High enjoyment always begins with hard renunciation, otherwise it would not be one at all, but only an irrelevant matter of course without the charm of the special.

We came to Saarland for gourmet cycling, start our tour in Saarbrücken and practice asceticism first.

On the left we leave Klaus Erfort, a pillar saint of German high cuisine, who held three Michelin stars in his "guest house" for thirteen years, on the right his student Silio Del Fabro, who is just assuming the legacy of his master with a virtuoso hand in the "Esplanade". .

Instead of feasting there, we cycle off with an empty stomach and wistful memories, sixty kilometers along the Saar to Mettlach, our first stage destination - the best conditions for enjoyment.

Ruined city of the industrial age

Jakob Strobel and Serra

deputy head of the feature section.

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However, the first few kilometers are not a feast for the eyes and ears, because there is no absolution for the sins of the German motorist nation.

First the A 620, then the A 8, memorials to the enshrined spirit of free travel for free citizens, are our faithful companions. Thanks to their exit signs, we can always effortlessly determine our current position and sometimes even curve thoughtfully over the Saar Cycle path to give us shade in the sweltering heat - our dialogue with a federal motorway has never been so intimate.

After a few kilometers, the right bank of the river is no longer inferior to the left bank and also presents us with evidence of human creativity: like an iron mountain range, the Völklingen Ironworks World Heritage Site grows into the sky, a tangle of Laocoon pipes,

futuristic steel skeleton sculptures and decaying production lines with dead windows that Giorgio de Chirico seems to have metaphysically painted on the banks of the Saar.

Some of the miles of factory buildings are still operated by Saarstahl, and yet this monumental ironworks gives us the feeling of contemplating nineteenth-century archaeology, a ruined city of the industrial age, surrounded by dense forests that we even believe for a moment, the pyramids to become aware of the Maya in Yucatán.

Behind the Völklingen Ironworks, the Saar suddenly becomes a bucolic idyll.

Herons and ducks splash about in the river, which flows with the imperturbable calm of a true Saarlander.

Plane trees, beeches and weeping willows accompany us, blackberry bushes and man-high reeds line the banks, where every now and then an angler sits stoically like a sculpture of himself.

Otherwise there is hardly anyone to be seen, the shore belongs entirely to nature and the river almost exclusively to a handful of sports boats and a pleasure boat with the cheerful name "Frohsina", which, however, gives the impression of not having indulged in cheerfulness for a long time.