From La Renouillère in La Villeneuve-au-Chêne, I walk along the Way of St James towards the next destination, Gîte La Grive d’Arce in Merrey-sur-Arce. The weather is rainy and the paths are so soft and muddy that I lie down twice on loamy steep descents in the forest and in the terrain and slide down a few metres in the mud before I can cling to anything. Clothes, watch, smartphone, rucksack etc., all full of mud. I must have looked like a warthog after wallowing in the mud. It took me over an hour to remove the coarsest dirt with autumn leaves and grass. Fortunately nobody saw me, otherwise the police would have been called. When I arrive at my gîte La Grive d’Arce in the evening, as agreed, the key is on the outside and I can sneak in undetected, directly into the shower. Later, when I looked civilized again, my hostess came and brought me something to eat and took my dirty clothes for washing. What luck! The next day I went to the only bar in this place (there is no shop): AU Chardonnay Bar Tabac à Merrey-sur-Arce. Anne, the landlady told me that she didn’t serve anything to eat, but then she felt sorry for me and conjured up a plate of roast beef, fried potatoes and salad, even with a starter made of liver pâté, cornichons and baguette. The next morning she served me breakfast and we had another real conversation. After a farewell photo in front of the bar and on to Praslin. There a surprise awaited me. My hostess Sarah was a real Englishwoman who realized her dream a few years ago in front of a home in Champagne. She beautifully restored, renovated and furnished the barn of an old farmhouse in Praslin. Since then she has been welcoming guests via Airbnb. Since I hadn’t bought anything and it was already Saturday afternoon, she first put me in her car and drove me about 5 km to the next town after Chaource in the only still open supermarket. Then I went to the bakery and then to the cash machine of the bank. Arriving at her house, the stove was turned on. We spent the whole evening with one or two glasses of wine and talked about the Brexit. At first I had booked only one overnight stay. That finally turned into three, because I felt very comfortable and the weather outside was quite uncomfortable. Meanwhile the weather is nice again. Tomorrow it goes on!
Somehow I had a strangely familiar feeling when I arrived in Ushuaia for the second time in almost a year. I simply love it here.