Number of kilometres today: 27.39
Total kilometres walked from Canterbury: 383.72
Total steps since Canterbury: 543,800
No rain today and a lot of road walking which means dry boots and happy feet despite the pain and one new blister.
This morning after breakfast, I walked up to the old town to visit the cathedral and walk around one last time before leaving. I discovered upon returning to my hotel, packing the final things into The Devil and putting the Red Beasts on my feet that I had to walk up and over the old town to get to the other side and in the direction of Corbeny. Laon is on a hilltop. Up and down is the equivalent of 32 floors. I did it twice, once with the The Devil and once without.
Today as I followed the guidebook's directions out of town checking them against my map, I noticed that it had me walking is a south-west direction instead of south-east, the direcion of Corbeny. There was a more direct route if I decided to walk the D967 road out of Laon. Although I left later than expected and could have saved some time by taking the shorter route, I decided to stick with the guide book to off road for a while. And I am so glad I did. I walked through quiet woodlands, amidst ivy clad trees, upon yellowing leaves scattered on the damp floor, listening to the tap of wood peckers and crackling of twigs and branches hoping that I might see a deer.
The shortest and quickest route is not always the best route. However, tomorrow, I will be trying to take some short cuts where I can as I am going to try and make it to Reims which is 40 kilometres if I follow the guide book but I think it can be done in less.
Today was filled with hills and woodlands and poetry read and written. I am staying in a lovely hotel (pretty much the only one here). My clothes are washed and hanging in the bathroom and I am hoping they will be dry by morning. I met a lovely English couple, Brian and Hilary, the only other customers at the only restaurant in town and I really enjoyed speaking to them and having a proper conversation where I could speak full sentences and understand what was being said to me. I may have accidentally ordered the liver salad after focussing on the 'salades' part and not remembering that 'foie' is liver but my stomach is full and I am happy.
Tomorrow I walk again. And tomorrow night I will be drinking champagne as I enter vineyard country.
Walking up a long hill with the end just in sight
Victory...I made it up the hill.
Looking back at the village where I ate my lunch
One of the things I love about France. Pretty flowers everywhere.