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From Beer to Wine - From the Black Forest to the Champagne (CBC1301)

Tuesday, August 27, 2013 | Thomas Ritt | Europe

The guided tour through the Rothaus brewery was not only very interesting, it also included two samples! It was a great way to round off our rest day in the Black Forest.

Rothaus is Germany's highest and the Black Forest's largest and most famous brewery. The beer is outstanding!

This plant can fill up to 60,000 bottles per hour!

Then we left Germany and the Black forest behind and crossed the Rhine to France, or to Alsace to be exact. To celebrate our arrival in a new country we had a picnic right on the border.

One of the famous Edelweiss picnics, this time right at the Rhine river.

Nancy: the view from Place Stanislas towards one of the countless churches. Please pronounce the city like "Naw-cee"...

One of the highlights of this tour is a visit to the WW1-battlefields around Verdun. More than 1 million troops died during 4 1/2 months of fierce fighting, so there are more war cemeteries in the area than villages. It is sobering and makes you feel sad, but at the same time it is very interesting. Here are some impressions:

Former cannon emplacement on Fort Douaumont

The monument "Butte de Montsec" commemorates the American intervention

The "Ossuaire de Douaumont" contains the remains of more than 130,000 unknown soldiers.

Today the German and French flags are flown next to each other, along with the flag that symbolizes European unity.

Reims is the center of the Champagne region. Ride through the vine-clad hills, see the city or take the TGV to Paris? Tough choices...

Vineyard in the Champagne mountains

This is where the grapes for Mumm, Bollinger, Moet-Chandon, etc etc etc are grown. If the bubbly is not made in this region it can't be legally called Champagne.

Dom Perignon, the father of the "Méthode Champagnoise", is buried in Hautevillers.

Reims Cathedral is 800 years old. More than 30 French kings were crowned here.

The Champagne-theme is even present in the church windows.

Can you guess which world-famous artist designed these windows?

Well, not really. It was pleasantly dry and even sunny sometimes during our rest day ride to Switzerland today. We had a look at the Rhine falls in Schaffhausen and had a coffee break in Stein, the beautiful old town on the banks of the Rhine. It was only on our way back when we got a little wet. Here are some impressions:

From Rothaus, home of the brewery of the same name, we started our ride today.

The group - 12 riders and passengers from the US and Canada - in front of the Rheinfall, Europe's largest waterfall.

Cynthia hasn't evenn tried her first Latte Macchiato yet, but she already loves it!

Lina and Olli in Stein am Rhein

Art presents his brand new cap

Beuron Monastery and the upper Danube valley

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