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Published: June 18th 2015
Wednesday 17 June 2015
What a difference a good night's sleep makes. We woke to a cloudless sky and feel full of vim and vigor. Today is a driving day and we head further east towards the next part of our adventure - Germany. Our stopover in Besancon has been brief. It might have been worth visiting in detail, especially the historic town centre and castle on the hill overlooking the city. When we arrived yesterday it was damp and gloomy and this morning we wanted to get on the road. Perhaps next time.
Much of the drive to Mulhouse follows the Doubs River. We haven't driven the Rhine Valley yet but this seems to be like the Rhine but in miniature. Hills rising gently on both sides, road and rail running along side the river. Every now and then there were locks to make the river navigable for small boats through shallow sections. Small towns appeared and disappeared quite quickly. In many of the towns people were taking the opportunity of the fine weather to tidy up. There was weeding going on in and around the roundabouts and sweeping of the gutters. Flower boxes were in full bloom
with either petunias or geraniums. They obviously knew some important tourists with an eye for detail would be passing through today. Unfortunately photo opportunities were limited to a quick snap by the assistant driver through the front or side window of a moving vehicle.
Polly was going to navigate us to the centre of Mulhouse but on an impulse we ignored her, much to her annoyance, and took a right turn into a Park & Ride parking building. What a find! With the help of the parking assistant we handed over two euros for two tram tickets and an explanation that the parking was all day. With tickets, brochures on the P+Tram system and cameras we took a two minute walk to the waiting tram. Ten minutes later we were in the centre of Mulhouse. How easy was that.
Needing lunch we entered a very new shopping complex with all the modern shops you would expect in such a complex, even Laura Ashley was there. They had what must be the biggest shoe shop in Europe with wall to wall shoes - a shoe supermarket.
The Tourist Office was closed for lunch so the only tourists in
The Old Town Hall, now a museum.
town made up their own walking tour and followed the signs to the old town centre. The town square would be a great place for public gatherings. On one side the rebuilt old town hall, the protestant church, St Etienne, on another and old buildings with outdoor cafes making up the rest. How much is original we are not sure but from much of the building in the town it appears to be post WWII. Plaques on the old town hall thanks various armies for liberating the town following occupations in 1918 and 1944. This part of France has had a see saw history and many place names reflect this.
We felt we had seen enough of the town and three hours later we returned to the carpark. What a pleasant surprise we got. After validating the parking ticket the total to pay was zero euros. Who are we to argue. As we successfully left the building we looked at each other and agreed, the best part of Mulhouse was the 2€ Park and Ride. What an answer to big cities' parking problems.
We are in Mulhouse for two nights as we plan a day trip tomorrow to
Tourist enjoying the sunny sights.
the historic town of Colmar. Accommodation is cheaper in Mulhouse and the drive will only take about forty minutes. Our friend Rick says it's a must and so do all our other friends who have been there.
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