Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Day 40 No more walking Geneva/London/Cobble Hill

It is difficult to grasp that we won't be walking this morning. It seems like that was part of our life for so long. Having 10kg on your back can seem normal along with wind and rain. Now we are anxious to be home and have a roast beef dinner, peanut butter and our own bed. We are going sight seeing in Geneva today until our EasyJet flight to Gatwick in the pm. Our stay at the Marriot at Gatwick south was very good and it was only a 10 minute walk to the terminal. Air Transat's A330 AirBus was a great flight as we had heard that they could have problems but with the exception of getting away an hour late
everything went well. After a very long day we arrived home Thursday evening. We ran into Melanie on the MillBay ferry and she gave us a ride right to the house.Needless to say we are exhausted but happy to be home.

Day 38 Walking October 22 Croy

Madame had perhaps the best breakfast so far and that is saying a lot because we have had some good ones. Freshly squezzed orange juice along with ham, home baked bread, local cheeses, home made jams etc etc. The churches here are different as we leave Catholic France to Protestant Switzerland. The day was warm right from the start and we were in t-shirts and shorts all day. The temperature must have gone to at least 25c. We followed the track as laid out but got lost in one or two places where it wasn't clear. Every time we went around a bend it was another picture of serene Swiss life. We went by a farm and the farmer came out and asked us what we were doing and where we were going. When we explained we were Canadians walking the ViaFrancigena to Rome, he indicated that he was Jewish and pointed to the Israeli flag he had flying. He said that Canadians are friends of Israel and he wished us well. We walked on knowing that we had a place to sleep and the walk was quite easy.
Around noon we came to a village and asked a lady we met if there was anywhere to eat, she replied no but a few minutes later she appeared and asked us if we wanted something to drink. When we replied yes, she asked us to follow her and she took us into her yard and up to her patio. She brought out glasses and three kinds of drink. We declined her offer of cheese and bread but we had a nice conversation in English, with her. After walking through the woods we arrived inRomainmotier and had lunch in a restaurant. We had plat de jour of mashed potatoes and sausage along with a small and a grand beer. Afterwards we went over to the Abbey in town that has been there for 1500 years. We went into the reception area and were fell upon by German tourists who couldn't believe we were walking the ViaFrancigena. They showed us brochures about it and asked where we were from and our ages which was very different. I gave him my pack to pick up and he asked if there were rocks in it. After they took pictures of us they wished us well and left.
The Abbey must be one of the most tranquille and spiritual places we have ever been. Prayers were said for Derek and we were off along the river to find our bed in Croy. We walked along until we found some workers and they indicated the house to us. She is not a regular chambre de hote but is a few houses down from the regular one who was booked up. She speaks only German but showed us our room and the key for outside etc. Charlotte kept her company while i slept. As I sit in the window writing this Charlotte and I have opened a bottle of the local recommended red wine with local cheese listening to the cow bells clanging beneath us with the
river flowing by the house. Perhaps a better ending to this 40 day adventure could not have been written. Tomorrow is our last day to walk. Our stay tonight is with mme. Erica Baudois, 6 Chemin de la Foule, Croy, 0244531362
@ 40 Swiss franks each including breakfast. Madame made quite a thing about us locking up the house when we leave and later we looked around and she was nowhere to be seen. She could have been locking up the fox in the hen house as she has never seen us before.

Day 37 October 21 Les Echampes

As usual lately there was a last minute change in plans and Francis and Coby are going to walk with us part way for some exercise and to get a feel of the path. We saw a chamois(large deer that is protected ) on top of a rock outcrop. We walked along an old rail bed and eventually along an active rail bed with a restored train that runs during the tourist season and only once a week in the off season. About 11.30am they left to go back and we carried on to Hospitaux Neufs. We had a cold beer and fish dish with rice outside a restaurant with a very warm sun. We carried on through Jougne to the Chapelle St. Maurice one of Segeric's overnight spots with a seventh century crypt and down the road to chambre de hote in Les Echampes. We arrived at 3pm and shown our chalet with bedroom and common lounge, eating area. The price is 65e with petit de jeune and it is very nicely done like a ski chalet. Madame Petitquex has phoned and made arrangements for us to stay in Croy at a chambre de hote. The address here in Les Echampes is Les 4 Monts, 1 Rue Reservoir. wwwmaisondhotesdes4monts.com.
Madame has also asked another couple here if they would drive us to Jougne to eat dinner and they have agreed to take us there and bring us back as they are going anyway. Tonight at 7pm we met Patrick and Francois and we went into Jougne to the restaurant. We had a great steak dinner and Patrick insisted on paying for the caraf of white wine so our salad and dinner was 33e for a very good meal at the Post Restaurant. Patrick also let me in on tipping in restaurants and bars in France. It is not a big thing and the change from the bill or some small coin is sufficient in most cases. Patrick out of the blue tells us that he was in Canada at Portage La Praire and Edmonton in the winter when he was in the French Air Force training there. Another day went by where we were helped on more than one occasion by the French people. We are literally only 200 meters from the Swiss border.

