Travel.P #54 – Strasbourg and the different rhine

“Crashing is part of cycling as crying is part of love.” 

Johan Museeuw, Belgian cyclist

Waking up with a few mosquito bites more in our face, we had a few stretches and hoped on our comfortable saddles to continue the adventure. Cycling past more beautiful parts of the Altrhein we came across a massive car manufacturing side and a Mercedes Benz test ground. A massive O-Shaped street to probably test cars on. The whole area was so big that it was covering more area than the towns next to it.

After that we went past a few Quarzmines where we tried to swim, but got eaten alive by the mosquitoes around us. I can’t really remember where we went to the fisher fest, but I can describe it anyway. We locked the bikes on this little party area in the woods. It was pretty much like Schuetzenfest, with sausage trailers, playing areas and loads of benches to sit at with loads of people drinking beer and havin food. I think we had each two Bratwurste, with mustard and ketchup and a beer. We really enjoyed the party, it was so lovely to sit in a little forest, everyone having fun and talking and chatting around. So much better than in a massive Partytent. Our luggage was still there when we came back to the bikes, and we left the lovely area to find a great sleeping spot just next to the Rhine. We had a lazy day and made around 40 to 60 km. Our must do was 40 per day and 80 would be a great achievement. Once the tarp was set up, we found shelter of the cold wind, watching ships on the Rhine passing us.

The next morning we climbed our metal-donkeys and left towards France. Such an exiting feeling. Our first time crossing a border on our bikes. Cycling all the way from home, without a proper plan on those old two vintage roadbikes, with a homemeade welded trailer that was pulling on you like an elephant and Max riding on his Tank that I was not able to ride for more than half an our.

We didn’t really realize that we made it into France already but once we realized we were so happy about it. Until we realized that the cycling routes in France are like their street layout. Wild and in bad condition, ahaha. At least the bakeries were great and so we cycled the whole day on french territory.

It is weird cycling through towns, that carry German names but everyone speaks french. Once we asked in a pub for some water and didn’t feel welcome at all. The bar woman asked us if we also want to buy something or only want to have water, in a way as you guys are so mean to ask for free water but don’t even buy anything, haha. We just said thanks a lot and left back onto the road. The Rhine Route was leading us far from the Rhine, so we didn’t really saw a lot of it.

After a lovely lunch break under a tree at a small tarn, we cycled all the way into Strasbourg. Oh how I love cycling into big cities. It is so easy and quick for you to reach the center, where we parked the bikes and strolled around for a while. Strasbourg, one of the four main capitals of the EU. Strasbourg’s historic city centre, the Grande Ile (Grand Island), was classified a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1988, the first time such an honour was placed on an entire city centre. Strasbourg is immersed in Franco-German culture and although violently disputed throughout history, has been a cultural bridge between France and Germany for centuries, especially through the University of Strasbourg, currently the second-largest in France. It is also home to the largest Islamic place of worship in France, the Strasbourg Grand Mosque. Economically, Strasbourg is an important centre of manufacturing and engineering, as well as a hub of road, rail, and river transportation. The port of Strasbourg is the second-largest on the Rhine after Duisburg in Germany, and the second-largest river port in France after Paris We really liked the vibes of Strasbourg, many young people and very charismatic.

Cycling out of the city was nearly as easy as cycling into it. Just when we were about to cycle over the bridge back to Germany though, my tire blow. To be fair, they were overdue. We cycled very slow across the bridge into Kehl, were we searched online for bike shops. A day before my birthday. So lucky that we have been in a town like that, and we were literally a few 100 meters away from bike shops. Our camp was in the Jardin des Deux Rivers, on the German side of the Rhine. On the top of our flow of life, through our journey, I went to a party fancy looking party area, that was packing down, and asked if there was any leftover when they told me to wait for a minute and gave me a whole little oven aluminum tray full of chicken, potatoes and other great buffet stuff. Ohh, what a great meal just before my birthday. The night was calm, without any troubles. People really tolerate you sleeping pretty much everywhere. It is great. We never left any traces and took all out litter with us. Watching the sun set over Strasbourg and the ships lighting their warm yellow cruiser lights, Max and me were looking over the Rhine, sheltered by our tarp and covered in our sleeping bags.

After a long good night of sleep, we had a little wash and pushed our bike through Kehl, the gateway to Strasbourg over the Rhine river. Kehl Station is located near the Europabrücke (Europe Bridge), which can be crossed on foot to enter Strasbourg. Bus line 21 used to connect Kehl with the nearest tram stations in Strasbourg. A tram link to Strasbourg has since been completed, as part of the extension of Strasbourg’s tram line D. It opened on April 28, 2017, to Kehl station and was extended to Kehl city center in November 2018. After talking to locals we found out that since then, the city is flourishing and full of people. Shops had people talking in perfect French and German. It was amazing. people living in France were working in shops in Kehl. A really open and great atmospheric liltte town. The first time I really experienced a result with that impact on another city, such a strong bound. Anyway the second bike shop had tires available for 20 Euros total!! What a bargain. We were maintaining our bikes and equipped the road train with brand new touring tires! No more trek tires, wow what a difference! So much faster, it is incredible what tires can make as a difference for your cycling style. Since it was my birthday we treated us with meat to make a BBQ and hit the road again until we reached Kultuwehr Kehl, where we had our lunch. Until there we expereinced the rhine as fast and strong flowing and wild as we knew it from our region, but from there on the rhine was damned every few kilometers and very calm flowing. Actually possible to go and swim in it. We also stopped seeing long Barges and cruisers. The area from there was covered in trees and small streams flowing on the side of the road. On one of them we went for a little swim and had my birthday duebel. We got so stoned and watched a swallow hunting on her hunting ground. Wow, these bird are absolutely amazing. Flying so close to the water, in every time the same pattern, under the bridge, out of the bridge, over the water, into the air, into the forest dissapearing and then coming back on still high speed, so quick, so agile, really incredible to watch.

From there we continued, and having a really funny moment after passing such a straight family on bikes and reflecting on our appearance and condition. The Rhine was now everything but what we knew it and it was very interesting to see how it started to change more and more. After grabbing an Ice for a Euro each, we made it to a nice river bit of parallel to the Rhine, where we installed our BBQ and had a great sausages from the Shorizo Master Max and some eat and bread. After tying to cover us as good as possible, to secure our faces against mosquito attacks, which failed competently judging our demolished faces the next day we fell asleep covered in our patched up tarp, next to the sound of the river and rain falling on the tarp. A great day for a birthday!

The next time I will tell you about our random finding out about the Europa-park location literally a few km next to our camping spot and our day on roller coasters and wild water attractions. We absolutely loved it. Especially because it was for free.

When you wake up, tell yourself this day is gonna be so lit. It’s gonna be great, I am gonna rock it!

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