REIMS, FRANCE I plan to walk from Saumur to Orleans along the GR3 Trail. A big hearty breakfast and off to the station. Ten minutes before the train pulls out – a bomb scare. The police arrive, but don’t find anything. I miss my connecting train to Paris. Pain! At Epernay they stop a Paris-bound train, so I finally arrive there about 12.00. I manage to get a train to Saumur. Six hours on trains today.
Saumur is the starting point for my 200km trek to Orleans. I walk the kilometer to the Auberge de Jeunesse and book in. A large group of Israeli children have taken over the place.
Saumur is a pleasant mixture of old and new, with the chateau overlooking it. The Loire River is quite wide here with its own island in the centre.
This afternoon I scout out the area to find the GR3 trail. It’s a good feeling when you find the right path! I’m thinking that once I get out and get walking for a few hours that it will be exhilarating. It will be interesting to see how the arctic weather affects my walk in the Loire Valley – hopefully it won’t be too cold.
Because the Israeli group has taken over the kitchen and are cooking Kosher, no gentiles can cook there at the moment. I’m able to use the staff’s private kitchen. I also share a room with one of the girls who works here. It’s pretty noisy till 10.30 pm, then peace.
Feb 12 – Wednesday
I leave the Auberge on a hazy sunny morning and stop at a bar café for breakfast. Then up the hill and past the chateau to the beginning of the GR3 Trail. It’s still cold enough to wear thermal gloves, but it’s good walking weather. The pack fits well and my legs feel good.
I’ve got to keep my eye on the signposts, because the track keeps zig-zagging all over the place. Through some steep wooded hills and across numerous vineyards with the Loire often in view. The problem with walking in cold weather is that my nose keeps running. Past some small villages and then eventually down to the main road to a hotel for lunch. I’m pretty tired by now after having walked 10 kms. I want to make it to Chinon by the evening so I’ll have to hitch.
I make up a sign with my destination and start out on the road. It’s really infuriating when none of the drivers stop for me. However, the features along the road are interesting. Many buildings are carved out of the chalk cliffs. After walking another five kilometres, I get a lift from a young guy who works at the nuclear power station in the area and he drops me off right at the youth hostel.
I leave my pack there and walk around the town. It seems very peaceful here. Some medieval buildings and another castle perched overlooking the town. Tonight – watch a video of Rocky III, followed by a long sleep in.
My plans of continuing the walk evaporate when I learn that the hostel is open for use all day and all the facilities to ameliorate these cold days are here. GR3 will wait for another time!Any other ideas?