Nantes to Budapest - Sue and Peter's Tale travel blog

Looking along the Rhine

Gentle Rhine

German heavy industry

Stricture on shower cubicle

My Coots Nest

Coffee stop

German Border

Wooden Bridge back to Switzerland

Swiss Town

Day 27-28 May 24/25th

Along The Rhine

Wended our way out of Basel on a complicated but well signed route that then took us though the outskirts of closely intermingled housing, industry and farms. Every thing spoke so strongly of Switzerland, not a square inch of unproductive land, all well kept and ordered. No shabbiness or rundown buildings. Also, very pretty with the hills and the nearby Rhin. We underestimated our route and found that leaving Basel was slow and then the many kilometres of windy dirt track, mainly through forest, made for slower progress and more kilometres. For most of the time we were on the south bank of the Rhin with Germany lying across the narrow waterway. Made Zurzack (83k)

Wednesday, again the weather was very fair for us with not a trace of cloud all day. We left earlier than the norm and were on the road by 8am. Great day with some gorgeous Swiss villages and wonderful views of the Rhin. There is no commercial traffic now. There are no more large towns beside the river and therefore no need to keep the river deep. Just a wandering river through hilly countryside. The odd castle, forested slopes with vineyards dotted here and there. Beautifully peaceful. For an Englander it was strange - bowling along a deserted forest track and passing a rusted raised barrier pole with a tatty sign saying Deutchland, 10 minutes we were back in Switzerland. Made Stein am Rhein (75k) had a grassy pitch right on the river and went for a swim. Annoyed the coots and intrigued the grebes. The later rapidly ignored us and continued to dive around us sometimes less than 5' away. Swan was nesting on the beach, intermittent hisses keeping us clear and a coot was somewhat ineffectively building a nest on a nearly submerged rock nearby. (Male I now realise) and somewhat viciously pushes the clearly female coot up on the nest. Hen is not that impressed and gets off. This is repeated 3 times then ardour takes over and the hen is mounted, her head being pushed under water in the process. Four seconds later the totally exhausted male falls off over the hens head into the water. All is not finished. Male now in the water fluffs feathers, washes head and circles nest whilst the hen takes a good look at the nest. After a couple of minutes of prodding and pushing the odd twig she returns to the water only to be pushed back up by a furious male. This is repeated once more only for the hen to again leave, this time for good. After a couple of minutes the deflated male (I am assuming this) gives up and returns to sit on his raggle taggle nest.

I wondered back to the tent eager to relay the event to Sue only to find my mate returning from the ablutions in a fit of giggles - she had just attempted to clean her teeth in 'heal balm'. Is it the Coot or the human who is mad as a ......

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