Sunday, March 11, 2012

Pontaubert to Auxerre

Pontaubert is the place I stayed in last night (photo below). A wayside inn that beckoned in the fading evening light. €61 isn't all that bad - a cool €70 with breakfast thrown in! I asked why the price is marginally higher than that advertised on the billboard and was told: "It's the weekend, silly", or some such French equivalent.

Hopping up relatively early for a Sunday I threw down the petit dejuner and raced to the iPhone to Skype the girls. It was fabulous to speak with three of them - all except Georgia. Having caught up with all the news I headed off into the countryside, French Waling in Burgundy book in one hand and online maps on said iPhone in the other. Off for a brisk, what turned out to be 12 km walk through a couple of villages and probably too much forest. Anyhow, it did the job of blowing away the cobwebs and working off a few pin au chocolates as well.

Nothing much more to do in the day but to head to my destination for the evening - Auxerre (pronounce a soft 'x' in this name). The approach to the city by the route other than the tollway provided a good understanding of the geography of the place, set as it is on some low - lying hills.

First impressions were not great, but that was the same with Beaune, with which I have since developed quite an affection. I shall report on that tomorrow. I managed to find an eatery open late in the day. All attempts to grab some lunch were thwarted because I had left my run far too late. I blame the decision to go for a ramble myself. All attempts, apart for the restaurants that were "Complet" were unsuccessful because they were just closing. And here is I good tip for traveling in France: LEAVE NOTHING TO CHANCE WHEN LOOKING FOR LUNCH ON A SUNDAY IN YOUR FRANCE!!!

Sitting in the eatery that I eventually found in Dear Auxerre, I downloaded the Agoda app. It is really good for last minute deals for hotels and so here I am in a €45 job for the next two nights. Sure it is BASIC. Certainly it is OUT OF TOWN. OK it is located in a semi-industrial heartland, but for me for the next couple of nights IT'S HOME!

Picture at below is of Bessy-sur-Cure, a random village along the way from Avallon.

And great news! No sooner had I arrived and unpacked the socks and undies, but guess who should call me on my cell? GEN BLANCH, that's who! We had a great old chat, mostly about an old chubby chap with a wig passing himself off as a Graeme whom Gen had met and who had been annoying her on her phone. When I called her today and put on a stupid French accent Gen immediately hung up! Good girl! However it was ME! Gorgeous old cuddly Groombles! I had been trying to get through all day, but only a text message got through. WHAT an Adventure! We sure had a good giggle over that one ...

Gotta go now. I just watch France come from behind to go down by 2 measly points to Great Britain in a rugby match. Naturally I was rooting for the home side and will go to sleep a dejected man (not).

Too much news, not enough sleep! Too roo!

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