Alsatian Couch

Trip Start Jul 01, 2010
Trip End Aug 08, 2011

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Where I stayed
Chez Gabriel

Flag of France  , Alsace,
Friday, August 6, 2010

After locking myself out of Alex's place I immediately became aware that my bike computer was not where it ought to have been. I have already lost 4 bike computers in the last 6 or 7 years, so I was not amused as I searched every nook and cranny of my copious bike luggage! I didn't find it, but held out hope that perhaps it had fallen out when my gear had been strewn around Alex's lounge at one point, and I had no alternative but to get on my way with my final vaccination appointment the next morning.

It was a hard days' ride from Rheinstetten down the Rhine to Strasbourg after 10 days of being stationary. It took me quite a while to find the river but once I did the way unfolded and I made it without too much trouble, arriving around 8 pm. Gabriel welcomed me enthusiastically and showed me in - to my surprise he had 8 or so other Couchsurfers due the same evening! I was very pleased to meet this nice bunch of people, comprising 2 Russians, 2 Belgians, 2 Polish, 1 French and 1 German. After tracking down a veggie kebab we went into the city; and watched the mesmerising lights show which is projected onto the cathedral every 20 mins, accompanied by some of Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite and lasting 15 minutes! Then we went to a nearby bar and the time flew by. We finally arrived home with a scant 5 hours of sleep-time available before I had to be up to get my injections.

I really don't know how Gab does it, working full time on top of entertaining CouchSurfers from every corner of the globe.

I somehow found the hospital and clinic okay, and to my dismay was told that they'd run out of Japanese Encephalitis vaccine. Arrgh! Hopefully it'll turn up today, but we'll see. I returned to the house and took a nice 3 hour siesta and felt a lot better. Then it was time to go out again to start collecting this evening's troop of Couchsurfers: another Polish, a Korean and a young Italian cycle tourist.

We managed to find everyone at the cathedral then went to a nearby bar, where it cost a criminal €15 for 2 and a half beers. I had been told it was expensive but golly, that stings! I had a good time though, and enjoyed the French practise.

Fabio the cycle tourist and I naturally hit it off and if I can wrangle it to stay one more night with Gabriel we plan to cycle to Karlsruhe together - I need to return to pick up my bike computer, which Alex found in his sofa, and also perhaps to avoid the hilliest parts of the Black Forest (which I already sampled in 2008 on my way to Rome).

Nicolas, a friendly fellow CouchSurfer, gave us an extensive guided tour of the old city, explaining in much detail the city's turbulent history, and it was much enjoyed by all of us. It was only the 2nd time I've taken such a tour (Oxford being the 1st), and he did such a good job of it that it inspired me to do the same when I manage to put down roots somewhere.

In the end I received my final injection for Japanese Encephalitis and picked up some malaria medication also.

For our final night in Strasbourg we went out again, played some Boules (Petanque), then went to yet another CouchSurfer's place where we passed a few hours singing cheesy ballads to his piano accompaniment. and then visited a local bar where I had a good booty-shake to the tech-house tunes the DJ was spinning. Then home for 4 hours or so of sleep.
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