Thursday, June 18, 2009
Vosegus Jesus, giver of Rainbows and Ponies!
Lock keeper's cottage on the Bruche Canal
One of the things I like to do with guests with the time and stamina is to rent some bikes and take them on the Rainbows and Ponies trail. The trail, which I've written about several times before, follows the Bruche Canal, which connects the Brushe river to the Ill, which flows in and around Strasbourg. Now used mainly for agricultural irrigation, the canal was originally built to transport stone for the new fortifications the French built around Strasbourg after they annexed the city in the 17th century.
Near the village of Avolsheim, where the trail turns south to Molsheim and Obernai, is an old chapel called the Dompeter. The Dompeter is supposedly the oldest church in Alsace, with foundations dating from the sixth century. One of the things that came up on Rafaël’s tour that I wrote about yesterday was the persistence of Celtic names and folklore in Alsace.
I’ve visited plenty of times before, but now armed with Rafaël’s information, I was able to spot a number of Celtic designs in the nominally Christian edifice.
Pagan carving over the doorway. Note the stylized Celtic knot.
Celtic heads keeping on eye on the proceedings inside the church
Celts aren’t the only population haunting Alsace. Later, on the way to Obernai, I passed what I thought was a disused railbed. As you can see by the photo below, those crossing it need to be alert to the passage of the ghost trains that still use the route.