Thursday, January 25, 2007


Saarland is not the smallest German province. That honour falls to the city states of Berlin, Bremen or Hamburg, but it is the smallest non city state. It borders France and Luxembourg. The French wanted to annex it in the 1940s when the iron and steel industries were flourishing and held a referendum to prove that the people of Saarland wanted to become French. It did not succeed and so Saarland remained a German province. Obviously the area has a long history of heavy industry–coal, iron and steel, but much of this is gone nowadays and Saarland is very green. Due to the proximity to France the cooking is excellent.
We went to the Mannheim Tourist Fair and picked up a brochure about the cycling in the Saarland, "Radfahren 2007" published by the Saarland Tourist Office: Tourismus Zentrale Saarland GmbH, Franz-Josef-Röder-Str. 17, 66119 Saarbrücken, Germany. It is in German, but the maps are easily understood. We noticed two routes in the booklet that could easily be combined to give an 800 km tour through Luxembourg, Lorraine and Saarland: Veloroute SaarLorLux and the Saarland–Radweg that runs round the border. There seems to be enough hills to satisfy the sporting fraternity and enough museums, historic sites and towns to satisfy the culture vultures. The local wines are excellent and the beer, at least in Germany is eminently drinkable.

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