Friday, May 18, 2012

In Besacnon, and on yet more R and R.

After leaving Brienne le Chateau, I got to Bar sur Aube, a delightful little town, made even more delightful by the wonderful people in it.  I went to the Presbytere to get my pilgrim stamp and met Armelle, who kindly took me in hand.  She organized for me to sleep in the Presbytere, right next door to the church, and there I had my own room, with access to the bathroom facilities.

Because my feet were still far from well Armelle offered to drive me the next day to help me.  It was organised that she would drive me to the town of Langres where I would spend 2 nights, in the hope that my feet would improve, which I thought they did.  I went to the Mass and there I saw Jaqui, the NZ pilgrim, who had just arrived.  Together we met Monique who invited us, through Armelle, to a wonderful lunch at her home.  It was a delightful afternoon with much talk and laughter, though English was not the common language.

The heritage gate to the Presbytere, where I stayed.

Langres is the most lovely town, again like Bar sur Aube with amazingly friendly and helpful people. It is a town with narrow, winding streets and little passages connecting the streets.  It is built on a hill and still has most of its ramparts and towers in place.  The streets are cobbled and hard to walk on with dodgy feet though.  Armelle organized for me to sleep in the Presbytere for 2 nights.  This was special as usually pilgrims are only allowed to stay in a place for one night.  My bed was a mattress on the floor in a catechism classroom, with access across the passage to the toilets, but no shower.  However the priest was very kind and let me have a shower in his own private bathroom one night, for which I was very grateful. Armelle and her friend Anne-Sophie, who came along for the ride, were very excited because the priest was young - a novelty apparently.

Armelle and I standing on the ramparts of Langres.

One of the narrow streets of Langres.

The sign at the gite I stayed in at Champlitte

After leaving Langres, I thought my feet were pretty good, but they deterioarated as the day wore on and so I organized, when I got to Champlitte, to skip a few days and catch a bus to Besancon.  The good thing about that is that I have had a really good look around, and a rest, but the sad thing is that I did not get to see a few of the things that I was really looking forward too.  Oh well, you win some, you loose some.

Besancon is a clean city, by which I mean the buildings are very clean.  I would have used inverted comms here, but can not figure out how to get them on this machine.  The stone that is characteristic of this region is a yellow stone whith a blue metal thread through it, and so some of the buildings are creamy in colour, and other are more blue.  My guide book describes it as ochre, but I would not go that far, not Australian ochre anyway.  It also means that the buildings, on the outside are quite light in appearance.  However, that does not apply to the interior of the churches.  I have found that the big churches here are quite dark inside, not helped by the large paintings and so on inside them either.  

Yesterday I went for a boat ride on the River Doubs, which has a big horshoe bend in it virtually making the city and island.  I met a delightful young man who told me a few stories about the town.  He told me that the Lumiere brothers, early film makers, were from this city and that  their first film was about a gardener who could not work out why his hose was not working.  there are statues in one place depicting this movie, and there are a couple of  photos below to show you.  The hose actually squits every few minutes, and gives him a wet face - just like in the movie.

The reason that the hose is not working is that cheeky scamp on the right has his foot on the hose.  

The other thing that has fascinated me here and I must say that I have not noticed elsewhere is the chimneys.  The skyline has a wonderful array of different chimneys, and in particular chimney pots. 

I think I will stay here until Sunday, as Jaqui is quite keen to have a companion to go over the alps with, and she is a day or so behind me.  That will enable my feet to get properly better.  I must say having a companion on that part of the road is quite qppeqling, as the other day there was snow down to 800 metres.  

The weather was hot last week, but I have had to get the down jacket out again this week.  Here I was having thoughts of sending it home, but that will not be happening for a while.   

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