12-Oct-2009 -- The autumn school holidays of my son offered a nice occasion to spend some days with my family in the French regions of Alsace and Lorraine. The former border between Germany and France is a mere 80 km from my hometown as the crow flies, and even one of the four Confluences that lie closest to me is already in France.
So we decided to search accommodation for four days in the Alsatian town of Haguenau, and to start our discoveries in and around this wonderful region every day from this base point.
Already the journey to Haguenau would give us the chance to collect one more Confluence on the way. The weekend before was very rainy, but when we started on Monday morning, the sky was already clearing up and there was only a slight drizzle during some moments. It took only a little over an hour to reach the former border-crossing at Wissembourg. Nowadays the border passage happens nearly imperceptibly, one only notices a sign explaining some specific French speed limits, the placename signs change their typical colour from yellow (in Germany) to white with a blue frame (in France), and the mobile phone in my car changed to a French provider and received a couple of SMS explaining the tariffs and the obligatory use of a national prefix code.
In the run-up to our journey, I had provided a data CD for my car's navigation system covering France, so it was now time to change it and to enter a waypoint to the next Confluence, which is located only about 6 km southeast of the former border-crossing, close to a road leading from Wissembourg to Schleithal. And so it took only a couple of minutes before we approached it closely.
As already described by previous visitors, the Confluence is in a forest only some dozen metres from the intersection of several roads, agricultural roads, and forest tracks, close to a small resting place with a table and benches. I followed the northward running track because my GPS receiver pointed in this direction first, but soon the indicator arrow swung to the left and I stood in front of the already described herbal obstacle formed by several metres high bushes, entwined with bramble twines full of thorns, and underlain with stinging-nettles, all of it still dripping wet from the previous days' rainfalls.
However, standing 15 m from a Confluence, a real confluencer cannot be stopped by such obstacles, and so I asked my family to wait for me and plunged in the thicket, not regarding bruises and scratches. After only a couple of metres, the bushes, thorns and nettles disappeared and I was standing in an open forest consisting of birches and beeches. It needed quite a while of dancing to and fro to get an unstable and quickly disappearing all-zeroes display on the GPS receiver, while my family was getting unquiet because of my long disappearance in the bushes.
After documenting the four cardinal directions, I thought of searching another way out of the forest to avoid a second passage through the herbal obstacle. And so I found a much easier way back to the resting place, where I called my family to lead them the newly-found way back to the Confluence. This was the first confluence visit for my 4½-year old daughter Salwa, thus being introduced to the confluence visitors community.
Hint for future visitors: Don't be misled by the northward running track. An easier way to approach the Confluence is by taking the northernmost of the westward running tracks for about 20 or 30 m, until an easy passage into the forest and then north-eastward towards the Confluence is possible.
After taking some more pictures and a panoramic view
on the track outside the herbal obstacle, we continued our way to Haguenau, but not without visiting some scenic and interesting places nearby, as for example the WW-II underground fortress "Four à Chaux
" and the picturesque ruin of the medieval castle Fleckenstein
, both not far from the village of Lembach.
Continued at 49N 7E.