Day 39 Walking October 23 Cossonay

Madame made a very nice breakfast for us and we were away by 8.30am.
The weather was quite different than yesterday when we were in t shirts and shorts. We had a heavy fog covering the valley with a coolness to it.The walking was relatively easy with not too much uphill. There were a few times when we were uncertain about some paths but the Swiss have good trail signs. We arrived in Cossonay about noon after walking in fog with only 50 's meters visibility. We phoned Francis and he agreed to meet us here at 2pm to take us to Geneva to stay at Coby's
house. We took Francis and Coby
out for dinner tonight and had a great meal. We are staying with them at Coby's house in Geneva.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Day 36 Walking October 20 Pontalier

We started our day with Francis again driving us to our last walking spot. This wasn't to be as we were going to say goodbye to Francis but he came down in the morning and said, why don't I drive you one more day and pick you up, so that was what we did. It was up the road from Oulan into the forested area. It was up a fairly steep grade and Francis parked the car and walked for 30 minutes with us up to the upper level and we said goodbye. We walked through Pontalier and had our phone loaded up with time before going into Switzerland. We walked for 6 or more hours including the walk up to the chateau and down the other side. The weather was above 25 degrees and it was shirts and shorts and easy walking on old rail beds etc. Francis has researched the area and his walks have been some of if not the very best we have done. There has been few roads and many interesting areas for walking. We arrived back at the house about 7.15pm and got supper ready as it was our turn to do do. Francis's partner Coby arrived from Geneva and we all enjoyed a great evening of food and good conversation.
Tomorrow we have a reservation for a chambre de hote nearly right on the Swiss border. It will be with full packs when we leave in the morning and no more picking us up to stay in Nans with Francis.We have been here four days now and it is getting very comfortable so it us time to move on as we only have three walking days left.

Day 35 Walking October 19 Ouhans

Today the sun shone brightly with temps above 20 degrees. We walked from Ornans with our jackets on but had them off in two hours. Our packs were lighter as Francis drove us to our last stop so that we could continue on today. We walked steadily as we knew that toward the end of the day we would be entering a canyon where we would walk to the start of the Loue river. It has more than one generating station on it. The walk through the valley was very scenic by being either on kne side of the river or the other. We entered the canyon about 1pm. There have been a number of warnings issued about the canyon route being very remote in case of any accidents etc. There were some tricky spots due to water running down the trail and the sheer drop down to the river but with our poles for support we had no difficulty. It might have been very different had it been raining and muddier. We phoned Francis when we emerged from the other end and he came and picked us up. He made a die vial dinner tonight with the local cheese, Mont Dor cheese melted in the oven with wine and then poured over boiled potatoes with a cold meat selection. Yes, another bottle of the local white wine. Tomorrow morning Francis has to park cars for a local event early in the morning and then he will drive us back to where he picked us up and we will continue on to
Pontalier tomorrow. Francis took the time today to put together maps etc for the next few days. He asked 30e for each day but we gave him 120e and were happy to do so.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Day 34 Walking October 18 Ornans

Today was such a great walking day. We started walking about 9.30am after Francis drove us back to our starting point in Levez. We walked Francis's route through to Ornans. There was no road walking and we went through the forests and rail lines with a temperature about 20 degreesC in shorts and shirts. We walked until about 1.30pm and Francis came and picked us up and showed us our route for tomorrow. We stopped and got grub for supper as Francus was going out for the evening.
Tomorrow we are again taking on a new route he has devised as well if we are up to it we will carry on through the canyons from Ornans to Ouhans.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Day 33 Walking October 17 Besancon etc

Woke up and looked out this morning to see no rain. We were eager to get going as we had 14 Kms into Besancon and navigating in the city is not too easy. With the use of both guide books we got up to the cathedral going through the centre if the city. We had a sit down lunch and then out the other side by 12.30pm. We climbed out of the valley for the next hour and a half. We had phoned Francis at 1pm to meet us at 2pm and he would pick us up and takes us to his home for the night. He is going to drop us off at where he picked us up so that we can carry on from there in the morning. We had met Francis on line and he asked if we wanted to stay at his home and he would act as guide to get us through this area into Switzerland with the least difficulty for us. He has researched the routes and has a good knowledge of the area. We had a great meal with Francis tonight and enjoyed the local white wine. We will be making a reservation for an Easy Jet flight out of Geneva for October 24 into London Gatwick. Francis says he could find us on route and drop us off there as his partner lives and works there. We will be walking a route tomorrow that Francis has drawn up along with his maps.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Day 32 Walking. October 16 Geneuille

