That is a big number. I decided to sandwich a bit of walking in between a 10 and a 12 mile run to make it much more bearable. I stopped in Colombey-les-Deux-Eglises where my original itinerary had put me for a night, and found the grave of Charles de Gaulle. I thanked him for giving all the roads that I have run on which bear his name, and headed onwards only having seen one Eglise. I arrived in Chaumont around 2, and spent the day wandering around the city. Chaumont is an awesome town...but before I arrived it was just a point on my map that was another 40 km closer to Ronchamp. There is a ton of history there, and the architecture is pretty amazing. I spent some time roaming around the old city walls, finding entrances to potential subterranean tunnels/sleeping places. I'll have to go back with a friend and a flashlight someday. I stopped in the Basilica of St. Jean-Baptiste, which has an incredible interior. The organs were playing, and as I looked around at the interesting Gothic interior, I was surprised that I had never seen the little church in a class. Maybe I was asleep for that slide, but I feel like France is full of so many little gems like this. Every village seems to have a church which is older than the United States.
The streets in Chaumont are spotted with little speakers mounted to the sides of buildings, so my search for housing was encouraged by a constant oscillation of cheesy American music. When it started getting later and I started getting nervous that the streets would soon be abandoned, I approached a young woman in the street and asked her if she knew if there was anything to do in the town that evening. It wasn't long before I found out that there wasn't anything going on, and was in a car on the way to her hometown, where here parents were having a barbecue with some friends. When I got there, I explained my story about as many times as I could bear, and then spent the evening playing Petanque with a huge group of people. It felt just like a barbecue at the ranch, except we were speaking in French and throwing metal balls instead of horseshoes. It is always a bit strange to see where I start in a day and where I end up, and I was pretty happy to be at such a friendly gathering for the night.
29 June 2009