Dreiländereck – walk across 3 countries in 10 minutes

A friend of mine turned 40 recently and for his birthday he wanted to fly into Basel, head to the Black Forest to watch some snowboarding cross, and then watch FC Freiburg in a Bundesliga game. The perfect opportunity to walk from one country, into another, into another then!

The Dreiländereck monument on Swiss soil. Not much to do there but it was a dreary day

The Dreiländereck monument on Swiss soil. Not much to do there but it was a dreary day

Dreiländereck (also spelt Dreilaendereck) is a tripoint just outside of Basel where France, Germany and Switzerland’s borders all meet. This tripoint is one of the only ones within a major city (Basel) and an iron pylon monument shaped like a rocket celebrates the fact … even though the actual tripoint is 150m NW of it in the middle of the River Rhine (the Dreiländereck scuplture is therefore 150m to the SE on Swiss soil). Ever the stickler for detail I wanted to walk across the two actual borders. I had my passport with me as I’d just arrived from the airport but never needed to show it once as everything’s open for you to walk “to and fro” as you please.

In total from my starting point in France, across the bridge into Germany and then down into Switzerland it’s a 9 minute, 700m walk. From the French starting point to the actual Dreiländereck monument it’s a 32 minutes and 2.6km walk.

Walking from France into Germany into Switzerland

Walking from France into Germany into Switzerland

 

To get there you will most likely arrive from Basel-Freiburg airport. Ask for a taxi outside to the ‘Passerelle des Trois Pays bridge’ (Dreiländereck bridge), or Huningen on the French side of the river, or just point on Google Maps on your phone like I did. The taxi cost from the airport was approximately €12.50 and was a 10 minutes drive. Exiting the airport from the French side “may” be cheaper unless both the French and Swiss sides share the same taxi rank?

The Dreiländereck Bridge outside the La Huninguoise bar in French Huningue

The Dreiländereck Bridge outside the La Huninguoise bar in French Huningue

Once you get dropped off you walk across the bridge from France (Huningen) into Germany (Friedlingen) with the actual border on the floor being unmarked (instead there’s a plaque on the railings in the middle of the bridge). The ideal time to post a social media status of “I’m in France”, followed by one 15 seconds later “I’m in Germany”!” I walked to and fro a few times before realising It was probably a bit strange-looking, especially as I still had my wheelie case hand luggage with me.

Walking across the Dreiländereck Bridge from France into Germany

Walking across the Dreiländereck Bridge from France into Germany

 

rhine-from-the-german-french-border

On the border between France and Germany looking out over The Rhine. France right, Switzerland left

From there walk down the bridge into Germany and you’ll see a bench to match the one on the French side with “Gemeinsam über Grenzen wachsen” written on the side (Grow together across borders). Quite apt in the current times what with the USA/Mexico situation.

“Gemeinsam uber Grenzen wachsen” – grow together over borders

From the foot of the bridge I walked onto German soil, past the Rheincenter shopping centre before turning right at the roundabout into Zollstraße. There, 150 m along near the German/Swiss border is a tram stop which looks like it’s a border control but is actually just a ticket booth for the tram. The border line is level with the centre of the spaceship-like building in the middle of the road marked with a 10cm wide line of stones in the ground.

Approaching the German/Swiss border level with those red/white barriers

Approaching the German/Swiss border level with those red/white barriers

 

The Dreiländereck monument on the left and bridge separating France and Germany on the right

The Dreiländereck monument on the left and bridge separating France and Germany on the right

 

Getting closer! 500m to go to the monument

Getting closer! 500m to go to the monument

I chose to walk along the main road, across the bridge into Switzerland, but according to Google Maps there is a slightly shorter footpath just across the Swiss border (taking 1.5km instead of 1.8km to the Dreiländereck monument). However up on the bridge it’s a nicer/safer walk and you get a good view of the Dreiländereck that you’re heading towards, which is on a long spit of land, jutting out along an industrial road. A scenic route it is certainly not, but it’s a destination to aim for so you can least say you’ve been there.

The monument has the 3 flags on its side but there’s little to actually do when you get there and little to read. For me walking across the borders was the enjoyable and novelty part, especially walking over the bridge from France into Germany. On a sunny, Summer’s day I’m sure it’s a lot nicer and you could sit by the river watching the world go by, with the nearby restaurants most likely being fully open. I imagine there wil be some pleasure boat rides too? Maybe you can boat from Germany into Switzerland instead 🙂

The Dreiländereck monument on a dreary February afternoon

The Dreiländereck monument on a dreary February afternoon

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14 questions to ask a 871 marathon runner

I know somebody who’s run 871 marathons (as of 16th February 2017) and that person’s my dad Roger. He’s been doing this week in, week out since the mid 80s, so I’ve grown up thinking that running a marathon most weekends is a perfectly normal thing for a dad to do; no different to other fathers playing a round of golf every Sunday morning. However I’m assuming a lot of people might suggest running 1 marathon, let alone 871 is actually a completely ABNORMAL thing to be doing! 🙂

Marathon runner Roger Biggs

Marathon runner Roger Biggs celebrating his 800th marathin in Pisa

My friend Virginia wrote a post about inspiring individuals back in 2015, asking him some questions on his achievements so I wanted to ask him 14 different questions this time round:

  1. Favourite marathon out of all the ones you’ve done and why?
    That’s a hard one, but how about my best marathon trip, which was Tokyo and Sasayama marathons, plus the bullet train & Hiroshima.

    Sasayama Marathon 2010

    Sasayama Marathon 2010. Source.

  2. Favourite marathon course and why?
    London takes some beating!
  3. Which marathon has so far eluded you? And why?
    Nunavut. It’s the newest of the Canadian Territories. It’s rather expensive, but I hope to complete the 13 Canadian Provinces in 2018. Better start saving!

    Runners finishing the Nunavut Marathon. Source: http://northwestpassage2011.blogspot.co.uk

    Runners finishing the Nunavut Marathon. Source.

  4. Quirkiest medal? Which marathon?
    The Donegal Quadrathon. 4 medals that fix together.

    The four medals of the Quadrathon marathons. Image from http://www.extremenorthevents.com/quadrathon-4-half-full-marathons/

    The four medals of the Quadrathon marathons. Source.

  5. What do you do with all your marathon medals?
    Put them in boxes. Would be nice to find time to display some of them.
  6. Top “newbie” marathon runner tip?
    GELS!
  7. Top “long-timer” marathon runner tip?
    Don’t ignore the injuries.
  8. What do you still forget to do, or do wrong?
    Stretching.
  9. How old was the youngest/oldest person to join the ‘100 Marathon Club’?
    Around 23 & 65.
  10. Who’s run the most marathons and how many?
    A German has claimed over 2,000, I think he’s approaching 2,500. The highest verified from the UK is Brian Mills with 1,250 (as of February 2017).

    UK's Brian Mills has run 1,250 marathons

    UK’s Brian Mills has run 1,250 marathons. Source.

  11. How many have you done now?
    871 including “ultras”.
  12. What’s actually your favourite race distance and why?
    Based on my times, I would say Half Marathon. I ran 1:21, but never beat 3hrs for a marathon.
  13. Why do you do all these marathons? The travelling aspect?
    I like to go to as many places as possible. Running different Countries/States/Counties is what it’s all about. If you have been there you have an opinion of the place.
  14. What do you get from running a city that you don’t get from normal sightseeing?
    Atmosphere!

So some questions I’d been wanting to ask him for a while 🙂

What questions would you want to ask?

In Baton Rouge for the Louisiana Marathon completing his 869th marathon

In Baton Rouge for the Louisiana Marathon completing his 869th marathon