September 25, 2016

Bicycle Touring: Paris, France to Freiburg, Germany

Somehow we have been convinced that the best way to vacation is to get on a massive ship offering an unlimited supply of all-you-can-eat buffets, on-board malls and even a pool and a cinema, and set to sail to the Caribbean. We need the cinema and shops in case we get bored looking at the water from one mile above the surface.

Consumers have also been convinced that it is completely worth while to spend $100 per day per family member on entrance fees to a park which then requires two hours of waiting time for a five-minute thrill ride, or thirty minutes to get Mickey Mouse’s autograph.

“I’d rather stay home and read a book,” my Dad asserted for years while I was growing up to every suggested vacation. I eventually came to agree with him when it comes to typical vacations. But then I decided to find a way to vacation that felt worthwhile to me. I have stumbled upon the perfect vacation.

I chose to bike in France for several reasons: A) The French love cyclists B) They don’t mind you camping in odd places in France C) The French love to watch an American try to speak French D) The French know how to relax. After five years of Utah Stories, I was ready for a relaxing 12-day bike trip through the French countryside: my perfect vacation.

Selestat Alsace

Selestat Alsace

In Alsace Lorraine, there are many campgrounds for bikers touring the region. Here I met Marcel Blanck. His father Paul started their winery 90 years ago, now his sons mostly manage things. We crashed a party of Alsatian growers who wore strange hats. I learned that the “Alsace” brand is only offered to wineries that are high on the hills. Slowly restrictions have been loosened to allow for grapes to be grown lower in the valley. The inferior grapes will be called Alsatian, which is a thorn in the side of Marcel, who cultivates his grapes high on the hills.

My cycling continued through Alsace to Freiberg Germany. My final day I climbed through the Black Forest and camped beside Lake Titisee. From there I boarded a train for Munich.