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Sunday, 27 May 2012

The tolling of the iron bell, calls the faithful to their knees

Anthony came up with this lyric for a blog title as we sat having Sunday breakfast in the sunshine, listening to the church bells of Masevaux; a small town in the Ballons des Vosges Regional Natural Park, between Mulhouse and Belfort.  We heard first one church, then another while we enjoyed fresh bread and honey on the excellent municipal campsite here.

Having left Zeebrugge at around 08.30 on Friday morning, we followed the Belgium motorways south to France, stopping at Nancy, in time to catch a cheap, frequent and modern bus into the city to visit the Neo-Classical Place Stanislas, enjoy an expensive beer in a cafĂ© and admire the new trams.  The receptionist at the Nancy campsite spotted our address on our ACSI card and owned up to being  a Salfordian and was keen to chat about his old home.

The N59 is a good free French motorway and our pace was soon much slower on the Route de Vin near Colmar; through pretty Germanic villages and hillsides of vineyards, with Germany in sight now firmly held back by the Rhine.  We stayed on the French side and after finding one campsite full due to a local festival, a second wanting in the clean toilets area, Masevaux proved to be a good find.

We are fans of the French system of Voie Verte; these off road cycle routes have tarmac surfaces and are well signed and we were pleased to find one heading out of Masevaux and up the Doller valley.  This kept us off the road and away from the many groups of Sunday German motorcyclist, who come here to swing their bikes at great speed along this twisty mountain road.  Having already had to administer first aid to a motorcyclist, who fell off his bike in front of us as we arrived at the port in Hull, we felt more than happy to be cycling traffic-free for the day.

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