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It was perfectly This post is about a 6km walk from Neuf-Brisach to Biesheim. I walk through a fortified town and eat a very good pizza.

I woke up on a French campground feeling happy but exhausted. Maybe the inclines and declines of the High Black Forest had exhausted me, or maybe I just hadn’t slept enough lately.

I decided to take it easy today.

a complex fortress

There was a strange-looking town right next to the campground. It was called Neuf-Brisach, and I had noticed its weirdly geometrical shape while looking at a satellite map of the area. The whole thing reminded me of a fortification out of the computer game Civilization.

First there were the outer ramparts, consisting of a complex system of walls and moats. Then there was the inner wall. A sign explained the town’s layout and its history.

the sun king’s bulwark

At the end of the 17th century, under the reign of Louis XIV, absolutist monarch of France, a military engineer called Sรฉbastien Le Prestre de Vauban had planned Neuf-Brisach as a perfect fortified town that was supposed to stand as a stronghold against the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation.

Its plan was highly geometrical, and when I looked at it through squinted eyes it reminded me of romanesco broccoli or of mathematical fractals.

Apparently the whole thing had been largely useless.

five cheese

It wasn’t a big town by any standards. But it seemed to be cramped within its walls. In its center I got to a large, empty square. It had been used for military exercises in the past, but now it seemed to be mostly a place to park cars.

I had booked a hotel room a few kilometers ahead, and I had a few hours until check-in time. So I went to a pizzeria and got a five-cheese pizza. Yes, you read that right. It was perfectly round and symmetrical, just like the layout of Neuf-Brisach. And it had five kinds of cheese on it. It was glorious.


the walk from Neuf-Brisach to Biesheim:

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