We awoke to really the first cool/cold morning that we had experienced on the trip so far, but as soon as the sun came over the trees, things began to warm up. For the first time we had a hot breakfast of eggs before hitting the road, or should I say canals.
We quickly joined the Canal de Neuf-Brisach and then back onto the Canal du Rhone au Rhin, which we had cycled on the previous day. The weather warmed quickly and the haulage pathway had mostly dried. We made quite good progress and the edge of the canal was dotted with pill boxes from the Maginot line fortifications. Parts of the canal seemed neglected and disused but the cycling path along the edge was mostly a very nice surface. Emilie tired of the recurring scenery: canal, pill box, lock…repeat…but for me riding this section was like riding through a piece of history. Like so many things on our tour, it would have been great to get off the bike and scout around some of the fortifications and down in to the embankments but I would have been the only one interested and we simply didn’t have the time.
Wild hop plants lined the embankments of the canal, for kilometer after kilometer. As a homebrewer I envied the locals!
We had hoped to find a boulangerie along the way, but as lunchtime approached we hadn’t seen any close to our route. We headed off the canal at the little town of Sunhhouse, hoping to find one but in little French towns everything closes for an hour or two in the middle of the day. We had missed the window so we stopped in a little park and had a single banana and a can of mackerel between us. With little to eat, we cut the break short and pushed onto Strasbourg. The canal path takes you right into the centre of the city and once there we were able to take advantage of the excellent cycling infrastructure, with dedicated bike paths almost all the way to our very central campsite (Indigo Camping). We arrived with time to set up our wet tent and even to take a quick swim in the pool.
Having had 8 days straight of riding (with little preparation), our legs and butts were both tired and sore. We decided to take a rest day and see Strasbourg. The following day we ventured into the city. Our children behaved poorly to begin with, but gradually things improved. Strasbourg is an Alsatian city, beautiful and full of history, a city apart from the rest of France it seemed to us. German was spoken by many waiting staff to the preponderance of German tourists and the local food seemed to us to have a distinctively German quality. I chowed down on sausage and potatoes.
To see the route, elevation profile, etc., click the link to Ride with GPS below (it should be able to be embedded but WordPress does not allow this).