Awoke to damp weather, and nice rolls from the camp shop. Got way down our pot of cherry jam, then set off for Basle Zoo. Located it with the help of numerous sign posts, and the admission came to less than £1 for all of us which was a pleasant surprise. It is a very nice zoo, lost of trees etc., and right in the middle of the city. The chief attraction is the Ape House – very big and beautifully designed with jungle plants creating the right atmosphere. Several varieties of apes and monkeys including a positively obscene orang outang with a great floppy double chin. (A nasty warning, as I said to David, about double chins…). They have a baby gorilla there, being nursed by its mother, only a few months old, and very sweet. It’s very rare to breed as many animals in captivity as they do here, and gorillas especially difficult in this respect. Then on to the rest of the zoo – several black panthers were having a lovely game – have not seen them looking as lively elsewhere. There was also a baby giraffe, it looked tiny beside the father. Needless to say it rained during our visit to the zoo, but we had a coffee in the restaurant during the worst of it.
After a bit of food shopping we drove out of Basle, through the frontier into France, and had our lunch at the roadside. Houses similar to the Bavarian ones, as they had been around Mumpf, and the towns very attractive, with lots of half-timbered buildings e.g. Colmar. Obvious that this region is Franco-German still. Stopped at Colmar to get French money and petrol, then on to Strasbourg and Camping Baggersee. No caravan for hire, but the weather being sunny we were quite glad to ‘monter la tente’ and get it dried out. Went to look around the Bagg hypermarket – it really is vast. 38 check-outs – makes Romford Sainsbury’s look like a corner shop. At least 168 trolleys (they are all numbered) which you wheel in from the car park, and out again. The food department was like heaven! Gorgeous fresh fish, appetising raw meat, especially veal, tremendous delicatessen, including chicken on a spit, tempting made-up dishes – truite-en-gelee, croustades, crab mayonnaise etc., enormous fruit and veg., each thing labelled clearly to show where it had been produced, the bakery was in the store and dozens of varieties of bread available, and patisserie. And then of course, there were all the other departments – literally one-stop shopping. We bought for our tea a croustade aux fruits de mer, coquilles, mushroom pancakes and cherries. Yum Yum! Also got pâté and roast beef for lunch next day, a bottle of wine, some paddles for the children’s boat, and toothbrush and mug for Gareth and some sticky tape to mend a little hole in the roof of the tent.
Enjoyed our supper greatly – if only one could believe that such delights would come our way with the Common Market… Walked by the lake and sat in one of the little pedal boats admiring the clear sky.