SATURDAY 16 JULY - BLACK FOREST AND COLMAR
Today was our final day of the tour. The week had gone so very quickly. We woke early to a beautiful morning with a lovely view out of our cabin window. Luckily I took a photo when I did, as shortly after another vessel double docked and we couldn’t see anything. We were now moored on the German side of the river again at Breisach, which is only about 70kms from Basel where we finish up tomorrow morning.
For something completely different, we had an early start and hopped onto a bus. This time we travelled for about an hour and a half up into the Black Forest.
Firstly, we drove through wine growing regions.
The terrain then changed and became more hilly. We stopped at a pretty lookout.
The style of buildings was also quite different. Sorry about the quality of the photos, but once again snapped through the bus window.
Then it was into the actual forest.
Mick was so wishing that he was not in the bus but travelling on a bike. There were quite a few out and about, as it was just perfect weather and roads for riding.
I loved a convoy of old tractors and caravans that we met along the way.
Our destination was a cuckoo clock shop which served traditional black forest cherry cake at the village of Niederwasser. At the side of the building there was the world’s biggest cuckoo clock.
After our yummy cake, we went for a stroll around the village. It was so nice to have a warm, blue day.
When we returned to Breisach there was quite a collection of cruise ships moored. Ours is at the back.
We had signed up for another optional excursion after lunch to the town of Colmar on the other side of the river in France. Mick decided that he had had enough of walking tours through old towns and opted to spend the afternoon walking at a much faster pace around the smaller town of Breisach. So, I headed off on the bus without him.
It turns out that Colmar is considered one of the most beautiful small towns in France. We soon learnt why. It turns out that it didn’t get destroyed in WWII, whereas most of the surrounding villages were razed to the ground. Apparently it was liberated before it was destroyed.
One famous feature is “Petite Venice” along the river. They even have punts.
The buildings have always been painted up in many colours.
The market hall has recently been refurbished and reopened.
Lots of yummy things on offer.
We went down the street than had housed the tanneries in times gone buy. Apparently, it was really run down and the council obtained a large grant to fix it up.
Don’t let the facades fool you. Behind the original facades are ultra modern homes and apartments, complete with lifts.
There was a stork nesting on the church. We actually saw several storks on nests during the day. There is a frame on the roof for the nest to sit.
Mick would have loved this sidecar outfit, but I think he would have been a bit big to ride it.
I loved this crooked building.
We had a lovely wander around in our free time. It is amazing how a modern shopping precinct can use the old buildings.
Before we caught the bus back to the boat, we enjoyed a nice cool beer here. Very refreshing.
In the evening there were lots to photos taken, email addresses swapped and goodbyes said. We met some lovely people on this trip, which really added to our enjoyment.
Sunday saw yet another early start to be on the bus to Zurich to catch our plane home after ten weeks away. It was with mixed emotions that we headed home. It was sad for the long planned trip to be coming to an end, but we were really looking forward to getting back home.
We don’t know that we will do another trip quite as long. It is a long time to be away from home and also to be in each other’s pockets all the time. During our normal life, we are both at work during the day, so only see each other of an evening and on weekends (when Mick isn’t working), so you do get to the stage that you need a bit of space. However, after doing a similar trip in 2007, we knew that would happen.
Overall, our trip was wonderful. I don’t know what the highlight was, but the Rhine River Cruise was definitely up there. We have never been on any organised holiday before, always preferring to do our own thing, but it was so nice not having to think or organise anything and we were so spoilt by the staff on the ship. It was quite a luxurious way to travel.
The bike trip on Olga was great, although Mick found it quite hard handling the old dear. We felt quite a sense of achievement in completing our lap of the UK, but were glad we didn’t have to go any further, as I don’t think she would have lasted much longer. She actually performed better than expected.
We loved how we would arrive at a town not knowing anything about it or what was there to see and then quickly learning that there is lots to do and see and ended up staying for extra days. Stumbling on the Beaulieu Auto Jumble, the Vintage bike run at Wells, lovely waterfalls at Braemar in Scotland, a concert at Kings Lyn, riding a bike in Hyde Park in London, catching a steam train into the North Yorkshire Dales, riding in a punt in Canterbury and so many other things I can’t think of at the moment.
Of course, the Isle of Man was fantastic. Not only was the racing spectacular, it was wonderful to catch up with our friends over there. They really make our visit special. We have already booked our accommodation for TT in two years time.
It has been good keeping a record on my blog. Even now I look back at it and find things I had forgotten about. There is no way you could ever remember everything after such a trip.
We will have to see where we will end up on our future travels (other than the Isle of Man). We have a couple of ideas, but nothing definite for a while. It is just nice being home.