I’ve never done anything but dream. This, and this alone, has been the meaning of my life. My only real concern has been my inner life. FERNANDO PESSOA

Monday, 6 October 2014

Day 31: Ouhans To Pontarlier

At Ouhans the three of us spent the night in this terrific gîte, which used to be part of a hotel. Our hospitalier, Jean Salamon, made us most welcome, and brought us tomatoes and courgettes from his own garden. He did not ask for payment, but we left a small donation. In the evening we had a super meal, prepared by ourselves: packet soup, sausage, a salad with thinly-sliced courgettes, tomatoes and onions in a vinaigrette dressing, a microwave paella, bread, cheese, a nectarine, chocolate and coffee!  

Cédez le passage — give way — to pilgrims?

Figure in a landscape: Pierre sets off in front, looking like a spaceman or someone in a nuclear fallout suit . . .

Peter and Pierre enjoy Sunday lunch in the centre of Vuillecin.

Pierre knocked on a door in the village and, before you knew it, came back with some bread. The householder had even apologised that the bread was not fresh. Then, 20 minutes later, the resident parked his car by our picnic bench and gave us a fresh brioche loaf he'd bought from a boulangerie a few kilometres away. It was light and sweet, and possibly the best brioche I have ever tasted! 

The church in Vuillecin; you will be very familiar with these clocher comtois roofs by now.

7 comments:

Zach said...

the church photo is awesome. it makes me feel like i've gone back in time. again, thanks for sharing your journey.

George said...

Beautiful landscape that Pierre, the spaceman, is walking through. Curious about those low quarter walking shoes of yours. Did you wear them most of the trip and carry your heavier boots?

Ruth Mowry said...

I really enjoy the details of how you fed yourself(ves) (being one who lives to eat myself). The adventure of making a tasty meal out of what can be gathered near at hand is the best! And that brioche, I bet it tasted supreme, especially in this context. I find that nearly all food tastes better out-of-doors.

The Solitary Walker said...

Thanks for visiting, Zach.

George, I tried to go lightweight: lightweight Golite backpack, reasonably light Hilleberg Akto tent, Vango Venom sleeping bag and Therm-A-Rest NeoAir mattress, no stove or cooking pot, few changes of clothes, only one walking pole etc. Tried to keep the weight to 20 lb or not much over. With water and food that increased, but I tried to keep those items to an absolute minimum too. Therefore I could experiment with lighter footwear — especially since I knew most of the route was not too demanding: lots of flattish field and woodland paths, roads etc. I started off in a pair of sturdy Keen walking sandals (with arched supports). I owned these already, and I knew they performed well. Sometimes I wore them with socks, sometimes without. I was quite ok in these — they were light but strong, they did not cause blisters, there was plenty of air and freedom for the feet. But I'd had them for a while, and a strap broke after a couple of weeks. Also small stones could be a nuisance, and I did find them a little hard on the feet after a bit. I decided to buy some more cushioned footwear in Châlons, but still wanted lightweight walking shoes, so went for a pair of not-too-expensive Merrell trail shoes (not that there was a huge amount of choice in my size) in a Decathlon shop. These were fine, and comfortable — though, because they were new, and had to settle in, I did develop a blister on the side of my foot, which was quite persistent (since it was on the side rather than on the sole of my foot, however, it was not too bad, and I couldn't feel it under a Compeed plaster). I also had a sore toe. With heavier new boots I could have developed far worse problems, as I know from experience. I hate to feel my feet constricted too much. Footwear can be a difficult issue, and everyone learns from experience all the time.

I love putting in all those 'ordinary' details, Ruth! Food certainly tastes wonderful out-of-doors — and the brioche was just amazing. It went stale incredibly quickly though — not that there was much left!

Amanda Summer said...

The food given to you by another is ostensibly the sweetest. Beautiful journey, Robert.

The Solitary Walker said...

It certainly is, Amanda — especially if it's eaten out-of-doors.

Rachel Fox said...

Stories of such generosity are so heartwarming!