We had a nice rest day in Colmar yesterday. We did laundry (of course), refueled, investigated and adapted our plans, and really did rest some. Colmar is quite charming. The intersection of French and German traditions in Alsace seems perhaps like the best of both worlds. I’m also happy to report that the Ibis Budget Colmar hotel is just fine. Rooms are small and come in only one configuration (double bed with a perpendicular bunk overhead), but provide all the necessities, except perhaps shampoo. But these budget travelers have come to expect neither shampoo nor washcloths and find that we’re fine with buying these items so long as we have the free wifi that budget chains generally provide.
Colmar’s lovely covered market
We did choose to eat our breakfasts at a brasserie instead of at the hotel. Since breakfast was not included, it was an easy decision to pay 75 euro cents more per person (compared to the Ibis price) for really good coffee and croissants. We ate at the same place both mornings.
Today we started with leg warmers (a first on this trip for me) and overshirts. The leaves, apples, and horse chestnuts covering the ground also give ample evidence that autumn is here. As someone who has been a student or teacher nearly my entire life, it is a rare privilege to travel in autumn. The days are still long, and afternoons quite warm, with added bonuses of fall colors and lighter crowds. What a treat!
Today we rode from Colmar to Basel. We knew it would be another long day, but given accommodation constraints, and our goal of getting to Zurich (there will be a train segment involved) by tomorrow, it was somewhat unavoidable. The first part of the ride was mostly on roads and not as pleasant as the canal path ride on Tuesday. We eventually got back to the Eurovelo 6/15 route, but got a little off-course a couple times due to confusing local signage. Fortunately, the GPS served us well again, showing the bike routes clearly, even if it doesn’t usually provide routes names/numbers. On the plus side, the scenery on our slight diversions was beautiful–we could look across to hillsides in Germany from our path in France. And, there were two instances of free bathrooms along the route!
Beautiful roundabout at Dessenheim
ROUS in France (Apparently they are called coypu or ragondin here–you may know them as nutria)
Our goal for the day was the HI youth hostel in Basel. Even in the context of Europe in general, Switzerland is super-expensive, so we opted for the hostel instead of a hotel. The hostel is actually quite nice. It’s housed in an old (huge) family home next to a canal, but redone in a very modern and eco-friendly fashion. We knew that they had a dinner option and had decided while riding that we would opt in if it was acceptable for both of us. Happily it was. So we showered and just had to walk down one flight of stairs to get our dinner. Fortunately, they were willing to take a credit card for our glasses of wine, as none of the three types of currency I have on me will work here in Switzerland. (Note to self: find Swiss ATM soon.) We enjoyed soup, salad, creamy vegetables and pastry, and dessert. The wifi works only in the lobby, but they have provided ample seating and nice ambiance, so it’s not a bad place to blog.
Tomorrow we’re planning a very short jaunt along the Rhine and a train ride into Zurich to spend the weekend with friends. No more 80k riding days–at least this week!