iiiiiAugust ii September ii October ii November

October 29 - Hauteville, France

I can see Dijon, France from the hotel window! We have walked for twelve days through sunshine, rain and even a day of snow - about 325 kilometers (200 miles) and finally reached our goal. This has been a nice long hike in and out of tiny villages - most of which look more or less like they did between the two world wars - they just bought new appliances and better cars. This has been a very varied trail. The route itself was mapped out by the St. James Brotherhood in Germany for the fellow pilgrims. It does not follow a single trail, but rather is a piecemeal type of route that combines old roman roads, established foot trails and both "country" and major roads to serve its purpose. My companion, Jakob, had the route already mapped out for us, and even knew beforehand which towns offered over-night occommodations (many, many do not!). After months of staring at maps, it was quite a nice change to leave the driving, per se, to my partner. Thanks Jakob!

The route took us from the city of Metz south/southwest to Vandieres, Dieulouard, Toul, Autreville and Neufchateau. We awoke to rain on the 22nd in Neufchateau, but it soon turned to snow as we carried on to St. Thiebault. We crossed over a well sized hill late in the afternoon, and it was simply a winter wonderland. Our gear held out and we were quite comfortable throughout the snowy day. Quite grand.
From St. Thierault we continued on to the beautiful city of Langre - a hill top fortress that we could see as we approached - thirteen kilometers away. This was probably my favorire stop along the way - beautiful old town with grand views of the surrounding country. Our next stops were Auberive, Grancy le Chateauand and Courtivron, before finally arriving here in Hauteville. Tomorrow we will parade into Dijon like weary troops and see the town, before taking the bullet train to Paris, where we change trains for Brugge, Belgium, where my cousin will pick us up. The last few days walking were along the established french trail system - the Grand Route - through dense woods and over countless challenging hills - breath taking and arduous - quite a hike. We are looking forward to a few days rest at the Wiesler's holiday home in Zuidzande, Holland. As you may recall, I met my aunt here earlier in the month when I crossed the channel from England. A few days rest will do me well - then its off to Germany to continue my hiking along the Neckar River. Wander lust!