Day 25 Solothurn to Neueunburg am Rhein
It was another cold, Swiss morning with heavy clouds over the hills, but the sun was shining.
I packed up and picked up my breakfast. I have concluded that Swiss croissants are nowhere near as nice as French ones. They're just not as moist and buttery. However, the loaf of bread I got was excellent.
Much as I like a French baguette, they just aren't very filling. I can smash a whole one down without it touching the sides. This Swiss style loaf was really dense and heavy. The lady told me it would keep me going all day, and she was right!
I set off following the cycle path into the centre of Solothurn where I was greeted by some magnificent signs telling me exactly where I needed to go and how far each town was. In km. Not like the stupid signs in the UK (and France for that matter) that give you a time. This is something that really annoys me (as some of you know!) - hours and minutes are not units of distance! I don't mind if it's miles, kilometres or light years, just as long as it's a proper distance! A few days ago in France a sign told me it was 2 hours to the next town. It took me half that, so I can only assume they base the times on the slowest person on Earth.
Anyway, enough ranting. I knew it was going to be a bit of a long way round to Basel because of the hills in the way, so I just kept following the signs and it would take as long as it took.
Much of the path was next to the road and I started noticing that Basel was crossed off all the signs except for the ones for the motorway. This was a bit worrying especially as there were other signs that even I could work out meant that the road was closed further ahead due to road works.
I had a feeling I might be ok on a bike, so I carried on regardless.
There was a fair old climb to the top of the hills and I saw more signs saying the road was shut ahead. The road suddenly started going downwards, which was a bit annoying (if that's possible!) as I really didn't want to have to come back up if the road was closed!
I got to a point where a dead end sign had been put up which a man in an orange jacket was guarding.
I had no idea what the German for "Can I get through?" is, so I just looked quizzically at the bloke and he responded with something that contained "Ja" and a wave of his arm, so I guessed I was good to go!
There was a great descent down into the next town where I could see what all the fuss was about.
The road was completely ripped up and the only way through was under an old archway, which I think under normal circumstances would be pedestrian only.
Basically they had rigged up two barrier things either side of the arch to see if you could get through. Anything bigger than a normal sized car was out, which I imagine is why they just said it was closed further back.
Anyway, I got through and there was a long gradual descent towards Basel.
It was quite a long way to finally get into Basel itself and then I had to find my way into Germany. There's lots of bridges, hydro power stations and fairly unpleasant industrial stuff all mixed in with the nice old buildings of the town.
I eventually passed into Germany through a disappointingly low key border control and headed for the river (which I'd already crossed several times!)
The campsite I'd seen was on the German side about 25 miles north. However, the signs directed me into France, so over another bridge I went and everything was French again! Basel is a really interesting part of the world!
Anyway, I hit a combination of roads and paths heading north.
I was getting a bit concerned about getting back across to Germany as the bridges are not that frequent. But as luck would have it, there was one right where my campsite is!
So everything is German again - including no doubt what I'm about to eat!