We received our breakfast at 7am. Madame Olivares brought it up and asked if everything was okay. We left at 7.30am and found two roads leading to highway D474. We picked the one that wasn't marked because the other one was marked D364 and we needed D394. When we got to the main road we realized that the road we used was not the one so we went down the main road to where D364 was and it seemed to be the one. We presumed we had the right one with a guide book error entered. When we entered Oiselay the book said to stay on D5 through town and on to Bonnevent. We went for three Kms and it didn't look right. We happen to come across a lady walking towards us which in itself is unusual. We inquired about the town and she said we had to go back and take a different road. She walked three Kms back and took us through the town to D3 which put us back on track. Another of Charlottes angels. When we reached Montboillon the book said to take D194 but the right road was a D number marked Gezier but not D194. When you leave a town in thus area the next town is not shown on signs. In some areas it us but not here. Our 24 Kms again turned into 30 which we didn't want. Charlottes knee is bothering her considerably and we are trying to limit the hours walking. We arrived here in six hours with just a few minutes stop.
Our room was not ready and the lady pointed out that we aren't to arrive until 6pm. We have run into that before so we say we are walking and beau coup fatigue. She agreed to have the room by three pm so we went to the Mairie where it is warm, but closed, and asked if we could wait inside until our room is ready, and she agreed. The restaurant said that they don't make meals tonight so I don't know what we will do for food yet. Very France, closed but open later sometime, maybe, if not tomorrow.
Tomorrow we walk through Besancon, a few days from the Swiss border. Went up to the boulangerie to buy something for supper. I used my best French helped out by a well meaning customer who also directed me to where I could purchase vin rouge. When I got back and cut into the two items I had bought, it turned out they were both cakes. The wine is good.
We are staying at the chambre de hote
Rue de l'Abreuvoir in Geneuille. It is okay and at 66e including petit de jeune it is a lttle overpriced from what we have had but there was nothing else at this point in our walk. One thing I have noticed since coming to France is the number people smoking, both young and old. They are out on the sidewalks because I guess, they can't smoke inside.
Raining tonight hopefully not in the morning.

Day 31 Walking. Frasne Le Chateau

According to Charlotte it rained and stormed something fierce last night. Fortunately I slept through it. It doesn't appear to be raining right now. We reluctantly left our ideal quarters and at 7.20am made our way out of town. It was six kilometers to the next town and missed a turn prior so we had to go back 1 1/2 Kms to get back on track. It was a sunny day but clouded in the afternoon, with no rain. We arrived in Frasne Le Chateau about 1.30pm and found The Association of Saint Joseph
And Madame Olivares. We were brought into what I would describe as a staff eating area. We were given cafe and citron morange pie. I brought out my translator and found out that the six or so other people in the room were psychologists and that this organization administers to troubled youth who live here. The facility is large and very modern. The cost of a room was 23e and 8e each for meals, dinner and breakfast. We were told to come down to the staff room at 7pm and pick up our food on a tray and return to our room with it. Hopefully we understood correctly. We are nursing our blistered and calloused little toes to get them through another day. No wifi here. They are working on the water system in the village so the water was turned off until 8pm. We went downstairs and picked up our two trays of food. There was way more than we could eat with salad, roasted potatoes, baked cruisants with bacon and cheese plus dessert.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Day 30 October 14 Dampiere - sur - Salon

Rained in the night, which wasn't unexpected. We had dinner downstairs in the hotel. We both ordered the beef steak at 14e. It was thin and a little tough but it was nicely presented with Veg. We had our breakfast in the room since the super market was so close last night we bought juice, yogurt etc. and kept them out the window to keep them cool. This should be a short day since it shows only 17 Kms, but one never knows until you walk it. After many little towns every couple of Kms we arrived in Dampiere. The first person I asked for directions was a lady walking her Westy. She immediately walked us a block down the street to our chambre de hote. Our chambre de hote is La Tour des Moines quoted $50e including petit de jeune. After we had been shown around I asked about groceries and we had 15 minutes to get there, beaucoup rapido down to the super marche 5 minutes away. We returned with pasta, hamburger and wine etc. It is great to see such a selection of wines for sale in a grocery store at such reasonable prices and we saw no youth laying around drinking wine to excess. We are the only ones in this place and it is literally a house to ourselves.
He showed us how to work the stove and where the dishes are. It had rained on the way here so the shoes are newspapers and the socks drying. An afternoon nap was in order as it is still steady rain. I asked Charlotte if she had any regrets about coming and she said, no, but she will have no regrets when it's over either. Opened bottle of 07 vin rouge, looking good. We turned on the rad in the cuisine and cooked our pasta and hamburger with sauce. We cleaned it up along with the wine. Tomorrow we have 24 Kms to Frasne Le Chateau.
Hopefully this wind and rain have died down by then. The odd thing is this next place I emailed in French and she emailed back in English. I think this walk would be entirely different if we were French speaking but the fact that we aren't has not been a problem. There still has not been a day go by when someone has not helped us in someway.

Day 29 Walking October 13 Champlitte

We woke up to a clear day and not too cold. Stopped at the boulangerie for a few sausage pies for the road. It turned out to be a beautiful sunny day and nothing like the forecast. The country is wooded with some sugar beet fields and some livestock. The 24 Kms turned into 28kms as the guide book was incorrect. We walked six hours straight and arrived at 1.30pm. We are staying at the Hotel DonJon and it is not too bad for 46e not including petit de jeune.
Went to the tourist office and the young lady discovered that our phone had run out of money so we went to the tabac and loaded another 15e which is good for 20 days. The tourist office made a booking for us in Geneuille at a chambre de hote. The food in the hotel is supposed to be good so we will have dinner downstairs. Charlotte's knee held up okay today although it is very stiff now. The T 3's seem to be working so we will take each day at a time.