BoyRob noticed bolt on the spare fuel tank had sheared off yet again (yes, the new extra-long high tensile one), so the day began with repairs. Luckily we could drain fuel into largely empty main tank so it was not lost (also clean fuel is readily available in Europe, so there's no need to use it for the rest of this trip). Unfortunately BoyRob pulled a muscle in his shoulder tightening everything after the bolt replacement. With all hair and clothes washing done, postcards written and groceries sorted, repacked tools and set off for France, crossing border at Neuenburg on Rhine. GirlRob promised herself she'd get to France when in high-school learning French - only took almost 50 years! Not very impressed in first hour though - patchy highway, unkempt islands and verges, lack-lustre highway walls and bridge design, dun-coloured and rusted with graffiti. Pulled into rest area to make salad rolls for lunch, smell of urine so overpowering couldn't stay to eat. Next rest area not much better - literally hundreds of cigarette butts lining gutters which are obviously never cleaned. Litter blowing against fences, so we turned towards the prettier view of wavy burgundy hills against a stormy sky. Drops of rain started. Practiced our French on road signs.
|Grand Canal de'Alsace|
Couldn't see any reason to go up to Dijon to come back south again, so headed towards Dole to overnight in stellplatz. Great decision, parked opposite picturesque Old Town, with original 1200s buildings (rare not to have been bombed or rebuilt), stream flowing throughout edged by flower boxes ("Little Venice"), cobble-stoned streets, impossibly narrow alleys.
|Place des Fleurs well named|
|Followed "way of the cat"....|
|....but only found a Giant Tit in birdfeeder...|
Found home of Louis Pasteur, and church where he’d been baptised. The 13th century Gothic and Renaissance Notre Dame de Dole basilica had a beautiful Virgin and Child sculpture from Jean de la Huerta's workshop, an 18th century organ, and a white marble portal over Chancellor Carondelet's tomb.
As in every Old Town, the ancient mixed with the novel in synergistic or challenging ways.
Enjoyed very good French wine in cafe, matched with tart cheese. Things in France were certainly looking up as we retraced our steps over the canal to our peaceful carpark....