A sporting and human adventure
Jérome Zindy, committed traveler crossed Alsace aboard his solar electric bike meet the Alsatian producers and artisans. In this article, he tells you about his adventure sporty and human, and how our destination seduced her!
In the Pays de Haguenau, he cycled 42 km, to cross our Exception® forest and go to meet Pierre, potter in Soufflenheim at the Pottery Siegfried Burger.
Jerome has the floor!
This morning I'm leaving for the discovery of Haguenau under a golden sun! This "small-big city", as its own inhabitants describes it, is a city on a human scale. Haguenau is distinguished not only by its heritage and historical buildings, but also by its museums.
The Baggage Museum encourages travel while Historical Museums and Alsatian plunge us into another era. Of the Fisherman's Tower which was used to close the access to the city, I go to the forest. Because Haguenau is also known for this natural paradise, recognized as an Exceptional Forest®. In 10 minutes, I reach the Hundshof wash house, built in the 19th century on the edge of the woods. I'm running at a good pace on the cycle paths : it must be said that this step is relatively flat.
This forest is the pride of Haguenau, and rightly so. Not only is it the 6th largest plain forest in France, but it is also a so-called undivided forest, which belongs as much to the state as to the city of Haguenau. A particular property status that we owe to an ordinance of Louis XIV taken at the end of the 17th century.
I am surprised to see huge Scots pines populate the forest : they are even present, since they cover a third of the surface of the massif. These Haguenau pines are also the only ones to flourish in the plain. I finally arrive in the heart of the forest to discover the Great Oak. Emblem of the forest, this piece of trunk is a vestige of the tree struck down in 1913. With its 2,4 m in diameter and 25 meters high, the tree was already known to everyone. Today, it is also the meeting point to meet and enjoy the 200 km of marked trails.
The Meeting with Peter
I can't believe all these kilometers that I was able to do without ever leave the forest ! Here I am at Soufflenheim, for my meeting of the day. Haguenau is a land of nature, but also potters.
The first potters settled in the region in the 1th century and reached their peak in the 16th! Globalization puts an end to many pottery, but several resist, especially in Betschdorf and Soufflenheim. It is precisely in Soufflenheim that I have an appointment with Pierre Siegfried-Burger.
For 6 generations, the family business has produced all kinds of pottery, ranging from terrines, baeckeoffes to kouglof dishes, but also more modern dishes to meet the demands of customers and starred restaurants. Today, pottery employs around fifteen highly qualified people: this thousand-year-old know-how requires a long apprenticeship. It is necessary 3 years of training minimum but ten years to be a good potter.
There are many techniques: of course you have to master the turning, but also pressing, enamelling, decorating, baking, etc. With Anne-Sophie, one of the potters, I try my hand at filming with the aim of making a bowl. Very quickly, I realize that my pottery will be far from looking like a bowl. I follow his advice carefully and try to be precise in my gestures, but the slightest misstep is not forgiving, and circular pottery quickly gets out of hand.
Further, I discover the decoration : with precise and rapid gestures, Anne-Sophie and her colleague decorate typical Alsatian dishes by hand. In a few seconds, they draw a flower or a stork. I am impressed by the speed and precision of the gestures. For Pierre, his path as a potter was clear. Already young, pottery is his playground: he rides a bicycle in the workshops.
Pottery is produced from natural material, like clay. For Pierre, it is a good way to have durable, solid, natural dishes but also whose material can be reused, either in asphalt mixes, or crushed to be reused in part in the manufacture of new pottery. Pierre keeps this millennial know-how, I feel the passionate, who also wants to breathe new life into his pottery: with a designer, he created a vermicompost bin which can be totally integrated into smaller surfaces. 50% of our waste is organic. Thanks to the vermicompost bin, we can therefore reduce the size and weight of our garbage cans, and reduce the passage of very energy-consuming garbage trucks. This vermicompost bin being itself in natural matter, it will not itself become waste. All is said !