Wednesday, 12 September 2018
'Summer in the Alps' - Day 49 - Around Troyes
Seemingly perfect weather again, but today's walk in temperatures of 30 to 35°C had us reflecting on how grateful we are to have spent much of the summer above 1500 metres, where it's a bit cooler. Today's walk, despite being on flat surfaces, was hard work under the burning sun. We were pleased to have some respite provided by woodland sections.
Since Edwice had paid for our parking* outside the apartment until 11 am, we could afford a slow start (thanks, Sue for popping out yet again to source some croissants) and a short wander before heading out to the Petit Orient.
The focus of this morning's wander was the Cathedral. Yes, Troyes is a city, not a town as I suggested yesterday. St-Pierre St-Paul Cathedral was constructed between the 13th and the 17th centuries. It's a magnificent building some 114 metres in length, 50 metres wide, and nearly 30 metres high. It contains a remarkable 1500 square metres of stained glass, and many treasures and artifacts. Well worth a visit.
Returning via the disused canal where artworks and sculptures are on display, we then set off into the nearby countryside. A walking guide in the apartment attracted us to a 15 km meander in the Parc naturel régional de la Forêt d'Orient, a half hour drive away.
Parking at Géraudot, we set off down a hot and dusty track that thankfully led into some cooler woodland. The paths were deserted apart from a lone mountain biker. Mud skippers dived into some puddles as we passed by. There must have been some rain here to have created those puddles, and the track may be a quagmire in winter.
Eventually we left the wood and joined a farm track where some pear trees were shedding their fruit. Nearby, some bright green frogs played hide and seek with us in a wet trench outside some farm buildings. Further on, a pile of windfall apples puzzled us. There was no apple tree on the vicinity.
We reached a tarmac track that ran beside Lac du Temple, a reservoir and bird reserve. Lunch was taken on dried up mud flats under one of many white willow trees that litter the shoreline beyond the stretch of dried mud that's proof of a hot summer.
There were lots of birds on view, including Great and Little Egrets, Swans, Lapwings, Gadwall, mewing Buzzards overhead, Cormorants, ordinary Herons, etc. Mating dragonflies surrounded us and it was
very peaceful with no discernable noise (except my tinitus!).
After lunch we returned to a stretch of tarmac beside the reservoir, picking our way past puddles of melted tar, and dodging the occasional cyclist that was speeding along in a bid to avoid getting bogged down.
Sue was navigating. She was distracted by a strange concrete artifact about 200 metres long, from which a mechanical sweeper was scattering stones onto the otherwise pristine cycle/walking track. Very puzzling, and not on the planned route. A compass bearing helped to re-locate the correct route, thankfully through more woodland with yummy looking mushrooms on a beech tree, and active red squirrels.
After the four hour walk, we drove a few metres down the road to a convenient hostelry to re-hydrate, having exhausted our flask of tea. Here we met Martin and Ken, road cyclists from Leeds. They were on an interesting trip and we enjoyed a banter with them for an hour or so. Curiously, there was a link between Martin and our 'Project 1949' in Zermatt. (He knows the individual who was the cause of the problem in relation to which the favour I gave was repaid by way of the Zermatt photo album.)
They headed off to their five star hotel for a jacuzzi, and Sue and I continued our exploration (or 're-exploration', we've been near here before) of the area by visiting the village of Montieramey. Pretty enough, but no stunningly distinguishing features.
Back via a supermarket for the ingredients of an excellent salad supper on our patio, then a stroll down to the canal to see 'The Heart of Troyes' beating at night.
We walked about 15 km, with 50 metres of ascent on the Petit Orient walk, plus sundry bimbles of about 4 km.
A detail from the Cathedral
Resting in our apartment
Woodland in Le Petit Orient
Lunch by Lac du Temple
The Heart of Troyes
* Parking in Troyes is a thorny issue. It used to be FOC, and that's how it's advertised for this apartment. But in an effort to reduce the chaos, the city has introduced charges. It didn't look too chaotic to me, so perhaps the new system is working. Edwice said it shouldn't be a problem for us anyway due to 'Brexit sympathy' towards friendly visitors, whereby the wardens wouldn't dream of ticketing a car with a GB plate!