A while back a Swiss news website ran a story about Basel's number 10 tram. Traversing two countries (Switzerland, France) and three Swiss cantons (cantons are similar to states in the USA), the number 10 tram stretches over 25.9 kilometers (more than 15 miles)--making it the longest international tram ride in the world. The story mentioned the tram leaving the city and passing through lush countryside along with skirting past multiple castles. Whoa, skirting past multiple castles! that sure got my attention. My bicycle and I had a talk and decided it would be fun to follow along the tram's route.
Thursday, August 29, 2013
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
I've been to Basel (population 170,000) numerous times and it ranks as one of my favorite cities in Europe.
Basel's city hall, more than 500 years old, is a real stunner. It was hard to get a close-up shot due to a festival being set-up in the market square in front.
Sunday, August 25, 2013
Besides being home to the world's largest railway museum, Mulhouse, France (population 110,000) also claims bragging rights to the world's largest automobile museum--Cite de l'Automobile. Located near the edge of town, the origins of the collection is a fascinating story.
I'll give you a brief background. Brothers Hans and Fritz Schlumpf were Swiss citizens born in Italy but when their mother was widowed she moved the family to Mulhouse, France. In 1935 the brothers founded a company which produced spun woolen products. After World War II their business took off, multiple factories opened and they became very wealthy. In the 1950's they started collecting cars--with Bugatti cars being the main focus (it might have something to do with the Bugatti factory being a mere 50 miles up the road). The brother's car collecting became obsessive and soon a wing of this 200,000 square foot factory was chosen to restore and house the collection. The 40 carpenters, mechanics and others working on the cars had to sign confidentiality agreements to keep secret their work and scale of the collection. By 1976 textile manufacturing was moving to Asia and the brothers started selling factories. In 1977 laid-off workers staged a sit-in strike at Schlumpf's offices and broke into the Mulhouse "factory" to find this incredible collection of more than 600 cars. The brothers fled to Switzerland. The Schlumpf brother's debt rose and to save the collection from destruction, break-up or being exported, the contents were classified in 1978 as a French Historic Monument. Now, the museum is owned by the French government and is listed as a National Heritage site. The photo pictured above and below shows the museum entrance.
Thursday, August 22, 2013
Cycling to the outskirts of Mulhouse (population 110,000) brings me to Cite du Train, the largest railway museum in the world. Cite du Train (Train City in English) is the successor to the French National Railway Museum.