Mittersheim, France to Basel, Switzerland

Day 8 –  Wednesday 08/06
Mittersheim, France to Saverne, France – 60kms Total 483kms

We were very happy the tent stood up to that heavy thunderstorm last night. At one point we even woke up from all the thunder. It continued to rain through the night and was still drizzling when we were packing up to leave. By the time we said our goodbyes with Aafke and got on the road it was just before 10:00.
We got on the Canal des Houllares de la Sarre for a bit before getting off on the D93 and followed it to Sarrebourg. The ride today was very good, even with the weather being overcast. And the town of Lutzelbourg was very beautiful with the canal cutting through.
At Saverne we looked for the tourist office and got directions to the nearest camping but also noticed that the canal we’ve been following goes all the way to Strasbourg. That gave us food for thought. There’s also a good climb to get to the camping.
Once there we noticed the tent of Annie and Jan. They had taken a rest day here yesterday and being on top of this hill had taken the full brunt of the storm last night. It was nice to see them again and they brought over a bottle of wine and we had a nice chat.
Camping here is good, but a difficult climb to get to.

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Canal des Houllares de la Sarre.

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Monique overlooking Sarregourg from the hill above.

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Canal de Marne au Rhine goes through the hills under the town of Arzviller.

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The cycling path goes through the old disused section of the Canal de Marne au Rhine. There’s a new section but restricted to only cars.

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Another nicely renovated house along the canal.

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The village of Lutzelbourg. Click to view larger.

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Seven kilometers before Saverne.

Day 9 – Thursday 09/06
Saverne, France to Kehl, Germany – 61kms Total 544kms

Last night we decided to change our plans of following the Eurocycling route to Basel, we will now take the canal to Strasbourg than follow the Rhine to Basel. We just didn’t want to do any more hills for a couple of days. So after packing up and saying our goodbye to Annie and Jan we made our way into Saverne at around 09:00 for some supplies and got on the Canal de Marne au Rhine heading to Strasbourg.
The ride was great, flat and the weather perfect for most of the day. Who needs rest days when riding along a beautiful canal in warm sunny weather with a tailwind and listening to Buddha Bar on the mp3 🙂
Strasbourg was very busy and it took a while to find our way out of the place and across the river to Kehl. Camping here is still the same as we remembered and after setting up we rode into town for a Doner kabob and beers.

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Saverne.

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Saverne.

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Saverne.

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Saverne harbor with all the canal boat rentals lined up.

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The threatening clouds kept away and we only had sunshine and tailwinds 🙂

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The Euro parliament or something in Strasbourg.

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And the other side.

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Crossing the pedestrian bridge at the Deux-Rives garden between Strasbourg and Kehl.

Day 10 – Friday 10/06
Kehl, Germany to Breisach am Rhein, Germany – 85kms Total 629kms

We got up early after a good nights sleep and were on the road by 08:00. The whole day we rode along the beautiful and quiet cycling paths next to and atop of the dikes along the river Rhine. About 95% of the cycling paths are hard packed dirt, easy enough on 35c tires, and thinner tires, fully loaded it might be rough.
At first the weather was clear and warm but later on it began to get cloudy and it cooled down a bit.
The camping is situated a couple kilometers our of town behind this nice hotel. It’s best to get some information at the tourist office in the center of Breisach first. I’ve stayed here in 2005 on my way to Greece. Now though it has upgraded facilities with everything (except the shower taps) hands free.
As soon as we set up it began to rain and again we weren’t in the mood to cook so off to the hotel restaurant for a couple of steaks and beer.
Needless to say camping here is highly recommended.

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Flying saucer park, South of Kehl. Just had to do it 🙂

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Cycling along the Rhine.

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George of the jungle after the free cherries on the trees that line the roads around here.

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We even found a yellow cherry tree. Before today we had never seen one.

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This canal goes from the Rhine to Freiburg. We had followed it in 2006.

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Part of the old entrance to Breisech am Rhine.

