Today we rode 43.69 km from Kembs to Neuf Brisach.
We started the day with a delicious breakfast at the B&B. Bread, butter, museli, homemade marmalade, and egg. One of the marmalades was made from wild rose hips. Yum.
After breakfast we rode back to the canal trail and headed North. It wasn’t long before we got to the Le Corbusier Sluice Gates. As an architect, Mila had to stop and snap some photos.
Somewhere around there we missed a turn.
Oh yeah, there were more swamp rats, and bigger ones too!
It was some time before we realized that we were off our route. We’ve found the signage quite confusing at times as there are a number of routes which all intersect right in this area. Rather than go back to correct our mistake we simply shifted to another northbound route. With other routes to the East and West, we ended up heading North through more cornfields and small villages right in the middle.
The corn fields seemed endless. There were so many we started cracking cornfield jokes just to pass the time. They were corny, so I won’t repeat them.
We passed through a number of small villages, all of which were very quiet with few or no people visible. None of them had much in way of retail or services, at least not visible to us on the streets we used. One of the villages had a patisserie boulangerie but it was closed. A couple of them had a single restaurant, but they were closed, I suppose it’s because it was Saturday. We didn’t see any grocery stores or connivence stores. Although it had few shops and none were open, this village did feature this:
As we passed through one village, the clouds came in and the temperature dropped. Mila and Jette put their jackets on.
We finally found a village with a restaurant that was open. This little kebab/pizza joint. Jette had a salad with fries. Mila and I had chicken donner with salad and fries. I think we found the best items on the very limited menu.
Fueled up and back on the bikes, we rode though more fields.
And more villages.
Around here we went off planned route and switched to a more direct route to a campground on the outskirts of Neuf Brisach. On the way we finally saw a supermarket, a huge supermarket that was open, and made a stop for provisions. I waited outside with the bikes and it was almost 45 minutes before Mila and Jette made it out of the store. They said it was like a crazy cross between WalMart and Costco, but smaller and much more chaotic.
Another kilometer or so and we arrived at Camping Vauban. We found a very nice spot for the tent and got to work unpacking and setting up camp.
The campground is quite cute. They’ve built a variety of whimsical cabin and tent structures and there are beautiful flowers everywhere.
Jette found a pedal car for rent, and one Euro later, she was at the wheel…
Then it was time for some math workbooks. She’s studying metric measurements. What better place for that, right?!
Then it was dinner time.
Somehow a bread and butter fight broke out.
Thankfully no one was injured. We didn’t have napkins but we did have plenty of soft bread to wipe the butter from our faces.
Showers and laundry and it was off to bed just as the sun went down. I tried to complete this blog post, but the connection was so slow I could only upload the first few photos. It’s now morning and we’ve just had a breakfast of leftover fruit and bread and butter. The internet connection is faster now so I’m trying to get this posted before we hit the road again.
It rained off and on throughout the night but our tent stayed mostly dry. Jette’s sleeping bag was up against the seam on one of the tent walls and water wicked through. She woke up with one side of her sleeping bag pretty wet.
It was a weird night for me. I got really creeped out and didn’t sleep much. At 1:11 am I awoke to the sound of men chanting. I couldn’t make out what they were saying but it was not too far away. There was rushing water behind our tent, so the white noise drowned out the details, but they seemed to be chanting something and shouting a sort of a cheer. It almost sounded like a weird Maori Haka. There was an aggressiveness to it. Things would get quiet for a while and then I would hear them again. This went on for more than an hour. At some point I finally slept. Weird.
Oh I forgot to mention. After breakfast this morning, there was dancing.
The sun is out and the dark rain clouds are melting away. I we need to pack up and hit the road. The plan for today is to briefly explore Neuf Briasch and then get back on the road. It is a very interesting city. Take a look at this:
Work begun in 1698, to plans drawn by Vauban, a military engineer at the service of Louis XIV. Vauban died in 1707 and this, his last work, was completed by Louis de Cormontaigne. The city’s layout was that of an ‘ideal city’, as was popular at the time, with a regular square grid street pattern inside an octagonal fortification. Generous space was given to a central square across the four blocks at the middle, flanked by an impressive church. Individual blocks were offered for private development, either as affluent houses in private gardens, or as properties for commercial rent. Simpler housing was provided in long tenement blocks, built inside each curtain wall, which also had the effect of shielding the better houses from the risk of cannon fire…
That’s all for now. We’ve got to roll…