The Rhine Route by tandem – the experience (5)

Worms is one of Germany’s most historic towns. It claims to be the country’s oldest city. But it is mostly associated with Martin Luther’s hereticism through the Edict of Worms. BBC Radio 4 had Worms as the topic of In Our Time in 2006. The podcast is still available http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0038x8z

The Cathedral dates from the 12th Century. It has four round towers (see left) and is dark inside due to the red sandstone. It has to compete, however, with both Koeln and nearby Speyer (right) over grandeur.

The ride by this time was becoming a little harder. We had had no rest days; though Worms provided us with our first hotel of the tour – and a bed. We decided that we would have a day off and visit Strasbourg. A campsite 20 km north of the city was our target. Gambsheim in France had a large municipal campsite with a railway station convenient for getting into Strasbourg. So we thought. In total the day was 100 km. The ride is not the prettiest at this point as the river is significantly banked and the cycle track is behind the bank. Hence there is no view.

We stopped at a small restaurant nestling in a wood 100m or so from the cycle track. The owners had no german or english, but we did negotiate some food and beer suitable for supplying the energy for the final 20 or so kilometers to Gambsheim. A bit spooky, and goodness knows what the business model is, but welcome nonetheless.

Arriving at Gambsheim in the twilight was not the best. The campsite reception was well and truly closed and all facilities locked, but there was an event going on involving some French-German goodwill with games and music. And beer. Albeit sweet. The night presented a most spectacular lightening storm that was to introduce much wetter and cooler weather for the final push to Basel. The tent held out.

Trains to Strasbourg were roughly hourly, but sometimes buses. The French – even when they are located so close to the border – do not concede to other languages, particularly English. The ticket machine needed some knowledge of French in order to negotiate its system; and one needs to be able to anticipate the bus rather than the train. Suffice to say, we missed the bus necessistating another 70-minute wait.

Strasbourg’s cathedral is most impressive – the door (above, left) is representative. Inside there are many treasures and some anomolies. For example, an atomic clock that would be more suited to a museum. The hourly performance does keep people hanging around in anticipation.

Strasbourg is more than its cathedral, however. It is a fine city in which just to wander and explore. The architecture is stunning. The small streets are a treat. We treated ourselves to one museum – the Tomi Ungerer museum. Ungerer is a famous – infamous even – illustrator of children’s books and advertising materials as well as a satirist.

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