Monday, July 16, 2007

Tour de France 2007, Stage 5: St Laurent-en-Grandvaux to Munster – 11 July 2007

Le LionSurprise, surprise, it was raining when we woke so we packed our tent in the rain again. The rain was in on-again-off-again mode all the way north until we were well into the Alsace region.

EguisheimThe link between the Statue of Liberty and France is well known, what is probably not as well known is that the only other major undertaking by designer Frederic Bartholdi is a pink sandstone lion, “Le Lion”, in the city of Belfort. As this was on our route it seemed like a good place for a break in the journey.

EguisheimWe detoured off the main road to Eguisheim, a very pretty town of half-timbered buildings built along streets laid out in concentric circles which provide ready-made tourist walking routes around the town.

EguisheimThis town is not far from Colmar, the main centre for the area, so that was our next stop. They used the river to create canals that were originally used to move the wine stocks around the town. Now they are a tourist attraction called Petite Venice.

EguisheimAlong the way there were signs that warned that the road ahead was 'Route Barree a 1500m', in 1000m, at the deviation point the signs said 'Route Barree a 400m' but did our leader take any notice? No he did not. On we pressed, the only cars on a once busy road, until we arrived at the road-making equipment where it was abundantly clear that further progress was impossible, the route was indeed 'barree'. Did we retrace our steps? No we did not. We went through some private property, arrived at a cycle track and drove along that in our intended direction; ultimately arriving at the road that was the signposted deviation, where a kindly driver let us back into the nose-to-tail flow.

Petite VenicePetite Venice

Petite VenicePetite Venice

After Colmar we travelled away from the German border to the town of Munster, now famous for its storks and from there up into the hills behind Munster to camp at a spot discovered by Bob on a previous trip. Wild camping (“camping au sauvage”) is encouraged in France.

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