One of the major reasons that we decided on the number 5 Euro velo route (although we think the bloke from Reading made it up as we have yet to see a sign) was because it went through Colmar. We last came on an overnight stop to skiing as it was a convenient place just off the motorway. It was just after Christmas and we thought we had arrived at the home town of Hansel and Gretal it was so pretty and we said that we must return, so we have and it is just as quaint as we remembered.
Summer is back, at least in the short term so it was a relief to be back in the tent and guess what? We cooked lamb chops for dinner – fantastic, the first since Poland and the French do a very good lamb chop.
Our route yesterday took us along the Rhine valley and it felt very comfortable and familiar with a definite feeling of heading home. We have done lots of cycling here and there is a fantastic network of quiet roads- it feels a world away from busy Italy.
We saw a very nice tourist info lady this morning who kindly gave a cycling route through the Alsace wine region and so this morning we headed out of Colmar into the hills and have been through some stunning autumn scenery dotted with incredibly pretty wine villages and castles. We’re camping again in what feels like someone’s back garden with a pig for company!! Feels more like a Hungarian camp site.
The last 3 days have been really good cycling, amazing isn’t it after all these miles and quite frankly France takes a lot of beating (apart from Slovenia of course oh and Hungary, Switzerland was good too etc etc). The scenery through the Alsace is wonderful and we went past lots of charming small hotels and Chambre de’hote on our way so we thought we would stay in one. Sods law though isn’t it that by the time we wanted to stop there wasn’t one in sight apart from a very ordinary looking hotel.
As I say we have been loosely following the chap from Reading’s route no 5 and we had great excitement when we got a map from a tourist office that actually featured it.
‘Oh’ I said ‘we could go and meet it’.’ Look Caroline there’s no point going all that way, we can cut the corner off’. ‘Yes but doesn’t lots of squiggels in the road and dark grey on the map indicate a big hill?’ We set off anyway and cycled over the Col de Vallsberg which would have been fantastic but the clouds came down and spoilt the view. We dried out and had lunch at the Rocher de Dabo which looked great on the postcards in the café and then it was down and into the Mosell region of France.
Still pretty but back to normal France now with it’s numerous quiet (dead) little villages. Where have all the French bars gone? At one time every village had one complete with table football, old guys at the bar drinking Pernod and smell of Gitanes on the air. Now we’ve noticed that where they are there they double up as the betting shop – dangerous eh? There aren’t as many boulangeries either. I suppose it’s like our own pubs and village shops.
Today we have been cycling towards Metz on a fabulous route (our own, not the number 5) through rolling countryside. The wind has changed to an Easterly so we have enjoyed cold but bright and as we are heading west it’s been behind us which is fantastic. Staying in the Grand Hotel Metz tonight so it will make a nice change from camping.