“No man is brave that has never walked a hundred miles. If you want to know the truth of who you are, walk until not a person knows your name. Travel is the great leveler, the great teacher, bitter as medicine, crueler than mirror glass. A long stretch of road will teach you more about yourself than a hundred years of quiet introspection.”
Patrick Rothfuss A Wise Man’s Fear
I love the quote above sent to me by a follower. It is so very true. Today was a difficult one physically and a great joy emotionally and spiritually.
Morning update Day39
First off, due to some shopping detours and general sidetracks we clocked in 22mi. Additionally the hills really kicked in today (1330ft elevation). That’s not a ton of climbing but with the distance combined and the fact that we’ve only recently had any consistent daily elevation gains, we are sore and achey.
The gite we stayed in last night was amazing. The actually lodging was perfect and clean and had everything we wanted. But the family included us in predinner drinks and a home cooked meal. The conversation flowed in French and English. Our hosts daughter in law speaks fluent English and she was so helpful. The entire family made us feel at home.
This morning Mark cooked breakfast in our accommodation and we were able to begin walking early. Of course our walking began with a climb which was to repeated just a few times over the course of our day. We both love and dread mountains. The love comes when the scenery is always changing and the views are inspirational. The dread comes from the fact we have not had to climb mountains, and all of a sudden we must develop our cardio and mountain climbing muscles.
Several of the villages we walked through today had village fountains and old public laundry buildings in the town center. Before washing machines in every home, these served as public laundry areas. I can imagine them as a center of activity only two generations ago. They are always decorated with flowers and are charming. Many of these are feed by natural springs.
We ate lunch at a beautiful spot along the trail near a little lake. It was ideal. There was a new picnic table. While eating our assortments of salads, we watched ducks teaching their young how to fly, frogs pretending to be plants in order to catch flies, and just enjoying the sun and cool temperatures.
While we were packing up, three other hikers walked up. It turns out that they are also waking the VF to Rome. The first pilgrims we have encountered!!! We are so excited.
The rest of the day was spent climbing and descending ever steeper hills. The 19mi day was lengthened by about a mile due to a couple mis-turns. These happen occasionally but having GPS made it easy to get back on track.
Finally we approached the suburbs of Besancon, our destination for tonight and the site of our final rest day in France.
Besancon is quite the large city. It seemed to take us forever to walk into the town center. We have become used to small villages and this is not a small village. An hour after entering the city we finally made it to our hotel. But to be perfectly accurate we did stop by the North Face store to check out shoes. Because, yes it is time to replace a pair of my shoes. Shockingly I will be replacing my La Sportiva trail runners. The Hokas are doing just fine! Tomorrow we will hit another outdoor store. We have worn out two stoppers on our hiking poles. Those also need to be replaced.
To end our night we went out for dinner. Mark had an odd craving for Chinese food but I corrected this serious flaw in judgement and we went French. Seriously, Chinese???