As one walks this journey all senses are assaulted. The sights are many and varied. There was, for a few days, the glaring white Roman Road. While on that section there was a constant change in the feel of the air as the wind blew more or less strongly depending on whether it was the top or bottom of a little hillock. Sometimes it was a gentle breeze, cooling me as I walked, but at other times the only way to cope was to tilt the brim of my hat down, bow my head into the wind, and the sun glare, and just plod on!
Then there are the constant changes in colour that assault the senses as I walk through the different areas. As well as being champagne country this is also colza country (Canola in Australia), and this alternates, with it's brilliant yellow, with the fields that have been planted with other crops. The paddocks vary from the brown of ready to be, or just freshly planted, to the pale green of crops that are just starting to shoot. Then there are the crops that have got a full seed head, but not yet dry, which are a paler green than the rich green of the partly grown crops. Some of the fileds have just a green shimmer on them as the crops start to grow. The vineyards are different again, as they are only just starting to shoot. The butts of the vines are obviously very old, but they have been pruned very low, and it is easy to see the ground, sometimes covered in mulch, but sometimes quite stony, and usually a white stone.
That covers the fields, but in the towns the sights are different again. When I went through Saint-Quentin the pink flowering cherries were in full bloom, and the wind that day had knocked petals to the ground which lay so thick that it looked as if a cartload of pink confetti had been tipped over everything within reach including the cars parked beneath the trees!
Then there are the plane trees. In previous years I have always walked from mid summer to early autumn. The plane trees then provide a rich dense shade. But even this late in the season they have yet to get their leaves, though they are starting to shoot. The custom in the towns is to pollard the trees - that is to heavily prune them - so that at present they look like a knarled and twisted arthritic fist, with mis-shapen knuckles trying to make a power fist in the air!
For many years at home I have driven past the Canola fields on my way to somewhere else, but I have never been aware of the smell of it. It has a really strong smell, and it is constantly assaulting the nostrils as one walks past the fields. then there are the other smells. The smell, for exammple, of the rotting compost heaps where farmers have piled straw in great piles on the side of the road, for easy access later.
But the smells that, for me, typify France, are the smells of the Boulengeries, and of the food cooking in the homes as I walk past! This is a village or town smell, and every village that has a bakery has a distinct smell - a delicious one I might add, and one that sets the digestive juices going!
I am in Langres at present, resting my right foot this time, and I had planned to put some photos on, but yet again the only computer I have access to won't allow me to - maybe next time! Langres is fascinating town - ancient - but I will tell you more about that next time.