This is a second attempt at this posting, being drafted in Google Docs as my experience with wordpress has been extremely disappointing so far, hence the rant posting. At least Google Docs will auto save.
Our day was long and arduous (potential word of the day). As we had to go off route to find alternate accommodation to the hotel in Tergnier, we had a two hour walk to catch up with the route. Admittedly walking along the Ainse canal was very pleasant at 0700. To get from the canal back to the GR145 required us to have the utmost faith in our IGN mapping app. At one point we weren’t sure whether the track was to a farmer’s hay paddock or someone’s favourite fishing hole, but eventually a path led us under the highway and into a residential area. We will no longer doubt the accuracy of the maps!
The trail for most of the day was akin to being on the camino frances – meandering forest trails were a pleasant change from the seemingly endless wheat, corn, potato and sugar beet fields we have been walking through up to now. Adding to the camino feel was the number of fellow walkers we have met since Peronne. Two Germans going as far as Reims, a Korean gentleman also walking a section of the vf but who was most interested in NZ’s Milford Track, a self described euro hybrid (born in Belgium to British and Italian parents) by his own admission learning the hard way about walking and how much gear is required. His backpack would have been excessive even on a eurail pass! And in a small town we met Phil from Yorkshire. He is biking to Rome, so will likely be enjoying a celebratory been in a cafe near St Peter’s Square while we are still in France.
Laon, once we eventually got there, is a beautiful town perched on a high bluff. Perhaps Laon is to the vf what Pamplona is to the camino frances – a fortified city a few days into the journey. Our accommodation was in the lower art of town, and Max gracefully declined the evening excursion up the steep stairways to visit the medieval town.
Daily km: 43.3 (not a typo. My app also says we went up 1,315m and down 1,284m. Tough day!)
Memorable moment: emerging from a forest trail at 1300 hrs and seeing a road sign “Laon 15km”.