A few kilometres from the new digs is the Kaiserstühl, a small range of volcanic hills in the middle of the wide plain of the Rhine valley. I’d worked out that if I cycle west, across the bottom of the hills to a town called Breisach am Rhein.

The border is currently closed, so I planned to follow the river north, past the lumpy bits, and back across open fields to the new base of operations, without climbing more than a few metres. This appealed for obvious reasons.

(map from Bikemap.net with additional labelling using Gimp; both are free.)

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The region is known as the “German Tuscany”: it is famous for having a Mediterranean climate and as a result most of the southern slopes are covered in vineyards. It also has a lot of things like this (Pic 1 on the map above):

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Apparently it’s a wine press. I’ve no idea how they work but it apparently required a donkey. This one is restored as a sort of village monument and would make an excellent cooking/eating point for long distance touring. Hopefully some other villages will have one.

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(Pic 2) There are villages every few kilometres, all of which are stunningly beautiful and beyond my skill with a camera, but I won’t stop trying. They often seem to have a river running down the high street, as seen here, a couple of churches and a cooperative dedicated to the sale of grape-based liquids of all kinds, the one in this village being the large glass fronted building on the left.

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(Pic 3). In contrast to the region around Stuttgart the older churches tend to be Catholic. This is the church at Wasenweiler. Notice as usual that your correspondent is not riding on the hill in the distance but the nice flat land in front.

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Finally after several detours because I’m easily distracted I reached Breisach (Pic 4). This is smack on the French border, and is built on a plug of rock surrounded by flat lowland, as a result it has changed ownership more times than a poker chip on a Saturday night. The railway used to cross the river which is why it has such a massive station building to accommodate the customs officers that they needed when this was a major stopping point between Paris and Vienna.

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After a brief detour around the harbour, the Rhine cycleway manages to follow the river for some distance (Pic 5).I know you’ve seen this one before but I still can’t get over the proximity of different countries in Europe.

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Apparently this is European Cycleway #15 riunning from lake Constance to Rotterdam (pic 6). There are information boards like this every few kilometres with local information in several languages, including of course places to eat, sleep and otherwise spend money.

After leaving the river I could cross back to where I live. This took me through Endingen which I visited a couple of days ago so I knew the way back from here. That’s forward planning, that is.

It turns out they have a rather nice city gate (pic 7):

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And a pretty town centre (Pic 8):

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Now I knew where i was going I was able to speed up and follow the cycleway back along the river to my new home town. I was feeling pretty tired but also rather pleased with myself, which all went to pot when I realised I was definitely no more than 500m from my apartment but I didn’t have a clue how to get there:

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(Pic 9) Bike waiting patiently while twit owner works out where the heck he is…

Now I’ve got my cycling legs back, it’s time to investigate the other direction, and get a bit further into the Black Forest…