Trip to the Black Forest and Vosges

A report by Geoff Clough on an MSL Tour with Dave Shanks in September 2018, which gave us the idea for our planned trip in 2020, now postponed. Hopefully this will give you a flavour of what we missed in 2020 and what might be to come in 2021?

We opted to join the tour at Reims instead of the Dover ferry, and planned instead an overnight stop at the Hotel Beatus in Cambrai. Dave had stayed there several times before and knew the owner. Our main reason for stopping here was to visit “Deborah”. Despite her name she was not an old girlfriend, but rather a WWI Tank from the Battle of Cambrai. The old girl had been rescued largely by the Hotel owner, and was now receiving visitors in her new home, a magnificent specially created museum. For more details see:
www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/destinations/europe/france/articles/cambrai-tank-museum-flesquieres-new/

Tank Tracks Memorial – Battle of Cambrai

Deborah in her new home

We duly paid homage to Deborah and then set off cross country to join the Tour party at Reims.

Next morning, we set off for our base in the Black Forest. The Hotel Waldblick was an oasis of peace and tranquillity with excellent rooms, superb food and great beer. What more could we ask for? We split the journey from Reims into 3 parts. Autoroute to cover as many miles as possible. Cross country via Bitche to Baden Baden. Finally, down the northern leg of the amazing B500 to Schenkenzell.

We were staying 3 nights and the weather was warm and dry, so we set off exploring. On the first day, we meandered round the local area. Typical Geoffrey – we ended up going through timber yard after timber yard (admittedly on a road and not actually lost!). Our meanderings gave us lovely views of the valleys in the region. But there were some road closures and major roadworks. First day not too bad.

Typical Black Forest architecture plus Dave!

On the second day we teamed up with another BMW rider for a trip to the Auto-Und Technik-Museum at Sinsheim. This amazing museum has 4 big halls. A Concorde and Concordski (Tupolev TU144) on the roof! Loads of cars, bikes, tanks and much more. We only had a few hours. We could have spent a whole day there since there was so much to see. For more details see https://sinsheim.technik-museum.de/en/

Concord and Concordski on the roof!

The next day we were relocating to Colmar in the Vosges region of France for the second stage of our trip. We set off south to look for a restored steam train at Blumberg. The railway was not running that day, but there was a museum, a café and a lot of history to entertain.

Steam locomotive at Blumberg

We then headed west to Lake Titisee to join the B500 for a bit. Stop for refreshment (it was very hot by this time).
Local Taxi!

We set off south, then west using minor roads over the Black Forest ridges before dropping down to the Rhine.

We entered France then followed minor roads north to Colmar for our 3-night stop. The hotel was fine with an underground carpark but only provided bed and breakfast. It was a short and pleasant stroll into the city centre, however, with loads of cafes, bars and restaurants to choose from.

Our first day trip in the Vosges we ventured north and west using minor roads to Sainte Marie-aux-Mines. It was still hot, so we stopped once more for refreshment.

Typical Vosges views
Some others on the MSL Tour

We then followed some minor roads up into the hills searching for a memorial to the brave SAS squad who had been parachuted into the area in August 1944 as Operation Loyton. Unfortunately, they were captured and executed. Memorials found, we then circled back to our hotel. For more details see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Loyton


On the second day we headed into the hills to find the Routes des Cretes. I must admit this time I did get lost and we followed several tracks through vineyards and other fields past signs forbidding motorised transport.

Once clear of Sainte Marie-aux-Mines again we found the Routes des Cretes. For more information see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Route_des_Cr%C3%AAtes

Ribeauville in the wine region

Hopefully this has given you some insight into the region and whetted your appetite to visit?

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Author: geoffbmwox

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