After a few days of riding the dull flats of Austria, being up in the small mountains of southern Bohemia was rather lovely. There were forests and an abundance of deer too. It didn’t involve long climbs, but enough to keep the tedium away. The area I was riding through had plenty of small towns built on the rivers, reflecting beautifully. The area felt poorer than Austria, with houses looking more dilapidated and several towns where the market was little more than a guy standing in a car
Switzerland certainly loves organised paths, and so there was no surprise when on the network map there were trails for hiking, cycling, mountain biking, skating and even canoeing. I only saw a couple of skaters as I headed east along the lake, but that’s still a couple more than I’d seen up to that point. What I did see were incredibly clean and full-featured parks, that and really high prices. A trip to my staple of Aldi revealed prices that were two to three times as high as in
Just over the border from France I found myself in Freiburg, the entrance to the Black Forest. To me, there are two distinctive things. The colour of the buildings, from the local stone, and the small open-air sewers that are visible on most streets. I also learnt that it is the German centre of renewable energy, with even more solar panels on show than in other places. Apparently as a way of making money, you can lease out your roof space to a company who will pay for installation and then pay
The Alsace region, home to almost 2 million French people on the German border, has changed hands quite a few times over it’s history. The original language in the area, Alsatian, is more similar to German than French but because of a push for French from higher up it is unfortunately fading away.
In Mexico, and other parts of Latin America, when you get to a junction in a big city it’s common to see people trying to make money. They juggle, wash cars, sell things or provide some other