We've come a long way since our last post! We've traveled through Switzerland, up the Rhine past Basel and through Freiburg. I had several nice shows in Freiburg,Germany with Anti-Atom Freiburg, in Strasbourg, France with a bike organization called Bretz'selle, and in Cologne at Climate Camp. Yesterday we arrived in Paris, happy to have a few days off the bike to see the city and catch up on blogging and other things.
We mostly want to share pictures from the past few weeks with you, and one short story:
The noticeable increase in the frequency of simple serendipity is one of the many joys of spending some time traveling by bicycle. One reason for this increase is probably that on a bike trip you simply spend a great deal more time in the common space.
Last week we were making dinner and preparing to campout in a city park in a small French village. When there are no campgrounds in the area, and no hosts available through any of the normal channels, we're comfortable with pitching our tent off the beaten path. However, just as our lentils and rice began to boil, a lady pulled up in a car, said hello, and, after a brief word with her husband, invited to spend the night in their guest room. We had a great breakfast, got to take a shower, they gave us a tour of their inherited collection of vintage carriages and wood-fired bread over, and Jen got a lot of French practice. I mostly smiled and nodded and wished I knew more French, as Jen managed to translate as much as she could. Unplanned and unexpected, we had a remarkable time and made new friends. Many thanks to these great folks, and others who are willing to stop and say hello to the odd folks making dinner in the park!
A receptive audience. Also- did you know that baby swans are light gray little fluffs? Quite cute. Lots of swans inhabit the French canals we've biked along.
We took a speedy kilometer, keeping up with the pack until they turned. It's not very often we get to bike with this many people!
A misty morning after a rainy day- in Switzerland, between Zurich and Winterthur. We were staying with a kind individual who we met at a show the previous night in Zurich. We constantly remind ourselves how lucky we are to meet so many great people on this trip- and we hope to never take it for granted!
Easy to find potable water in Switzerland- most towns have at least one fountain constantly running, smack dab in the middle of the town! It was often hard to find a place to fill up our water bottles in Germany- no fountains, no public restrooms, and to use the restroom even at most grocery stores was a bit of a process that included asking a not-too-busy clerk to unlock a door or guide you on a long walk down stairs, around boxes, etc. Probably wouldn't have noticed this difference if we weren't on a bike tour...
We camped at a CSA-type farm outside of Freiburg, Germany. Our good friends in Iowa, Elke and Davide, used to be a part of this farm when they lived in Freiburg and told us we should stop by and see it! It was so nice to visit and help for a couple hours the next morning picking tomatoes in one of their high tunnels.
It's true: I (heart) velo. Imagine a birthday party, a city-wide celebration, a concert, and a group bicycle ride all rolled into one fun day in Bern, Switzerland. Oh, and of course a ton of very friendly cycle enthusiasts! ProVelo Bern made our stay in Bern spectacular. Thank you!
Played at KlimaCamp near Cologne, Germany. Many people, even locally, don't realize that they are literally bulldozing small historic German towns to dig massive coal mines. Thousands of people are being displaced, people who feel powerless against this huge politically entrenched but dying industry. It was good to share a few songs with this standing and being arrested in solidarity with the local population.
We stayed with a wonderful family at an intentional community in Bern, Switzerland. The residents are not allowed to have a car, so there are two huge underground bike garages filled with all sorts of types of bikes, including cargo bikes and trailers to bring kids along on errands or to school.
It seems that most castles have moved to Europe on account of the high standard of living.
Above and below- canals in France. Such a nice, flat, quiet way to travel through the French countryside. A lot of people fishing, with amazingly long fishing poles.
Jen's face says it all. We're still not sure about this one...
"Oh, no. That's not a cathedral. That's just a church." Turns out the cathedral is 1 km away.