Yet another cold morning as I arose from the tent in the forest. Five kilometers down the road I passed by a real campground. Who knew?
The forest and scenic hills continued for another thirty kilometers
into Wissembourg. If I remember right, this area was the subject of more than a few wars between Germany and France. Alsace-Lorraine, I think Professor Cooper called it. The names of the villages in this region are often German, and the architecture of the houses too. The tourist industry is built around the neighbors, and so people try to speak German with me after they realize that I don't speak French.
A hard rain was just starting up as I rolled into this border town. Good timing. I covered up the bike and headed off to run some errands. Another call to Germany, then one to home. Then I went into a nice little Chinese restaurant to use up the last of my money. I also finished up some letters to send off with my French stamps. Man, this border crossing is a bit of a pain. I guess things are getting easier with the EU. Soon there will only be one currency.
Bought some bread to go and then headed across the border. Anti-climatic as ever. Just a small blue sign and not even a stop sign for
the customs office. One thing I can report is that there are tons of bike trails in the region. There is one that starts right at the border, the Wine Street. I tried to follow it for a bit, but found it to be poorly marked. Headed up highway 38.
The roads seem to be a little more crowded in this area. I hit a little village every ten kilometers or so. I thought I should invest in a more detailed map. Maybe look into getting to Hannover in three more days. I rolled into Landau and stopped into the first tobacco-magazine shop that I saw.
By a matter of grand luck, I just happened to find the shop of the best English speaker in all of Landau. Ferdinand Kopf was more than happy to chat with me and offer advice about the map which he didn't
have. I told him how I had ridden from Valencia and now I was looking to get rid of my bike. He said that he might be in need of a bike like that. He invited me to dinner, saying that he wanted to write an article in the local newspaper about my wacky trip. To top it off, he offered me a free room in an open apartment that his parents had upstairs. I had planned on making another eighty kilometers that night, but something told me to stay the night. This was a chance to chat with a nice guy, and maybe I would sell my bike.
We went out for Greek food that night. Then over to an internet cafe so I could show Ferdi my work on the web page. We spent the whole night trading stories about travels and life plans. Ferdi is a musician who is running the tobacco shop just to make some money. His band, Percy Hairless, plays soul music on weekends at the local bars. His father runs a butchery next to the magazine shop. They sometimes go biking together. At the end of the night, Ferdi offered me 500marks for my bike. I think I might take it.