Tuesday, August 31, 2010

May 6 - Thawing out over pizza and doner with a side of bier

We awoke to a rainy morning. The good news was that the winds had died down. The ATM was our first stop on the way out of Sasbach. We headed out on the main road, on account of the rain - the dirt paths would be impassable in the weather. Cruising along at 13-15 mph, we spotted a giant stork's nest atop a church steeple and stopped to take some photos.

As we left town, we were following what we thought was the road cycling route, but ended up along the Rhine again in thick, red mud. The highlight of that section was hearing a real cuckoo sound coming from the forest - it sounded just like the cuckoo clock we had when I was growing up!

The rains stopped for a bit, and we passed through Kappel. We were making good time toward Strausbourg/Kehl...that is until our road dead-ended and we had to backtrack. By the time we got to the next village, I was freezing. We tried to stop at the bakery, but missed the noon closing by a couple of minutes. Drat! We pressed on to find an open "doner pizza" place. Here, we would describe it as a pizza and schwarma place - which is something rarely found together in the USA. We loaded up on pizza, beer and coffee for 18 Euros. The doner pizza establishments became our lunch of choice from then on. Cheap, tasty and plentiful - these restaurants are a cycle-tourist's dream. As a bit of foreshadowing, I will mention that I had a half liter of Dunkelweizen and a coffee, and until this point had only consumed about 1/4 of a water bottle along the way.

Once thawed out, I felt we could press on for the Strausbourg area - aiming for Kehl (on the German side of the river). We time-trialed the rest of the way for 30-35 km and got there in about an hour. We stopped at the first hotel we found - Rebstach - a boutique hotel that was nice, if a bit overpriced and impractical for a cycle-tourist. But, we were finally warm and dry with our entire room of fancy furniture covered in wet cycling clothes. The artist who inspired our room was Iris Werk - her work can be seen at iriswerk.de.

We had dinner at a Greek restaurant across the street. I had lamb taziki with potatoes, of course. We ordered a half liter of red wine to share...and the owner also brought us a hefty shot of ouzo on the house (more foreshadowing). We had an apple dessert, because they were out of baklava (or didn't want to serve it to us). I think the baklava would have been better!

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