Eurovelo 15, also known as the Rhine Route, will take me from source to sea through five countries, but each manages their signage a little differently. The SwitzerlandMobility app was exceptionally helpful, and since departing Switzerland in Basel, I’ve gotten lost several times without it. But loosing the route means finding other things. For example, while unfurling my map at an intersection in the Alsace region of France, another cycle tourist offered help.
When I told him that my ultimate destination was the Rhine delta near Amsterdam he said he had a boat near there, and we exchanged contact info. Turns out he advises my expedition sponsor, The Nature Conservancy, on fish passage, connectivity and estuary restoration in his native Australia!
Another pleasure has been speaking with my overnight hosts about their river connections; in tonight’s case the Alb, a tributary flowing some 50km from the Black Forest into the Rhine near Karlsruhe, Germany. As dusk approached, I was led on cycle paths that hugged the stream; vegetation flourished thanks to more than €4 million in restoration led by Wanderfische Baden-Württemberg. A swan submerged to feed. Four girls sat on a log, bare feet dangling into the stream, while evening commuters sped by. Our destination was a small dam (Thomaswehr) and fish ladder which my host researched when I asked him to “show me your river”. This little stream again supports salmon, part of an international effort to return migratory fish to their historic ranges.
Near the Alb’s headwaters in the charming Black Forest town of Bad Herrenalb, a new fish ladder graces the recently renovated town green, and a spunky frog mascot offers information about the stream on several signs. This work was done in preparation for an impresssive summer garden show, but now they are ready for World Fish Migration Day April, 21, 2018!