked very forboding, it soon cleared. There was rain during the night and more forecast for tomorrow morning!

Anyway more about the day!

Our first stop was to see Rhein Falls – supposedly the biggest waterfall in Europe, located beside Schaffhausen in Switzerland. 

They really were spectacular and well worth a small detour. The flow rate yesterday was 405 cubic metres/sec compared with the summer average of 600.

It was then back to our bikes.

In the morning we passed the pretty town of Gailingen am Hochrhein in Germany. I looked up this town in wikipedia afterwards as it had a very interesting bridge, (sorry the photo is quite dark).

However when I looked up about it, I learned Beginning in the mid-17th century, Gailingen became the home of several Jewish families and gradually became one of the largest Jewish communities in the south of Germany. They built a synagogue, school, hospital and old people’s home, and their population reached a number almost as high as that of the non-Jewish population. In 1870, the town elected its first Jewish mayor. Seven years later, both Jewish and non-Jewish children were attending the same school. Members of both faiths were living together peacefully until Hitler’s rise to power. In October 1940, over 200 Jews from Gailingen were rounded up from their homes to be deported to France.

I had been thinking as we have passed railways over the past few days, if those railways could talk …

We stumbled upon Stein am Rhein a small town in Switzerland known for its preserved, half-timbered medieval houses with painted facades, clustered around Rathausplatz in the old town.
We had lunch looking out on Lake Constance

There wasn’t much photographing in the afternoon as there was too much serious hill climbing to be done!

Tuttingen was where we met the blue Danube and yes it was blue last night!

Denis records each day’s cycle on Strava. I have only started tuning into the daily Strava record to check our elevation gain. I noticed that Strava recorded 2,300 calories worth of cycling yesterday.

Like every night, we ate and slept well in Tuttlingen last night!

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Day 23 Monday – Up Carrauntoohil and some more …

Today was a tough one – 102 km from Basel to Rafz in Switzerland with a total climb of 4,308 feet. (Carrauntoohil, the highest mountain in Ireland is 3,406 feet). We were fine until lunchtime but the afternoon was a real slog (for me anyway).

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Today was our biggest elevation gain to date.

The day was spent in Switzerland with incursions in and out of Germany – there was no passport checking at any stage. Vodafone though reminded us that we were crossing borders with: “Vodafone Roaming is free in Germany”, quickly followed by “Vodafone Roaming is free in Switzerland”, followed by… you get the message.

The map below shows Budapest, our destination, on the right edge!

 

Screen Shot 2017-06-26 at 18.42.18

Regardless of Google Maps – there are other ways that we know that we are heading the right direction:

1) If we are following a river, well the direction of flow, following the Loire, we were always going opposite to the flow.

2) The sun – Eastwards is our main direction, follow the sun e.g. in the morning we should be heading into it.

3) This last one is of little use for navigation 🙂 Because we are mostly heading east, despite lashings of suncream, we are getting more colour on our right sides than left, (e.g. right arm, right leg).

We were on the road early, 7.30 am this morning as we knew we had a long day cycling. We were blessed with another beautiful day, not too hot. IMG_3765

One thing that I’d love to be able to do is magic a coffee stop just when we’re ready for morning coffee break and a nice lunch stop just when we’re ready for lunch. There are lots of lovely places but not always when/where we need them. This morning was a case in point. We were ready for coffee, stopped at one village and no joy, no coffee available. We kept going until Stein, 35 km after we had set out. It was looking much the same and lo and behold look what we found, what a surprise. This was more than we needed for a morning coffee stop but we were so happy to find it. Stein is a small place with a population of just 3,343. IMG_3771

Now that we are in Switzerland, I’m enjoying bircher muesli and had another bowl of it with coffee. As it says in the article I’ve linked to … It [bircher muesli] is also a sound choice for anyone, yomper or not, hoping to see off the mid-morning munchies.

I couldn’t find a definition for yomper! 🙂

What was most noticeable today, our first day cycling outside rural France, was though we are still travelling through rural areas, we passed plenty of evidence of heavy industry.

IMG_5018IMG_3785IMG_5042 (1)IMG_3793Farming is still mixed, not a huge change since we left France.

At one point during the day, we saw four modes of transport alongside each other – water, road, rail and bike path

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There will be absolutely no problem sleeping tonight after our Carrauntoohil day!

 

 

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Day 22 Sunday – A Day of Rest in Basel

Today after a lovely, non-alarmed wake up, we went walkabout in Basel.

First up Rathaus, Basel’s Town Hall, located in Marktplatz, a 500 year old, beautiful building

Its beautiful tower in some more detail

The following are just some photographs I took of buildings and streetscapes as we walked

The windows of a very interesting book shop. It being Sunday, almost everything was closed. Note the quills in the centre window.

