st.antoing - freux
freux - primstal
primstal - hirsau
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.