Monday, 24 November 2014


Arriving in France has changed everything. Better cheese, more wine, less internet and more daily mileage.
Daily postings here have suffered as my phone has lost roaming and I'm dependent on free wifi in cafes. And that presupposes cafes! In past days have looped and wound and zigzagged and climbed and descended my way - nearly - across the Vosges mountains. And the few cafes in the few villages were all closed - either because of the weekend or out of season. I'm hardy so marched on for a day and a half creating my own cafes in bus shelters. Came as close as I've done so far to creating a Herzog night too; foggy, cold night and I broke, well climbed into, a loft above an abandoned garage.
Yesterday - see pic - arrived in paradise. The Café Taniere wasn't actually open but hostess Isabelle was sitting outside in warm sun and produced coffee and wine, and then a plate of cheeses, saucisson and bread on the house. The joy. And the joy of being able to talk and joke with people - it shortens the road.
Last night spent in a forest glade on a bed of moss amongst pines and toadstools. It was supernaturally warm. I sat there brewing soup as the stars twinkled through the trees like a summer's evening. And no dew. Odd but pleasant.
Now it's over the next pass - a mere 600 mts - and down into what is flattish land the rest of the way to Paris.
French wine and cheeses and warm summer breezes (a line from He Went To Paris by Jimmy Buffet - appropriately) none withstanding I'm having to up my daily mileage otherwise I'll never finish. I'm not racing Herzog, who started on the 23rd Nov forty years ago yesterday, but I am trying to get as far as possible before the weather - as it must - gets wintery.
A slight frustration in having arrived in a big town, Saint-Die, and found all shops closed because it's Monday. Well, didn't need much anyway. And anything not bought is not carried...and I have over a kilo of oats and dates to see me through the coming 40 kms of mountains and forest.
And on that note - back to the high ground.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Jasper great blog,and trip, and know only to well the wows of wifi in France Mcdonald's has it for free though just pretend I will not tell a sole I saw you there lol.


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I'm an independent writer on wilderness activities, slow adventures, traditional horsemanship and odd stuff. I'm the author of Paddle; A long way around Ireland (Sort Of Books), and i was the story consultant on the IMAX documentary on cowboy cultures across the globe, Ride Around The Word. The Slow Adventure sends reports back from the front-line of a slow and simple life; horses, kayaks, guitars, long walks, travel, books, simplicity, trains, travel, wildlife and the occasional thrill.