At the University of Strasbourg, there is an organization called SUAPS – it offers different kinds of sports activities for students and staff. On Saturdays during the school year, SUAPS organize hikes. Depending on the size of the group or location of the hike, we either take a shuttle bus or the regional train (TER). I went on the first 2013 season hike the first Saturday of April.
This hike took us to the north of Alsace, to the beautiful town of Wissembourg. It sits on the German border and is well known for its vineyards. We did a 22 km circuit (total elevation gain: 800m) through the vineyards and into Rheinland-Pfalz (Germany) forest. The clouds hung so low in the sky that I had the perpetual feeling of nightfall. The temperatures were pretty low too. I was well prepared for the weather, but there were several in our group who were less prepared and suffered the cold.
Bernard, the leader of the hike, took us to ruins of the Guttenberg castle and to visit some amazing rock formations. He explained the geological peculiarities of the Vosges and Rhineland, for example, the rose sandstone that was used to build the Strasbourg cathedral is in the rock strata is found at around 600 m altitude in the area where we were, and the reason for its rose tint is because of the iron content in the rock. We also saw German trenches left over from WWI and fortifications from WWII.