The fountains, (and there were many), contained potable water

Quoting Basel’s own website Together with the Mittlere Brücke, the Cathedral is the most famous landmark of Basel. With its red sandstone walls, colourful roof tiles and twin towers, no other building adorns the cityscape of Basel like the Cathedral.

I loved its sundials on the two faces

The sundial and clock and Apple were all in agreement – allowing for the hour change

Walking around inside the cathedral

Apparently the cathedral was originally Catholic but is now Reformed Protestant. There was a service taking place as we visited and we could hear some beautiful choral singing.

New exhibits inside the old

Another modern exhibit outside

Münsterplatz where the cathedral is located

Wettsteinbrücke (bridge) with the Roche Tower, headquarters of the pharmaceutical company, Hoffmann-La Roche, behind it. At 178 metres, it’s the highest building in Switzerland.

This is another shot of it to give a better idea of its shape.

The view down river to Mittlere Brücke (bridge) where construction is going on. The white is a cover over the construction site on the bridge. There is a walkway still open to the side to allow pedestrians cross the bridge. 
 An unusual ferry crossing the river via a ziplineFun fountains… unusual machines, one was a sieve picking up coins 

What a cool place for kids to paddle in the playground

Finally, St Alban Tor (Gate)

Basel seems like a lovely city, hilly which I think adds a lot of charm to any city. It has many old, very interesting buildings. Last night the city centre was humming with many busy restaurants and bars.

A second, good night Basel!

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Day 21 Saturday – Three countries meet!

Today we did a shorter cycle – 67 km from Carspach to Basel.

I’m now including Budapest in the map. The distance on the google map is not accurate as I just put in -Roscoff, Saint Nazaire and our start and end point for today, on the map. The Strava app records how many kilometres we cover each day – to date we’ve covered 1,538 km. We’re over half way!

I mentioned before but Veloroute 6 is known as the rivers route. We first followed the Loire from St Nazaire as far as Digoin and then through a series of canals and rivers we have arrived at the Rhine today. Specifically:

1) Canal du Centre got us from the Loire at Digoin last Sunday to Chalon-sur-Saône last Tuesday.

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2) We then travelled along the River Saône from Chalon-sur-Saône to St-Jean-de-Losne on Wednesday

3) Near St-Jean-de-Losne on Wednesday we picked up Canal du Rhone au Rhin. This canal incorporates sections of the river Doubs. This canal brought us to the Rhine today, Saturday, just before Basel.

That’s the waterways lecture over!

Bags packed and ready to go from our lovely, (but cold wifi) hotel in Carspach. 

We had just set off on the road when this trailer ahead of us with its heavy load had a blow out on its left rear tyre, it gave us quite a fright with its loud noise!

Up close and personal with a heron

And then it few away

Thanks to Sandie for recognising these birds, quoting her reply to my enquiry: They are called Egyptian Goose and are an African species, but found in France and the Netherlands. Also introduced to S. England and have become feral. Found in parkland, rivers, lakes or marshes. They have a dark eye surround, hence the name.

We passed this second world war monument at Rixheim to the Combats de la Hardt from 28th November to 4th December 1944. Using google translate, there’s an account of it here on the Society of the history of Rixheim’s webpage.

There was a tank one side of the canal and a gun, (no photo) on the other
A family followed by its very elegant mother

More sheer elegance

We have met many roller skaters on the Veloroute – now there’s an idea!IMG_4950

The temperature has dropped and it makes the cycling so much easier. The forecast over the next few days is interesting – I’m hoping that we will out-cycle the bad weather 🙂

We had many straight stretches like this towards the end of today’s cycle, it meant that we could cover the distance quite easily. 

Cool temperatures AND flat, straight cycling – what more could we ask for!

We stopped for lunch in Huningue, first on our way in we saw this graffiti 🙂IMG_4927

Huningue plaza where we lunchedIMG_3633

 

Arriving into Basel. We took this photo from France side. To the left is Germany and to the right is Switzerland.IMG_4951

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Coming from France we first crossed into GermanyIMG_3636

And then into Switzerland. We were surprised there was no passport check.IMG_3637

Our stop for the night was Basel and we will take a rest day here tomorrow. We had dinner and then a walk around the city centre. There are plenty of young people and bikes! Basel is Switzerland’s third city after Zurich and Geneva with a population of 175,000.IMG_3662

Mittlere Brücke (undergoing works)IMG_3663

At 10pm last night, people were floating down the river on some flotation device, though we couldn’t see exactly what 🙂IMG_3667

Good night Basel!

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