I walked for the first couple of kilometers, in order to find my direction and trick my legs into moving again. The tendinitis in my right shin has really calmed down, but I have some compensation pain in my left ankle now. I am trying to take it a little bit easy so that I can hopefully get over it all. The weather was perfect for running, and I once again found myself running through the middle of the beautiful French countryside. Today though, the sky was just as exciting as the land. Fields of cumulus clouds drew my eyes up from the fields of green, and the occasional twist in my ankle had to remind me that I should look where I am going.
I got into Provins around noon, and after drinking two boxed chocolate milks, a bottle of Powerade and a 1.5 liter bottle of water, I started checking out the sites. Provins happens to be a UNESCO world heritage site, and is full of little medieval wonders. I stayed away from the costumed shows of chivalry and birds, and just wandered around the architecture. I stopped by the church of Saint Quiriace, where Jean d'Arc stopped for mass is 1429. It is given its name because supposedly some dude brought the head of Judas (Quiriace) here a thousand years ago from Palestine. I don't really understand how those things work.
I went to the Caesar's Tower, the central tower in town, and then walked around the exterior walls of the castle until around 4 when I would be able to go into the tunnels. This town would be a great place to find a hidden sleeping place (I already had a place to stay though), and I spent most of the afternoon climbing up into abandoned staircases to see if they went anywhere. Mostly they went to brick walls. No luck finding a magical hidden treasure or anything like that.
At 4 I went to the tunnels, which were originally used to extract a clay that was used for degreasing wool cloth in the Middle Ages. Much later, the tunnels were used for hideouts, cellars and meetings of secret societies. Now it is an UNESCO site and is used as a place where you can't take photos. I love tunnels, probably derived from my time at Columbia and from being a kid in general. Despite being on a guided tour, it was still pretty exciting. The most prized possession in the tunnels is the old graffiti, which is protected by plexiglass to prevent any new graffiti from becoming interesting a couple hundred years from now.
In the evening I met up with my couchsurfing host Janvier, who is younger than I am but incredibly interesting. Many people came in and out, most of which were some sort of musician or rave planner. Janvier and I exchanged some music, and he introduced me to the many varieties of a music that I would normally just call "techno." Hardtek, hardcore, and many combinations of other syllables with the words "hard" and "core" . I went to bed around 1, spending the later hours of the evening discussing the origins of religion and the inevitable end of the world as we know it...a seriously involved conversation. Fortunately Janvier's English is much better than my French.
23 June 2009