This should be a post of Bar-sur-Aube to Chateauvillain, but it didn’t work out that way. I followed the signed route to start the day – a gruelling climb above BsA to the Roman encampment. The climb was aided by having found a coffee and a pain chocolat at 0700! When I next have WiFi I need to research this Roman camp, especially after reading The Conquest of Gail. The inner section was terraced and leveled, followed by a 10m high earth rampart. Further along the bluff was a second, smaller rampart. Can only imagine what they would have achieved with a couple of back-hoes.
After the first 12k I made up my own route for the rest of the day. And just as well, as today the Camino did not provide. Chateauvillain has pilgrim accommodation with the key obtained from the Marie (town hall). I hadn’t bargained on the Marie being closed for an impromptu long weekend. Ditto for the tourist office. Plan B, C, D and E were to try all the other accommodation opportunities in town. Nada – either c’est complete or c’est fermé.
Next village was 12k away, so I started walking. I actually took a short cut – as per my mapping app – through the extensive grounds of the chateau, but recent deer fencing is not on the app. Rather than backtracking, I found a spot where the perimeter stone wall had decayed so that it was only 6 feet tall rather than 8. Scaling an antique stone wall while wearing a backpack is no mean feat – and I did it without even dislodging any of the stone work. Could have been a YouTube moment!
So I walked, phoned ahead to upcoming accommodations, but no luck. So I created my own forest detour, and got to see many deer, a family of wild pigs, a fox and a badger. I felt like an extra on Planet Earth. Fortunately no humans, but to be safe, I wore my bright pink bandana rather than the usual green canvas hat.
I walked until dark, then did what pilgrims did in days of yore, bedded down in a huge pile of leaves. I’d had the foresight to provision in Chateauvillain, so I didn’t go without dinner!
Today, I continued on to Langres, effectively doing a planned three days in two, so now I have a rest day banked! The weather required use of the wet weather gear – not a deluge, but just enough to ensure a soaking without a jacket. Mid-morning the camino did provide, three times. The first village had a water fountain in the square, so water botes got replenished. Next village, while sitting out the rain in a bus shelter, I observed an exterior outlet, so I got to recharge my navigation equipment and stay dry for 45 minutes. A few villages later, I stopped to allow a lady to back out onto the road, and after she drove off, her husband said “would you like a coffee? Two expressos (as they spell them in France) later in the old farm kitchen, plus the son (visiting from Paris) having phoned ahead to confirm my evening’s accommodation for me, I was on my way, fully caffeinated!
The rain stopped just after arriving in Langres – a wonderfully fortified hilltop town with all walls still in place, and a very dynamic and bustling core (unlike Laon, where the fortified city has been surrounded by commercial and industrial development). Max would have loved this town – several antique shops, one with a US WW1 bayonet, another with an 1834 sabre! The only downside was scaling the heights to reach the town after a couple of tough days!
Today’s pics; scenery!, Plus the view from the kitchen, Langres Presbytery
Overall kms since BsA: 78.5km