isn’t it strange how dreams fade and shimmer?

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This post is about a 23km walk from Opfinger Lake to Neuf-Brisach. I have decided to take a detour through France just because.

I had bivouacked next to the Opfinger See, an artificial lake in a forest. It was supposed to be very popular with bathing guests in the summer, but by now the season seemed to be almost over. When I woke up I only saw one guy on a paddle board and an elderly couple who were wading into the water hand in hand.

It was also an incredibly noisy lake because the Autobahn was very close by.


About two hours later I was crossing the Tuniberg, a limestone hill that was covered in vineyards. It seemed to be harvesting time. Some of the grapes had been taken from the vines already, but others were still hanging there, dangling heavily in the sun, looking as if they were ready to burst.

I picked a single black grape and put it into my mouth. Its skin was thicker than that of any other grape I’d ever had, and it had more seeds in it, too. But it tasted like heaven.

A few steps further down I picked a pink grape, and it was even better.

Then I picked an orange grape.

Maybe it was because I had the sun in my neck and because the vineyards were so beautiful. Or maybe it was because the single grapes directly from the vines felt so precious. But all of them were the best grapes I had ever had.

tobacco for French people

And then I was in France. Or rather, I was at a gas station on the German-French border at Breisach, my mouth open in disbelief. I had come looking for a candy bar. But the gas station was stacked to the brim with boxes of cigarettes and loose tobacco.

WTF? I asked the cashier.

“Taxes,” she said, adding: “they buy whole trunk loads of that stuff here.”

never going to

And then I was really in France. In France!

It had always been a special place for me. The language, the culture, the food, the humor – I adored it all. Le Pari was one of the funniest movies of all time. Also, France was the place where I had done my first long-distance walking ever, the 23-day hike from Paris to Bad Nenndorf in the summer of 2003.

I was in France.


the walk from Opfinger Lake to Neuf-Brisach:

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