st.antoing - freux

freux - primstal

primstal - hirsau




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The Fields are Always Greener

Northern France appears to be layed out in an array of roundabouts connecting industrial sites emitting heavy fumes and toxic smells with others. Dunkirk finds itself enveloped by raffineries, oil tanks, trunk roads, railway lines, nowhere land and no-go-zones, distracting from the pretty centre of the original town.
From now on it is a question of rolling in a straight lines due south east from one town to the next, along what appears to be cabbage fields, cabbage fields and more cabbage fields; hardly any forests can be found here, and the landscape has a rugged charme, only appearing a bit more appealing when leaving the route nationale by following the country lanes with their near identical villages.
Belgium initially doesn't appear much different, unless you manage to navigate your way through the scantily signposted backroads, the main roads feel just as boring as farther up north.
Approaching the Ardennes the picture changes, though, and through rolling hills the experience for the traveller becomes much more pleasing.
An amazing amount of locally bred cows scatter the fields, followed by a smaller number of horses, lots of them work horse breeds, beautiful and curious beasts...
The fields are always greener in the sunlight, greener in the rain, when you find yourself standing on a carpet of lush green grass, prime source of vitamins for the cow herd nearby trying to figure out what this strange appearance in the next field might be up to.
Luxembourg has just been through a spring clean undergone by an armada of giants with sponges, no more franco-belgian just let it all fall to pieces attitude, the road freshly tarmaced, the vegetation along the road freshly cut,
the houses clean, the cars brand new, a landscape from a glossy catalogue luring indicisive holiday makers into its beautiful scenery. And the signposts work fine, too.
And off into the Saarland, which has a distinct german feel to it, although with a pinch of France here and there, with people appearing much more serious looking, domesticated even, with much less laisser-faire written in their faces. Back in Germany then, the West's poorest country, with all the mines closed down, its old industrial remains often bulldozed down to make way for new and slick looking square production units to produce the goods for a modern economy, whatever it is.
Even better the south of the Pfalz, home of white whine and growers and consumers with wine tainted noses, a UNESCO biosphere unique in its appearance, in particular along the French border, simply stunning!
Red sanstone rocks in a contrast with the forest that is virtualy everywhere, with small roads leading towards the river Rhine that defines the flatland beyond the dyke.
On the other side, the Black Forest shows its dark slopes, inviting the traveller into its world of dark green mountain tops and deep valleys...quite a sequence of very diferent environments, and to be honest, it feels like home. Arriving at a good friends' place close to Calw feels good, but i realize that i've worn tired over the last 1000 miles and i'm in need of a good sleep.
The skies are grey, it is a good day for writing, of places and people i left behind, but of memories that stay with me.

status bike: could do with a rest
status max: at peace
status weather: mostly harmless.