Monday, October 1, 2007
The Rhine Valley and Freiburg DE
It seems like a long way from Versailles and my rant on American attitudes towards the French, especially as we find ourselves in the southwest corner of Germany on the edge of the Schwarzwald, Black Forest and near the Rhine. We spent a wonderful few days of cold and rain driving southeast through the red wine district of Burgundy where we stayed a couple of days in Beaune, FR very near Dijon (and the mustards). There we enjoyed a small museum of Wine. BTW, they've been growing grapes and producing wines here since the 5th century and the Romans! Then we drove east northeast through Jara Province and on into the Haut Rhin district into the white wine areas of the Rhine Valley. There we stayed a few days in the medieval town of Colmar and on Sunday toured the old town and many miles if vineyards and small villages around the city in glorious sunshine. Again, if you haven't noticed, we are travelers who without any other hobbies or vices do enjoy our touristing with a few museums, old country places and downtown plazas, outdoor cafes and good, locally grown foods. That we've found in all of our European journey to date.
Now we are here in Freiburg, Baden Wurzemburg state and the eco-capital of Germany, or so one person noted it. We crossed the border and almost instantly began seeing signs of a solar world different than we'd seen to date. Solar electric modules on some rooftops, solar hotwater panels on many others and even sign for "biodiesel", the first we've seen in all Europe. All this in space of about 40km! Today Tom spent day running around the city looking for some of the many solar rooftops and projects, and getting royally lost several times. Again, a stop at a cafe, a coffee or glass of wine and review of maps and phrasebooks, and off again. You'd almost think that he gets lost on purpose! He did find several of the many noted in the city's own guide to solar projects and sites around town. They take a top down approach from the local government dating back years to a loud, local rejection of a proposed nuclear power station in the area. The local farmers, vitners and students at the University wanted to explore an alternative. Today nearly 15% of local power is generated by renewable means. A lot of emphasis, too, has been placed on energy efficiency, retro construction on many of the older structures and passive solar designs for new construction. Tom's pedometer at the end of the day logged over 13000 steps, or over 6 miles walking.
Nancy enjoyed the day with Tom out of house, with our second WiFi campground connection and a good book. We're both beginning to feel some travel fatigue, some more than others. As well, Nancy's back has begun to be a problem and cause concern. This may have us reconsidering the many long drives ahead of us if we want to make it to Rome, and then back again to Amsterdam. (FLASH: We were unable to post this last night due to wifi connection/bandwith load here at campground, but at 5am, we're up and running WiFi very fast AND we've had a course correction: Auf Wierdesehn Deutchland, ciao Roma!) Now back to sleep...today the Black Forest, tomorrow southbound to Switzerland and on to Rome.
Happy trails from tom and nancy
(BTW, the photo is of us in the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles...finally figured out how to add the photos:)