Day 16 - Venette (Picardy, France) to Heidelberg (Baden-Württenberg, Germany)

Cry  Party's over - 478 miles

This is the last day. I am quite far away from my destination, so planning is de rigueur. I want to see Alsace/Elsaß so that means 1) getting onto the highway, 2) taking the highway to Alsace, 3) visiting Alsace, 4) finding the highway again and 5) getting off at Heidelberg to return the bike.

1) goes fairly smoothly -- traffic is moderate. 2) goes really smoothly. At a rest stop I bump into the French president's motorcade -- one of the gendarmes offers me coffee and we chat about the previous day's escort (dignitaries from Britain and the US celebrating the 65th anniversary of the D-day landing in Normandy) and motorcycles (their switch from BMWs to Yamahas). (the photo is not a Yamaha, but a Renault tank from WWI in Compiègne)

Visiting Alsace is just as pleasurable as the picture books suggest.

It is indeed a beautiful region with vibrant colours, especially when it comes to house paint.

The Alsaciens obviously take great pride in their towns and villages.

Again, I spend way more time on the highways than I would have liked to, such as taking the tunnel through the Vosges mountains to Colmar (that "col" looked mighty appealing). But I've got to get back to the grind on Tuesday, so there is no time to commiserate.