When we took our first step outside of the presbytery, it was quite cool with a cold wind blowing in our faces. I was happy to have on my long sleeve shirt. The fact that it is cold usually makes us walk faster. But this morning we were moving in slow motion. Sometimes you have a day where your shoes seem to be made of lead.
Bruno our host last evening was correct about the route today being steep and then steeper yet again. Oh my goodness, he was not exaggerating at all. The climb got our blood flowing but did not help us speed up any.
At the top we were treated to “a view” of sorts. See the compilation video.
The path was packing another surprise for us too this morning. We discovered pile after pile of logs lining the path.
These piles were at least 20 feet high. The best part was the logs had been carefully placed on both sides of the path creating impenetrable wall right on the edge of the path. Because the piles of logs were clearly created by heavy equipment the trail was a mess of ruts and mud with no way around.
Then it got worse. Those deep ruts hold water… voila you have a big muddy mess. At one point, all that was left was an inch wide foothold. At this point we were basically bouldering using the logs as handholds instead of rock. I never imagined that my bouldering skills would be needed on the VF.
After emerging from the woods we came out into more vineyards overlooking the village of Baroville. This was one of those places that you could really see how much the terrain had changed in just a few days. Ahead were clearly rolling hills and even some mountains behind them. Allison and I took guesses as to which of the hills we’d eventually have to climb. But for now we had a short and pleasant walk down hill into the village.
Farther along we came to Clairvaux Abbey. It is worth visiting if you have time and plan ahead. Unfortunately we did not factor the time it would take. We spent about an hour walking around the existing walls and learning about the Abbey’s history. It was built by the Cistercians and at one time had 1000 monks living there in strict silence. For all those history buffs out there, it is worth the research. I should probably mention that there is a museum that gives tours but only in French and they are 2-1/2hrs long. Also…part of the grounds is an active prison. You can thank Napoleon for that. I actually took a bit of video and pictures there – but it wasn’t very interesting – its included in the compilation.
I think the Fig Newton like cookies we had with lunch increased our speed in the afternoon. We covered the remaining 11km in just over 2 hours. We are definitely buying more fig-filled cookies.
The descent into Cirfontaines En Azois was beautiful with rolling hills. Our hosts today are Miriam and Alain. They are delightful! We spent a couple of hours chatting in French with the help of google translate a few times. Mark was in heaven because they actually enjoyed his discussions about his work in the airline industry. Alain was particularly interested and amazed with the Insta360 camera. I don’t blame him. It still amazes Mark too.
Dinner was again amazing. We had a pate starter, ham & greens casserole, cheese and an apple pie …..and wine of course. Miriam and Alain gave us hours of laughs as we conversed in Franglish with lots of help from Dr Google. They are so kind and patient.