Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Sand dunes and salty air (bis)

i'm in france now, of course, where they have azerty in stead of qwerty with punctuation in all sorts of wierd places, so there goes my touch typing and with it my willingness to use the shift key on a regular basis. typographical pedants, suck it up.

last comments on the english south-east:

the north downs way, which i covered parts of over every day except the first, is well signposted and passes through some really great spots, of which i only covered a few. on the second day, for example, i followed the way, even though it was a bit out of my way, because it took me to Buckland. peaceful, pastoral, picturesque. but no hobbits. i'd have smoked a pipe in their honour but hadn't made such provisions.

the pilgrim's way, another route i picked up for some distance, wasn't as obviously historically rich as you might expect. the physical stuff gets buried auicker in the countryside, maybe. but still, the trees along it have a stranger language than most, more suggestive by half.

was quite antsy to get to france quickly, but can't remember now any of the feeling associated with that. i can tell you that if you're a british mountaineering council member that sea france is much cheaper, and that a lucky rider of the Rodin ferry may have found the first moondog tag i dropped on it.

the history along the coast, from calais right around to berck where i turned inland, is very present, even if quite recent: concrete bunkers every few miles, some still hanging onto cliff tops, others well on their way to the sea floor. i think i took a lot of pictures of them.

a brief interjection, for the list lovers, of places i ate or slept:
cap du blanc nez
cap du gris nez
villers sur authie
foret montiers
st-riquier (a quaint little village if ever there was one, though i'm sure the song is more about opal coast places like the two W's above)

i've come across other war history spots by accident. like the morning i went inland a bit to get less gusty wind and less driving rain (but still got rather wet), and came across the commonwealth cemetery just north of étaples. couldn't actually get past the monumental entry as it's rather exposed and the rain was coming at me face on, but quite stiking. and i learned that the soldiers called the town 'eat apples' which amused me.

but it's only august and i was at the mouth of the canche, so instead of apples i ate mussels, yum. and lots of them, as the appetizer i ordered not knowing what it was (called l'étaplois) had them in along with a tasty fish that reminded me of smoked black cod. anyone want to google for me and find out what i ate? i'm running out of time here.

from berck i decided to head inland, slightly first, to villers-sur-authie, then through two enormous days (33 and 45km respectively) to amiens. i made the push as the somme area is pretty dry on campsites, so now i'm having a rest day, with very sore feet. on the plus side, i got to watch the bakery in the square in st-riquier open at 7am (after hearing their alarm clock ring out as i walked past a bit earlier!). i also camped rough for the first time (the reason i was up in st-riquier at stupid o'clock to begin with). won't be properly free til i master that art, but i can't say i'm eager to work on it; sleeping with my boots on wasn't fun.

that's all for now. sorry if there's qny confusion over zords zith w,q,a, or z in them.


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