Hi everyone. This will be a short post because today was kind of a slog with little to see. We knocked out about 17.4miles though.
I had trouble getting up this morning, not because I didn’t sleep well, but because I took a Benadryl before bedtime since our host had a few cats. So I was unusually slow in getting ready.
But our host had a breakfast of bread, butter and homemade jam ready for us with a bowl of coffee each. Yea, it seems to be a thing here in France to serve coffee in a medium size bowl. Hey, I’m not complaining, everyone knows I’m good for a nice size bowl of coffee. In fact I might start using a bowl when I get home.
We said our goodbyes and promptly left the beautiful vineyards for the flatter countryside with the typical corn and wheat fields. It was sad to come back to this, but we are refreshed from our hills and woodland walks.
When we were preparing for this trip, one word of caution was repeated by those who’d travelled before us. “France goes on vacation in August”. Honestly it hasn’t been a problem until today. We’d been looking for a morning visit to a patisserie for our eclair fix, but every town seemed to be closed. Bakeries – closed; Bars – closed; Cafes and Supermarkets – non-existent or closed.
Several had signs in the windows saying some version of “We’ve gone on vacation – see ya in three weeks”. Knowing how much local stores mean to a community and how much people rely on them – particularly the elderly – I wondered how they managed.
When we hit Conde sur la Marne, we re-joined the VF and travelled alongside the Canal Lateral a la Marne. Fifteen miles later our day ended. Well, that’s really pretty true. Walking along a canal is just like walking on a treadmill except that the scenery doesn’t change as much.
The only detour that the VF took was through Vraux and that ended up being a bad idea. I’ve mentioned before our skirmishes with mosquitoes. The recent wet weather has made the perfect stew for them.
Well, those skirmishes turned into all out war today. Normally the repellent has done a good job of keeping the away. Today’s battalions of mosquitoes seemed to feed off the stuff. We returned to the canal as soon as we could, pausing only briefly on a bridge over the canal that for some reason had enough of a breeze that the flying biters couldn’t catch our scent.
Here we had our lunch. It was a repeat of yesterday, sans the avocado, demonstrating how short on supplies we’d be become. In fact afer lunch, we had only a tiny wedge of fake cheese remaining. We REALLY needed to find an open store.
Two short things to end our day.
1). We arrived at a supermarket that was within sight of our hotel for the night. We did our provisioning using a shopping cart into which we promptly offloaded our backpacks. At the checkout, the clerk looked at us oddly and rang up her manager. They had us open and inspect our rucksacks before we could leave. I suppose they felt we may have pilfered an extra box of cookies somewhere.
2) Our “hotel” for the night is a budget one. In fact, to say it is a hotel room is a gross exaggeration. It is more like a closet with a shower, toilet, and sink. The latter three are in such close proximity that you could literally (if one were so inclined) shower, pee, and brush your teeth in the proper place simultaneously. If that room is more than a square meter in size I’d be surprised.
But hey, we are safe, we are healthy and we are happy. What more is needed?