AND NOW WE’RE IN FRANCE – BUT YOU PROBABLY DIDN’T NOTICE
The crossing from Germany into France at Breisach across the Rhine is as exciting as crossing from New South Wales into Victoria across the Murray. A passport also seems to be a token piece of baggage – no one stops to look at it or check you are who you say you are; if you were a complete idiot you could probably chuck it into the water without any immediate effect, and without worrying you wouldn’t be able to go home.
The first, and only major difference, you notice is that the signs are in a different colour and a different language. Other than that: not very much to distinguish between the two countries – although France had a lot more roundabouts.
On the phone in the morning my parents were concerned I was still in my pyjamas.
“Well, you need to get ready to go to France,” they said.
“There’s no rush,” I said.
“But you’re going to France,” they said.
“It’s really just down the road,” I said.
When we go there it looked like Germany – that’s because it was Germany a few times. Yes, this was Alsace.
I have been told a story of a chap that was teaching somewhere in Alsace and in the course of his lifetime swapped between teaching in French and German a few times. But I don’t know the details – after all, I was told this story in German – so I can’t possibly say when or where this chap was around.
And because the world is perpetually time poor, I provide pictures for those too lazy to read:
These photos come from Kayserberg in France and if you think it all looks mightily German, you’d be right. It was, and then it was again, and now it isn’t and, well, let’s just say it’s complicated.
And then we went on to Colmar and I had a crêpe, and saw a purple 2CV. And, after being briefly exposed to this Frenchishness we were back in Germany in time for afternoon tea.
So it was just down the road after all.