Monday, May 21, 2012

Yesterday started off a pleasant summer's day, though quite humid when climbing hills, and ended with a huge thunderstorm.  At 5.00 it was quite dark even though the sun would not be setting for another 3 hours or more!   
The first climb, on leaving Besancon!

My feet held up well yesterday as I walked up and down, but the last few kilometres on the hard road surface finished them.  One dear lady saw me walking, turned her car around and came back to give me a lift - she thought that things were "dificile" for me!  How is that for kindness!  She then drove me to the little town of Ornans, where the only accomodation I could find was a three star hotel, despite the fact that Madame insited on driving around the entire town checking that there was not another one open!  Even the hotel owner finds it strange that on the one day when tourists are out in force the Office of Tourism, is shut and therefore unable to give advice.

Yesterday's journey took me thorugh some pleasant countryside, with some wonderful views looking back at Besancon, and through yet more forests.  I think this part of France must be the lungs of the country there are forests everywhere.
Looking back over Besancon, with the Citadelle on the right.

Ornans is, to use my rescuer's phrase a "très, très, beaux village"!  It is right on the River Loue, and the houses sit right on the edge of the river, which is a reasonably fast flowing and wide one.  There are numerous bridges crossing the river - some car and some only foot bridges. The main road is very narrow with the footpath only about a foot wide in several places! So narrow that cars, truck, buses etc are continually stopping to allow vehicles to get through!

Houses on the rivers edge at Ornans

More chimney pots!

Because of the fragile state of my feet, I decided that with the rain of last night, and the projected downpours over the next couple of days, that I would be foolish to try and walk today.  The path would have been either very muddy and slippery, or it was on the busy main road - and neither would have done my feet any good.  Instead I caught the bus to Pontarlier, where I am booked into a single room in the Auberge Jeunesse (youth hostel).  The bus trip more or less followed the path, and I don't know which would have made me more nervous, as the driver swung the bus round corners and speeded up on the straight!  Some of the corners were so tight that he held the horn down for quite a few seconds as he went round them.  It was a beautiful road nonetheless, looking at the river as it rushed over the weirs in the villages, going through villages that clung to the hillside, and seeing the mist roll down the clefts in the cliffs, almost like a waterfall.  Finally the road broadened out from the river valley and the approach into Pontarlier was through forest and pastureland.  Pontarlier is an attractive town, the home of Absynthe - not that I will be trying any!  Its altitude is 840 metres.
The entrance to "centre ville"Pontarlier.

I keep forgetting to tell you about the weather.  Yes, the summer has arrived - on some days, but there are still days when it is quite cold.  Today it is only 11°, and last week in Besancon I had to get out my down jacket again!  There are downpours expected over the next 2 days, but then it is meant to fine up!

Tomorrow  ..........  Switzerland, and only 18kms for the next 2 days so the feet should be fine!


  1. What - not going to have just one sip of absynthe! I guarantee that you won't need to clean your teeth for a week.
    Love your photos, and it sounds like you're going through some wonderful countryside at the moment. Bit concerned about those feet, though.

    We leave on Monday June 4th and won't be back until mid-September. Can't wait - after lots of work, dreary weather and a bout of pneumonia, sunny Queensland is looking good.

    Take care!

    Love from Chris and Bob

  2. Hi Janet

    Just caught up with your blog. Sounds and looks amazing. We got a postcard from you today. Love the idea of a zoo in a citadel! Thanks for the use of your car. It was fantastic. Greatly appreciated it.

    love from Nicci and co xxxx