Day thirty-six: Pontarlier to Les Hôpitaux-Neufs

I’m sitting at seemingly the only place in town open on a Sunday, so I’m hanging out with the locals at the brasserie having a beer and waiting for the BBQ to be ready. It’s the only thing on the menu tonight! Some of the locals are pretty hard core. I swear I’m the only clean shaven guy here!

Les Hôpitaux-Neufs is just down the road from Les Hôpitaux-Vieux, and is a bit closer to the ski hill in Jougne. The new town doesn’t look that much newer than the old town. I’m staying here as when the preferred accommodation is not available, I use booking.com and Airbnb in ever widening circles until I find the next best alternative. Hopefully sleeping in the forest was a one off!
Today was like a half day, with a strenuous climb out of Pontarlier rewarded with spectacular early morning views of the Chateau de Joux, followed by a gentle meander across the fields and hills. Even with a late start and a gentle pace, I arrived early afternoon. Tomorrow’s jaunt into Switzerland may not be so relaxing, as I have an extra 5km to cover due to today’s early stop. The fact that the cows have bells is a sure sign I’m close to Switzerland. Plus the fancier cars on the road have Swiss plates.
This area was I involved in the production of Absinthe until it was banned in the 1920s for a number of reasons, but essentially a victory for the prohibition zealots. As an alternative, Pernot developed Anis (the aperitif that goes cloudy when you add water, and is great as long as you like the aniseed flavour! My host in Ornans made sure I had the full local experience!) I have included a pic of what I believe is the original Anis distillery.
Daily km: 21.1

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