- distance cycled: 43.0 miles (Basel to Neuf-Brisach)
- cumulative cycling: 332.4 miles
Well, we are in France, sitting outside a Turkish fast-food joint in a bilingual area, about to eat pizza (for me, so without cheese) and chicken goujons with pommes frites, sat next to a Dutch couple. Today’s mid-morning stop involved a pretzel and a pain au chocolat. Multi-cultural noshing!
Today’s portion of EV15 mostly stayed away from the Rhine, instead following well-tarmacked country roads or unmade roads with well-compacted surfaces: hardly any gravel! The route is signposted excellently, despite the claims of a fellow cycle-tourer that Switzerland does it better.
The thing that fascinates me is the variety of German that is/was spoken here. (Alsace has an unfortunate history of being fought over by France and Germany.) Unfortunately, I speak only Hochdeutsch (standard/‘high’ German) – very badly – so the sounds of other varieties of German have been rather trippy. It feels as though I should understand conversations around me but don’t. Of course I don’t mean I should listening in to other people’s private conversations, but it’s like I’m in a four-poster bed where the posts are missing but somehow the curtains still stay in place! It’s right but not quite right and that small difference is somewhat jarring.
I know that reads as a moan but honestly it isn’t! It’s intriguing and at worst a challenge to overcome. Fortunately, my schoolboy French is working well enough, although I have to thank Iris for help today with how to say things politely.
Anyway we are in Neuf-Brisach, built to replace Breisach. Notice the vowel-shift? Does that mean that the local German of the time pronounced ‘ei’ the same as the local French pronounced ‘i’, or something else. Answers on a piece of smoked tofu to the usual address, please. Tschuss!