Day 11 – Saturday 11/06
Breisack am Rhein, Germany to Reinach, Switzerland – 83kms Total 712kms

After another good-nights sleep we got our stuff together and were on the road by 09:00. The route along the Rhine was great. We rode through wooded areas along the river, the whole area seems to be one big nature reserve. We stopped for lunch next to these rapids and we had a chat about the future of this tour. It had been on our minds for several days now. Monique said her heart wasn’t in it anymore and I had to admit that mine wasn’t either. Neither one of us wanted to continue.
The decision to stop and turn back home was made. After talking about it at length it was clear that we were carrying too much emotional baggage, with what was happening back home and in our lives at the moment. There had been a series of signs that we had missed for one reason or another. But it all came clear when we just stopped and had a heart to heart. We just need some time off our bikes, to just sit back and take stock, but time isn’t on our side. If this had happened last year we would of just took several days off our bikes but this time around we had a plane to catch in Nice and a set date to keep.
So the new plan is to continue cycling today to Reinach, Switzerland and tomorrow head back North along the Rhine until we get bored than take the train to Aachen, Germany before cycling the last 30kms or so back to Maastricht. Shame that we loose the money from the plane tickets.
There was supposed to be a camping near Basel, Switzerland but we failed to find it, so we ended up cycling a few kilometers further to Reinach, Switzerland. The camping here is good but extremely expensive. Avoid this place at all costs.

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The rapids on the Rhine were we decided it was time to stop and turn back.

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Great riding along the Rhine.

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Cathedral in Basel.

Day 12 – Sunday 12/06
Reinach, Switzerland to Neaunburg, Germany – 61kms Total 773kms

We got on the road just before 09:00 and headed to Basel via a well signposted cycling route. We tried to go into the cathedral in Basel ( along a couple tourist bus loads) but it was closed, on a Sunday non the less. Maybe next time we’re in town.
We rode our of Basel and headed towards the French border because yesterday there were road works at the border crossing into Germany and the traffic was bad. We followed the Rhine  on the French side for several kilometers till the first bridge were we crossed back into Germany. We followed the same track North to Neaunburg. Camping here is ok for a night.

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The cathedral of Basel again, shame it was closed.

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Basel taken from the cathedral. Click to view larger.

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Looking west towards France. Click to view larger.

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Riding through the woods before Neaunburg.

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Peaceful riding among the trees.

Day 13 – Monday 13/06
Neaunburg, Germany to Ettenheim, Germany – 76kms Total 849kms

We got on the road just before 09:00. It had rained last night and it was still drizzling when we broke camp. We found the Rhine easy enough and continued downriver. The whole ride today was quiet, we had seen everything just a couple of days ago so we just put on our head phones and rode along.
Ettenheim is a very neat and pretty village and has a great camping. We wouldn’t have minded to stay a few days, but in our minds we just wanted to get back home.
If we’re ever in the area we would love to visit again.

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Enjoying some great cycling.

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A perfect route to put on your headphones and just ride.

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Love the way the villagers provide nesting places for the storks.

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And this one had a youngster in it.

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Enjoying a beer at the lovely camping in Ettenheim.

Day 14 – Tuesday 14/06
Ettenheim, Germany to Stollhofen, Germany – 98kms Total 947kms

Again on the road by 09:00. We rode into town for some supplies and headed for the Rhine.
The ride was good but we’ve seen it all till Kehl a few days before. Right after Kehl it started to rain and it was the first real rain we had to ride through on this tour. Somewhere along this route and in the rain we decided that tomorrow we’ll look for the nearest train station and just go home, we’ve had enough.
Later on at the camping we found out that there is a train station at Baden-Baden, about 20kms. We also found out that the weather was changing for the worst and it was rain showers in this area for the next several days, so the decision was easier to make.
Later on while we were enjoying a beer we saw this guy touring with three small children aged 9, 11 and 13. They all had their little bikes with rear bags and they even managed up to 50kms each day. They were headed to lake Constance. What a lovely way to travel with kids along the beautiful cycling paths along the Rhine.
The camping here is family oriented and really huge, with many permanent trailers. It’s clean and they have good food and even better beer.

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These two guys were vying for the attention of the lady on shore by swimming in circles and one trying to look prettier that the other. How cute is that 🙂

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The pedestrian bridge linking Strasbourg, France on the left and Kehl, Germany on the right.

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Cycling path after Kehl.

Day 15 – Wednesday 05/06
Stollhofen, Germany, back to Maastricht – 50kms Total 997kms

After saying our goodbyes to the man and his three kids we got on the road heading towards the train station at Baden-Baden. Later we found out that the planed route was not possible, no bicycles allowed so we had to ride past Baden-Baden and double back several kilometers on a very busy national road.
Thanks to Monique’s German language skills she found a couple tickets to Maastricht (nearly 400kms) for only €60 for the two of us and the bikes.
The train ride was as expected from German efficiency, even with four changes, and we made it into Aachen at around 17:00. We made it into Maastricht just before it got dark.

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Great cycling with a lovely sunset, just before Maastricht.

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As always our daughter was there to welcome us home with good food and cold beer 😉

It had been a good ride of nearly 1000 kilometers with great weather, beautiful countryside and meeting many like minded people along the way.