Date
June 6th, 2019
Author
Kay

06.06.19 - Last night it remained warm, so we remained outside - well until there were lots of flying midges about 8pm! They weren’t mosquitoes, but just in case! Had to keep moving our chairs when more mohos came (were sitting in Dave’s shade in a parking space). Was really irritating - apparently it’s known moho etiquette that you all reverse in/drive in - whatever has been established first - so you don’t have your habitation doors opening into each other. Trust our luck to get a French prat next to us the wrong way round. It meant in the heat we had to have our main door closed, otherwise it’s like looking straight into each other’s mohos!

Later on, the wind picked up too, it tried to have a thunderstorm, but wasn’t even really much rain in the end. We caught up and watched Foxy’s war - his return to Afghanistan following his PTSD. Not so hot by about 10pm ish, so did manage to sleep a bit better!

Week 7, run 1 - done ✅. I know I always say it was hard, but my mind wasn’t willing - again. However, I had my little mountain goat running alongside me, even zigzagging the roads so he could run further instead of faster (to stay with me!) - don’t you just hate people who find running easier! No, actually I’m delighted to have an older husband with youthful tendencies!

Later we walked back into the little town of Hartmannswiller, where we’d seen the boulangerie earlier on and bought a very rustic baguette from what looked like the baker himself - no pastries at that establishment! So, back in France - and saw 3 cats this morning - sadly none came to see us. Do the French like cats more than Germans?!

Me driving today - about 30 minutes - uphill and quite a few tight bends for about 8km to Hartmannswillerkopf.

Quite a few hairpins ahead
Quite a few hairpins ahead

Hartmannswillerkopf is a pyramidal rocky spur in the Vosges Mountains. The peak stands at 956m overlooking the Rhine. There is national monument for WWI for the fighting which took place in the trenches there.

The French wanted to regain Alsace and the Moselle which had been German since 1871.

The French and Germans fought for control of the mountain peak during the First World War. Most of the fighting took place throughout 1915. 30,000 died near Hartmannswillerkopf during the First World War, with the majority of deaths suffered by the French. After about 11 months of fierce combat, both sides began to focus most of their attention farther north on the Western Front. Only enough men to hold the lines were left at Hartmannswillerkopf. The lines remained relatively stable for the remainder of the war and generally only artillery exchanges took place.

There is a large network of trenches and shelters and we spent over 2-1/2 hours walking up in the hills (took our lunch with us). The former French trenches, which were mostly reinforced with wood have not survived fire and erosion since, whereas the German ones have as they used masonry. There were still bits of metal with gunshot holes in them, barbed wire etc. The trenches were very narrow - no obese soldiers! They were also not in a straight line and had little cut outs along the way.

It was unbelievable that in some places, no man’s land between the lines was only 10m! Some accounts talk of the soldiers having even been quite friendly with each other (when they weren’t killing).

Also there is a French cemetery, an obelisk, a crypt holding the bones of 12,000 unknown soldiers along with 3 chapels for either Catholic, Protestant or Jewish. Above the cemetery is an alter (in gold colour) to the Homeland and on the four sides are the names of the towns who financed the collection of monuments.

The entrance to the crypt
The entrance to the crypt
The stairs leading down into the crypt
The stairs leading down into the crypt
The crypt
The crypt

The main thing to spoil our peace was a coach load of young adults running around and shouting - we even told them to be quiet at one stage. At the end of the day, it’s a memorial - and the boys were behaving badly, and we would have hoped the teachers would have controlled them! We thought they were German as they apologized in German, but think the coach was from Switzerland. 

It was also a shame that the weather closed in, sort of a mizzle - so although we were high up and should have had spectacular views - couldn’t see more than a few metres at times. We did say that the song, War by Edwin Starr summed it up nicely - war, what is it good for - absolutely nothing. 

I then drove another 30 minutes - and we’re parked up in Thann. Went for a quick walk into town, picked up a map to go walking around tomorrow. Had a look inside the Collegiate church of St Thiébaut. The main door has 150 scenes and over 500 characters. How did they do that? (1342-1498). Think we are clever now, but in different ways!

In the cloud
In the cloud
A view driving off the hill
A view driving off the hill
They had heaters under each pew, never seen that before.
They had heaters under each pew, never seen that before.

Because we’d walked over 16,000 steps today, spent €5 on a couple of pastries, an excellent rhubarb meringue and a banana something! Very nice!

Then slaved over a hot oven - which kept going out (on the list of repairs!) in order to make stuffed peppers with lentils and feta. Felt we ought to eat something fairly healthy after our two days of hot weather and not really bothering. 

Pretty amazing that yesterday we were so hot, and today back in long trousers, and wearing coats/using umbrella!

Our carpark for the night isn’t that pretty looking out on the car parking area - but we have La Thur river behind us, which some reviews have said was an annoying sound of water - we think it’s lovely!

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Martin and Kay Dumont from Guernsey, first time motorhomers and ready to travel. ‘Dave’ is our Mobilvetta K Yacht 85, purchased in 2017 and travelled all the way from Italy. After following Jason and Julie Buckley’s blog 'Ourtour' for years I just couldn’t get the name ‘Dave’ out of my head. So the Mobilvetta had to be another 'Dave’. More...

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