Saturday, May 12, 2012

Straight Roads, oh for a bend!

Since leaving Reims there have been mainly straight roads, with the odd twist
as I meandered through the vines in the Champagne country.  Not that I know
anything about champagne, but I did recognize and take a photo of a Bolinger
sign as I meandered past.

This day was a terrible day - not because of the country, which was lovely,
but because nothing was open and it wasn't till two days later I dicovered
why.  As I walked along the canal at a place called St Leonard, I could hear
a marching band somewhere, and I kept hearing it peridodically for quite a
while.  As it turns out, the reason would have been because it was the day
that Reims marked the signing of the Armistice, and this was the reason for
nothing being open - it was a public holiday!  Needless to say by the end of
the day I was ravenous as I had expected to find bakeries open in almost
every town I went through, but no joy.  Added to this the town that I had
decided to stop in had a closed Chambre d'Hote (a B & B) and a closed hotel.
I was summoned into a cafe where three older women were playing Bridge and
one of them took me on.  Mind you - she did quite nicely - €10 for the bed,
and €10 for the food.

Having walked this day for around 10 kms along the canal, I was prepared the
next day for the 20 kms of canal towpath the whole way into Chalons.  What a
lovely town - beautiful buildings and very friendly people.

The next day I had decided I would try to walk as little as possible.  What a
joke!  Firstly I caught the bus, so I thought to a suburb on the outskirts
of the town, only to realise half way through the journey that we were on our
way back again!  I got off quickly, but only saved myself one stop!  I then
decided that I would walk to the best road to hitch to the tiny little town
where I was staying - the only way to get there as there was no bus or train.
On the way I met another pilgrim - she knew who I was  "Are you Janet?" -
she had seen my name in Reims!  Jaqui is a New Zealander and was very please
to see a close "cousin"!  We walked together till I turned off on to another
road to hitch.  Got a ride to the next village almost immediately, but then,
because it was lunch time, I  waited nearly 2 hours for the next ride. 
Monsiuer was very helpful - took me right out of his way to the start of the
Ancien Voie Romain!  I had nothing for it but to walk until I found a road
that intersected the path.  Striaght as a dye, white gravel, no shade - get
the picture?

Anyway another Monsieur stopped and took me all the way to his place and then
passed me over to his wife who took me the rest of the way!  She insisted on
checking that she was dropping me off at the right place too!  Things were,
in the end, really with me that day.

Today has been another day of Roman Roads, and getting lost!  I was saved by
a very kind man who picked me up and dropped me off in the right place. 
Tonight I am in my first pilgrim gite, and as of an hour ago I think I am
there alone!  

I think this is the end of the straight roads.  They are nice for a bit, but
let me tell you - the novetly soon wears off and you start longing for a bend
so that you can wonder what is around the corner.  I focus on the sounds
around me - the bird calls, and even a swarm of bees today!  I moved real
quick when I heard them!  

Not sure when I will be able to post again, and hopefully next ime I can post
some photos of these straight paths!  

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