Monday, June 13, 2011

Day 17 - Europe 2011

Day 17 - Friday, June 10, 2011 - Rheinau to Strasbourg - Trip 39.57 kms Time 2:37:04

The itchiness from whatever caused my rash on my arms and knees is almost gone. Getting to sleep last night was a bit of a challenge. Someone was boucing a ball sort of like Steve McQueen in The Great Escape everytime he was put into isolation in the Gestapo POW camp. Finally someone took the ball away and I was able to get some rest.
I went down for b'fast at 8:00. No one else around. Even the waitress was out on the terrace in the "Biergarten" wiping down tables. She finally showed up and brought me some tea. A Dutch couple then arrived with a 2 year old. He must have been the little bugger that kept boucing that ball!!!. They turned out to be a nice young couple from Utrecht on their way to Italy for a holiday. Lots of goodies for b'fast. I was also able to make myself a ham and cheese brotchen for lunch later plus a hard boiled egg.
Finished packing and and went down to restaurant to check out. Paid waitress 40 E for room. First Beer wasn't on bill so I told her I owed her for a large Export that the chef had served me on arrival. She charge me 3.50 E. Next time I'll just keep my mouth shut or ....
I left for Strasbourg at 9:20. GPS said it was 18 kms but by the time I reached the outskirts I still had another 17 to go after resetting my GPS. I saw a bicycle sign for Robertsau (which is a suburb of Strasbourg). The sign said it was 14.5 kms so I decided to head in that direction. It turned out to be a nice quiet ride through a forest and into the centre of Strasbourg.
I followed the signs for "Centre Ville" hoping to find a Tourist Information Centre. I had to stop at a gas station to ask for directions and was told I would find "Service de Tourisme" at the Cathedral. I could see the Cathredal not far off but getting there was a bit of a challenge. So many narrow, cobbled stoned, one-way streets. Eventually I found the Office de Tourisme, locked my bike and went inside and stood in a queue for about 15 minutes.
Finally it was my turn and the lady asked me in German what I needed help with in spite of the fact that I was wearing my Canada jersey. I said I would prefer French or English. She was embarassed! I got directions to a laundromat, Youth Hostel and several other hotels. Paid 1 E for a map of Strasbourg.
I managed to find the laudromat but had no change for the machines and there was no change machine. Went next door to a pizza place and asked for change for 10 E. Sorry no change!! A young lady waiting to be served kindly offered to give me change for 10 E. I went back to my laundry. Put 2 E in the machine for 1 E of soap. Got just a trickle of soap and no change. Just then the manager appeared. He checked out the soap dispensing machine and found it was plugged up with a chunk of soap. He gave me back my 2 E and enough soap for 4 loads of laundry. I ended up doing a huge load of laundry for 7 E and 2 E for the dryer. I had lunch while watching my clothes go round and round ...
Set off for Youth Hostel at 1:30. On the way I passed a mobile shop. Went in to see if I could get on of my mobiles working. I ended up paying 10 E for a new SIM card for my Belgian Mobistar with 7.50 E credit I added another 10 E of credits. I was assured this would work in all of Europe. We'll see. So far I haven't had to use my mobile and I've stopped getting text messages from Mobistar about my credits having run out. I guess that's because there SIM card is no longer in the phone.
The Youth Hostel was rather difficult to find. It was way off the beaten path. A room with 4 cots in it cost 22 E with w/c and shower in the room and b'fast. A large towel cost 3 E. No Wi-Fi but there was Internet available for 2.50 E/hour. I carried my panniers up to the 2nd floor. No one else in the room. YET! I then found out that the YH had laundry facilities after reading the welcome note. I checked it out but there was only one small washing machine and one dryer and they were both busy. It would have cost me a bit more to do my laundry at the YH as I would have had to do 2 loads.
While I was settling into room a young German fellow arrived. We had a nice chat in German and English. He had cycled from Manheim in 2 days. He was exhausted. He made up his bed and went to sleep. It was only 4:30!!! I went out to see if I could find a Wi-Fi connection and something to eat. Ended up at a Middle East restaurant. I had a very nice couscous. It was far to much. I was a bit nervous while eating. There were a dozen or so young punks hanging out outside the restaurant drinking Jim Beam and dealing drugs. I went out and locked up my bike. Took some pics. Where are the polizei!!!
On the way back to the hostel I stopped at an open air concert in the park. People were coming from all directions with picnic hampers, blankets, etc. I stopped and listened to the full size orchestra for a while but it was getting a bit chilly and I hadn't brought a jacket so I headed back to the hostel. Locked my bike in the "Velo Garage" for the night.
While I had been out two more "guest" had arrived. It was a full house. Went off to bed at 9:00
Cheers, Roly

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