Bike and body felt top after the rest day, the weather was cooler too, all of which made the day more pleasurable. I swapped my shirt for my thermal baselayer, turns out to be much more comfortable when I'm pissing sweat. The roads were reasonably flat, even still I decided to stop in Saverne rather than pushing on to Strasbourg. On the way into I decend through some great switchbacks that are lots of fun. The campsite was right at the top of the town and required quite a climb before I could rest my bones. I don't mind that - being quite a fan of the "gotta earn it" mentality. As I climb out of the town I notice some very angry clouds fast approaching. I ask them to hold off for another 10 minutes until I reach the site, and to my suprise they do. I shelter in a bus stop for half an hour then don the raincoat and approach the owner to sort my pitch.
My first rainy tent setup went well - I managed to keep the wet out! The rain abates and I get on with dinner. During which Dexter(slight translation) wonders over to say hello. He's in his middle years and from Holland, and speak excellent English. He saw me in Verdun two days ago and is impressed with my speed - that makes one of us! He has a recumbent trike and is putting it through it's paces for a European tour next year. I have a play on it, it's great fun, a very different feel to my own touring steed. He has toured the Middle East extensively so we talk for some time about Iran. Most people I talk to say "Iran...really?" Dexter was much more enthusiastic, telling me about places that I simply have to go and see, and stories of immense hospitality. He tell me about a poem from holland (that I will post if I find it), the moral of the poem is - if you have only one day left to life, go and do so in Esfahan. With renued enthusiasm for Iran and the trip I sleep well.
I say farewell to Dexter and I'm on the road by 9:30. I struggle to find the canal route out of town so I'm on the roads for 20k's or so. I dont protest too much as I know this guarantee's my cake break, a habit I'm becoming quite attached to! I sacrifce an hour or so thrying to find the canal path, but the flatness that it brings is worth it and I storm along. I chat with a french girl while I take a water break just outside the city. She's very friendly and gives me directiuons to the Youth Hostel, which turns out to be just off the cycle path. At 35 Euros I opt for the campsite - tightarse that I am. I get the tent sorted and grab lunch then head into town to explore.
Turns out Saturday is market day - the place is carnage! Many of the streets are closed to traffic and filled with stalls selling all manner of goods. I wander round for some time but a market is no place for me and my penny pinching ways. I head for the Tourist info Office, get my bearings and then explore with purpose, stopping at an internet cafe to do some updating. I head to a bar for beer that is very like Hoegaarden. The square I'm in is filled with bars and restaurants, I figure I'm far enough away from the tourist trap of the Cathedral to not get ripped off and so I have my first hot meal in days! I write my journel with warm food and cold beer - delish!
I have a sightseeing day as Strasbourg has plenty to see. The architecture is brilliant, and I spend the day getting lost down tiny alley ways searching out the good places to eat etc. I spend ages in the interent cafe until my head feels like its wants to explode then go coffee and cake hunting. I detect I slight apprenhension about going to Germany, I think I'm just starting to get comfortable in France. But then, the purpose of this trip is not to be comfortable and confidant in my surroundings, infact it's pretty much the opposite. I find a cheap pizza place and head back to camp for an early night. Germany beckons me forth....
Distance 11km (sightseeing)