Sunday Februay 8th 2015. Chavanges 16 km. , According to book 40 km by G. R.

Last night and this morning we still were four of us: Sonja, Brigitte, Jos and me. Now I’m the lonely stranger again. “On the road again”, according to a 60s song. Good weather predicted for the rest of the week, so what did I find out when I put one foot outside the door? Rain. Should I unpack my poncho and put it on again? And then cover the luggage on horseback again with a tarpaulin, which should be lashed with rubber bands so I can’t reach anything else from the bags? Luckily it was only an accident, the rain cloud. For the rest dry weather, less cold, some sun, less wind, no traffic on Sunday morning, so I can quickly cover quite some distance over the chosen direct path and thus shorten the long detours of the planned grande randonnée. Yet we walked enough on the grande randonnée trails for Tosca to enjoy herself. At 13.30 I was already at the sleeping place in the nice town of Chavanges, at B & B Agnès and Jean-Francois Hougardy.
People here are proud of the traditional, frequent Burgundian timber framing buildings. Whole streets have been built in that way, but unfortunately most of the houses are uninhabited and in greater or lesser extent of deterioration. The nicest example of France, according to Agnès, is the timber logs church of Lentilles. I missed it because I took the short cut over the linea recta road.
Leon is at a farm in a large box with water and hay. Tosca has a room in a house were nobody lived any more. She is lying on an old mattress and is therefore good. Just hope she doesn’t get bedbugs.
And I’m in my writing room, after I have spent much time with the hostess. She told me about a 100 things, among others that she and her husband are Belgians, from Namur, that she had lived in Algeria for 10 years with her parents, she had started a restaurant in Arles in Southern France. Her husband was actually cook, she had healing gifts with magnetism and with plant resources, she had a disabled nephew etc. etc. Except for chambres d’hotes also both of them had another job, they used to have a bar and a restaurant here in town, but too few customers.
She talked about the churches built in “colombages” framing in a style that in former centuries was unique in Western Europe, with the finest example a colombage the church in Lentilles. And I’ve just missed it by cutting off my route. Yes, you can not get everything. Furthermore, I noticed that in this place-here nothing moves except a few chickens and half the village was for sale. What is not for sale, is mostly empty.
In my room I sit between the mess: unpacked backpacks. With Jos I discussed all this trouble. If you put in one bag all the necessary things, then you have left only one backpack to take with you inside. But then I will have to grab, because everything is then in that one bag. Or, why don’t you sinply put the important stuff on top. But then you get a mishmash again if you’re digging the minor stuff. However I pack, it remains an ordened mess every day, which takes a lot of time.
And how is the psyche? My wife away, friends gone, winter. Again alone, without help, when looking for shelter. Come on, a big guy can bear all the grief alone, right? Right! Last night I filmed and interviewed Jos and me. He noted that the walk in these circumstances was anything but pleasant and the word fun is not the correct classification. So I’m supposed to feel deliciously abandoned, beautifull silence! End of next week friends of the gym club will join me for a few days. That really seems very nice. And the weekend of the 20th colleagues of my medical office will show up. May also be great fun. And I expect around those days still a visit of the filmmakers that capture my journey on film and also around that time a couple of friends from Epen may join me. Maybe, then in the Ardennes, I’d better take a few weeks off at a spa or so and have an audience for al those visitors. Even though in order to finish all of the candy everybody brought me.
As mentioned earlier, I also ask myself whether I would not better leave horse Leon behind, when I’m in Denmark, crossing the Baltic Sea to Sweden. Then in Sweden and Norway I can not only move faster, but also more devoted to the social aspects of my trip. In Norway I follow viz. 600 km. the in Scandinavia very popular pilgrimage route of Saint Olav, from Oslo to Trondheim. A bit further north, above the Arctic Circle in Lapland, I walk the 450 km. long Kungsleden, the King’s path. After those 450 km. the Nordkallotleden, which is another 450 km. And then I don’r want to be inhibited by horse Leon. Only question is whoever comes to pick up my Leonke in Denmark. Candidates? My Jeep with horse trailer is available. And then in Scandinavia without horse Leon I can start 3000 km. Norway by ensuring spicing up my trip, perhaps together with Laps and Lappins, together called Samen.
Now I first have to go infrastructuring again before I go to the pizzeria across the street from my pension. The distances listed in my book about the Grande Randonnee-stages, do not correspond with the distances on the map. GR winds and zig saws much. The straight country roads often are much shorter, but on the other hand those should not be too busy with traffic again. It takes quite some searching and comparing. Therefore I need wi-fi. The logistic addresses are either closed in the winter, either not accessible during the day, either the tel. number is not correct, or, or, or and in addition my phone again has no range. Takes a disproportional amount of time, time that I also could spend on conversations about the family of my hostess, her magnetism or by watching her TV programs. Incidentally, my hostess and her husband were super nice and helpful people. Fortunately, I have Monday and Tuesday off again, so I can start the new week with no major concerns. I asked my landlady if French does not have an expression for ‘a new day, a new sound’ or ‘another day, another dollar’, “ne nujen daag oe de muuës nog nuuks a gedoeë hant. Her answer was: un nouveau jour. I think that is rather poor for a language like French. If they have: mon tonton tend ton tonton (my uncle cuts your uncle), one might expect more. Alle, hein, comme ci comme ca, comme tralala.
N.B. If anyone wants to join me a day or so walking, do not be afraid, because the distance will be significantly adjusted downward, of course, only if necessary.

boris, shepherd shelters in the South, have a different shape and different name here  Jos was renamed not only to Georges, but also directly immortalized in stone Jos was not only renamed Georges, but also directly immortalized in stone  image

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