Saturday, 9 February 2013

Gas and the ghetto.

Day 203 02.02.13 Obernai

We get up early and get going to Obernai.  On the outskirts of Selestat I spot a Bricomarche store which people online had recommended for exchanging empty gas canisters for shiny new ones.  After mistakenly going in the Intermarche next door and being accused of stealing the rusty, old gas canister I had with me by the world’s grumpiest shop assistant I ended up in the right shop.  Some bumbled French and 5 mostly useless sales assistants later I left the store with a new full gas canister as they disposed of our old one.  A HUGE palaver but hurray that tonight’s dinner won’t be sandwiches!

Clear skies give way to horrendous torrential rain along the short 30 minute drive.  We go via Lidl for a jumbo shop to stock up on everything as the supplies are running very low again.  The carpark beside the rampart walls that surround the town of Obernai is ideally placed for sight-seeing as well as offering a short walk to the launderette.  The rain has cleared and its now bright sunshine and a mild 7 degrees as we explore the town. 

Through the well maintained rampart walls we soon find the market square with its tall clock tower and attractive half-timber houses.   There is also a small outdoor ice rink that looks to be left over from Christmas.  Many of the towns we’ve visited still have most of their Christmas decorations up despite it now being February!  They seem to go to a huge effort with their festive decorations that it only seems right they’re up for a while.  Around the corner we find the brightly painted town hall with its stunning stonework especially the lovely balconies.  Beside it is a very pretty old well, a passer-by stops to zealously tell us of the history of the well but we don’t understand a lot of what we says!   This has happened quite a lot of late, it’s nice to see how proud the locals are of their town’s history. 

The nearby church is a mostly simple affair on the outside but inside has a nice, traditional painted ceiling as well as numerous rather grand chandeliers.  It looks like they’re setting up for a service or perhaps even a funeral later today so it’s only a short visit!

Elsewhere around town we find more narrow cobbled streets with colourful half-timber houses.  I don’t think I could ever get bored of these charming little homes.  Their bright facades really make towns seem more lively and cheerful even on rainy, grey days.  They definitely make Obernai a very pleasing little town to visit.  Many of the towns we’ve seen of late have a German influence to them, but it’s certainly stronger in Obernai with many streets and shops with German names and signs in both languages.

After we’ve seen all town has to offer we gather up the washing and head off to find the launderette.  It’s just over the railway tracks and turns out to be very much the ‘wrong side of the tracks’.  It’s a very rough housing estate that seems to have come straight out of the film District 13.  We arrive at the launderette to find two Algerian women doing what seems to be the whole neighbourhood’s washing.  They’ve already filled 7 machines (including 2 that hold 16kg of washing) and seem very unimpressed that we dare use one machine for our stuff.  We press on anyway much to their annoyance!  Washing done and dried we make a break for the van as the rain starts to pour, so much for this afternoon’s sunshine!

After packing the washing away we get ready for some showers only to discover the water pump is refusing to work.   No idea what’s going on with it but it’s a massive pain and a big worry.  After such a productive morning it feels like a huge setback, especially as we have no idea what’s wrong with it or how to start trying to figure it out.  So much for that plan!   We go out instead to find the nearby McDonald’s to go online but can’t find it straight away and the ever darkening sky suggests we shouldn’t stay out much longer.  As we get in the light rain gives way to heavy snow.  It’s like 4 seasons in one day here!  Needless to say it’s a rather crappy ending to an otherwise nice day.

No comments:

Post a Comment