Sunday, May 20, 2012
After 4 days of leisure it is time to "hit the road again"!
Besancon is a lovely town as I have already mentioned. Today I went to the Museum of time, and the Musum of Beaux Arts, and enjoyed the sights at both. I was surprised to find that the Art Museum also had a huge collection of antiquities, especially things from ancient Egypt (three Mummies). There were paintigs by Rubens and Goya, and a delightful one by Jordain of 2 singers and a recorder player. Sadly though they didn't have a postcard of that particular one. There was a marble carving of a baby lying on a blanket, and it seemed so realistic I just wanted to reach out and stroke its cheek! One of the things I noticed with this museum was that the vast majority of art works were at head height, and there were, mostly, no restraints at all. I was quite surprised, as other places have had barriers to stop people getting too close, or put the paintings up much higher. There were 2 things that I loved about the Museum of Time. The first one (and this will come as no surprise to those who know me) was the sound of the clocks striking!. It was so nice walking around and hearing them strike - I felt quite at home! None of them were set properly, and so they were stiking at random times. The other thing that I enjoyed were the 8 giant tapestries that were in one room. They were so wonderful, telling the stories of conquests, crownings etc. I could see the expressions on the faces of some of them and they really seemed to be talking! Earlier in the day I met NZ Jaqui at the Cathedral. She is staying out of town tonight, but her hosts had brought her in to catch up with me for a while, which was very kind of them - a story I keep having to repeat, because so often both of us have met with kindess and generosity from the people of this country. I forgot to say in a blog from earlier about the sounds that I hear on the way. I got so carried away with telling you about the colours and smells! Though I prefer walking in the autumn because of the more stable weather, one of the big differences between spring and autumn is the bird life. I find that I am often woken by the dawn chorus, and my way is always accompanied by bird song. I don't have the knowledge to recognize the calls, but I enjoy it nonetheless. Mind you, I do recognize the pigeons, and I think that a cuckoo has accompanied me along the way on some days. The other sound that I love is the rippling of the streams and rivers as I pass. That, for an Australian is a novelty! In Besancon, and the big towns in this area, the buses are unique. They are often driving in semi-pedestrian areas and so they have to be quite careful that they don't knock anyone over! They have a lovely bell like sound that they ring as a warning to people. It is much easier on the ears than a beep of a horn! The sound that I enjoy most of all though, and sadly don't hear as much as I might have expected, is that of the church bells, and town hall clocks. The church clocks have a funny system here. They stike the hour, and then about 3 minutes later, just in case you missed it, they stike the hour again! They don't do this for the quarter and half hours though. I, of course, love singing in the churches too along the way, but again, compared to my last journey, many churches are not open and so I haven't been able to do this as much. The other thing that I forgot to tell you about was the trafic in Reims. There are many one way streets in that city, and the locals have figured out a way to get round that. They reverse up them which means the car is pointed in the right direction - even if it is going the wrong way. I even saw council vehicles doing this! I am off on the road tomorrow. Today I have bought some liner socks, new inner soles for my boots, and some surigcal pads and tape for the first aid kit. it is a short day and so I will see how I go. In 3 days time I will be crossing the border into Switzerland, and so I am expecting some Hills - and then the mountains of the Alps!