Breisach to Besançon

2019/09/19-21: in Breisach
We spent three companionable days in Breisach with Brigitte and Olav, our co-grandparents. We did a lot of walking which was a restful change from cycling. The first day involved a good walk around Breisach in the morning, followed by a visit to Lillenthal Arboretum, then dinner out in Breisach with a sunset view across the Rhine. The second day involved a geology themed tour of the City of Staufen, and a walk around the hilltop castle and surrounding vineyards. The final day involved another good walk, this time around Kaiserstuhl. Some of the surrounding hills are formed by loess deposits, and dramatic gullies have been carved into this soft material. The vineyards here are terraced.We had a final dinner out in historic Colmar, before preparing to set out the next morning.

Burg Staufen overlooks the town
Gully in Loess

2019/09/22-23: to Besançon, 113 and 106 km
We set out around 9:00 a.m. with Olav having readied his bicycle and equipped himself with detailed maps. He naturally became lead navigator until we parted company for him to return to Breisach via an island in the Rhine. However, having done the requisite 20+ km by the time we’d reached Neuenburg, we treated ourselves to a sociable final stop at a German Bäckerei before parting. We crossed the Rhine one last time, and headed west toward Besançon, soon joining the Eurovélo 6 cycle route.

Cyclist Olav

The Eurovelo routes make travelling pretty straightforward; just follow the signs. Eurovélo 6 runs from Constanta on the Black Sea to Nantes at the mouth of the Loire. Over the next two long days, we mostly followed the Rhône to Rhine Canal, which rises gently through locks toward Montbéliard, then follows the Doubs downstream in a narrow limestone valley, as it becomes a canalized river before arriving at the fortress city of Besançon.

Just before Montbéliard, we encountered this coypu or ragondin which was not worried by us at all. It is among the 100 most problematic invasive species in Europe. Like the North American muskrat, it escaped from fur farms. It is native to South America.
Weir and lock combinations every km or so make the Doubs River navigable.

M & C

2 responses to “Breisach to Besançon

  1. Celebrated John’s 70th yesterday! The clouds parted and the rain stopped for his bday but your not missing much weather wise here in Vancouver. Safe and fun travels.

  2. Happy 70th, John!
    We didn’t realize your birthday was so close to Chris’s. He is 67 today (26th) which has the advantage that now he is « honnor » for transportation in Norway. All transit, trains and buses are now about half the adult price! At least there are some advantages of getting old.
    C and M

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