Thursday, 1 September 2016

Vaumartin to Chatillon sur Marne (Not clicking yet? Think Brie to Champagne ! )

Where am I? Right, just before the 7 am breakfast that was promised for 6.

When I return at 7 am, the hostess has made breakfast and apologizes for the delay Also there and right at my feet is The Dog.  Not normally a dog person, I love this little thing. And the feeling seems to be mutual ;-)

He's about the same size as a large cat, so I know just how to pet him !  Puppy also wears a GPS collar, so his owners ALWAYS know where he is ;-)
Time to get back to the room and stuff all my belongings into two bright red panniers

But I'll take my time leaving.  1st of all, check-in at the next place is not until 2pm, and ... 


... 2nd, I'm still drying clothes that I washed in the sink ;-)

YES, this actually IS a chicken

The clothes are still not quite dry...
so I have more time to hunt down strange fowl.

FINALLY. Clothes are dry. On y va !

It's getting warm. Time to POP this baby ( local Apple Cider bottled in Brie)

I've worn off the outer black layer of my tires and the green lower layer is showing

The landscape slowly changes and then all of a sudden I have arrived in La Champagne. The level fields have given way to hills covered in vines.  And it's the grapes on those vines that are used to make champagne ;-)

But I haven't arrived in Chatillon yet.  And the delapidated buildings should have been a warning

So should have been the appearance of the so-called bike route
It is so rocky and uneven under the grass that I end up pushing the bike up the hill in the heat (think sweat and loud curses)
And then I see IT.  WTF? This can NOT be happening.  NO F...ING WAY is this happening to me today.   There is barbed wire on the right (with bovine creatures behind it) There is barbed wire on the left (and right behind that fence it's going down steep). Lying right across the two fences (and coincidentally the so-called bike path) is a HUGE F-ING TREE !

Don't you DARE laugh, you stupid cows !
Where is my MACHETE again?  Right, the security IDIOTS at Vancouver airport took it from me. I told them I'd NEED it here ..... and they did NOT believe me, can you believe it ?????

Anyhuu, it's amazing how many vines you can rip off and how many branches you can break with your bare hands. 

 Doesn't this look more manageable?  And if you look carefully, you can even see a bicycle somewhere right in there ;-)  ( I forgot to mention taking all the luggage and the battery off the bike so that I could lift it over the bottom branch !)

Joy, I get to push the bike further up the hill along the impossible bike route (Insert going back to get the luggage and putting it back onto the bike)

So up the hill I push the bike.   At least until I get to the cattle wire stretched across the 'bike path'.  


Yes, I am on the right route. 

I am just about to open the barbed-wire gate, when I notice some cows on a piece of land that is directly connected (no fence) to the piece of land right behind my gate.

Did you spot it?  Look again!   Yes, these are Utter-less cows, commonly known as BULLS.  They briefly look up when I let the F-word ECHO loudly across the valley but I must not be their type, because they go back to grazing.

Where does that leave me?    EXACTLY: Take off the panniers and the battery AGAIN and lift a bicycle through a tree AGAIN.

The fact that you're reading this and can snicker (I can hear you laugh all the way back to the past when I'm writing this !) at my adventurous misfortune should be ample evidence that I've made it back to paved roads and WiFi-Land eventually.

But I'm staying away from unpaved roads !

Soonish after I get to Chatillon sur Marne, today's destination.  I have a ridiculously cheap room in a very modern and functional holiday resort, but everything is too modern. Too much concrete, to many sterile attempts to generate holiday 'fun'.

Even the chickens in their concrete pens appear desperately unhappy and start glucking every time they see a person and even hop up on the fence.

What sick bastard fed the grilled chicken leg to the chickens?

Since I am in the Champagne now, I decide in the supermarket that I REALLY can't just buy a bottle of white wine, know what I mean?  After all, a bottle of real champagne costs less here than my standard bottle of Prosecco in Vancouver.

Delightful Decadence: Hitting  the Champagne with Bach's violin concertos playing 
The first sips leave me disappointed. I thought this stuff is supposed to taste GREAT?
But after half a bottle, I have figured it out. It's not the taste that is phenomenal, it is what the stuff does to your head!

Gin and Tonic is known as pantie-remover in some circles. I'm not sure what nick-name champagne should bear, but something along the lines of "Don't call your drug-dealer; this stuff is cheaper and even legal !" would fit the bill.

The world seems much prettier all of a sudden
OK, so Vancouver would probably STILL be ugly after 2 bottles ;-)

Hey, they even put Pope Urban II, organizer of the First Crusade,  behind bars

Life really is better when seen through champagne glasses

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