Tuesday 30 September.
It was a strange house with all its ornaments, antiques, pictures, odds and ends. Everywhere they were placed, on shelves, walls, in the loo and in the kitchen. It must have been a mammoth task cleaning them all because they were all spotless and dust free. Other strange features were the life sizes dummies that Marie had sat on chairs in the large hall outside our bedroom and the climbing ivy type plant growing round the walls of the toilet. In our bedroom there were two guitars and a display on a table of ancient cameras, we were frighten to move in case we knocked something over. Then there were books and magazines filling bookcases, shelves and cupboards. I don't know if any of the stuff was valuable but there was plenty of it.
We packed up and were down for breakfast at 7:30 am hoping for good news about a bed for tonight. The people from Gezier-et-Fontenelay hadn't phoned back; Marie tried phoning again but still no response. Marie seemed confident that it would be OK but we weren't keen on taking a detour to find the people were away on holiday. The conclusion was that if they contacted Marie she would phone us as we walked, if not we would have to carry on towards Besancon. Marie said there were commercial hotels, like Formula 1, on the outskirts of the town in the suburb of Ecole Valentin, which was about 8 km before Besancon. With that decided we settled down to breakfast; orange juice, coffee, bread and jam. After a few photographs we made our 'au revoirs' and were on our way.
Alison Raju, the author of our guide book, must have had an off-day when she wrote today's route. Routes through junctions were badly described, road numbers were wrongly stated, where we were to turn light at a church it was straight on and where we should have turned left she said straight on. With all these obstacles we managed to keep on track and only once, when the path we were on suddenly came to an abrupt end, had to backtrack to find the correct way. Our other concern was still accommodation and shortly after starting out we resigned ourselves to a long day on our feet. Mentally we aimed to make for Ecole Valentin and that was 34 km. With our minds set on that distance it wasn't a disappointment or hardship when we didn't get a call from Marie during the morning.
The first difficulty with the route was getting out of Frasna-le-Chateau. It was bigger than we though and on the other side of a small river there was the gite and a lot of cars parked outside so it could well have been full and there was a restaurant. But we overcame the problems route finding and were soon on a narrow lane that veered away from the busy D394. It took us to the village of Grachaux and we were following waymarks now for the Via Francigena (VF) but just after a Y-junction the VF went one way while Cicerone took the other fork. Again it was on a quite lane through woods and fields until we met the busier D5 into Oiselay then we were supposed to continue on that road to the next little village of Bunnevent-Velloreille. Unfortunately the D5 turned left at the end of the village and the signposted listed towns were not on our route. The road going straight on didn't have a number or any other indication where it went . We scratched our heads, consulted the guide book and map them asked somebody. She spoke a little English and told us to take the road going straight on. This minor road turned out to be the D3 and took us directly to Bunnevent-Velloreille.
We stopped there at a lavoir for our morning break and spoke to the post man. He seemed to know about the VF and congratulated us on having made it all the way from Canterbury. Well I think that's what he said as it was all done in sign language and the odd word we understood. These villages were beginning to get bigger and this one had a shop. Moira got a baguette and a packet of soup for emergencies.
A short distance after leaving Bunnevent-Velloreille our route did a loop around the village of Monthuillon that we could see over to our right, eventually coming round again to the small town of Etuz. But the D3 we were on went directly to Etuz saving about a kilometre, ever little helps on a long stretch like today. The road had a fair amount of traffic but we were able to walk safely with a large grassy verge beside the road. We stopped in Etuz for a 5 minute break and a breather before doing the short distance to Cussey-sur-l'Ognon where we had lunch on a bench in the churchyard.
This was where we intended stopping for the night but the hotel was reportedly closed for holidays. La Vieille Auberge was opposite where we were having our lunch, the restaurant was certainly open. We thought about enquiring about a bed but as it was only 1pm we decided we had plenty of time to do the 13 km to where there was supposed to be a hotel.
It was after getting going again that we ran into wrong turning directions and incorrect road numbers, but we survived. It was a fairly pleasant walk now away from the roads and on quite lanes and tracks. Eventually after the village of Geneuille we could see the outskirts and suburbs of Besancon, the houses became more plentiful and there were railway lines to cross, level crossings and motorways running nearby. Soon we entered the suburbs of Besancon and it was getting more and more built up. Ahead of us at the bottom of a hill we could see an industrial area and a large shopping mall. A signpost included an arrow to a hotel, it was also the way we were going and the VF waymark arrows. We didn't find that particular hotel but a short distance along the road there was a Formula 1 advertising rooms at €30. We went straight in and soon were in a bedroom that was small but very good for the price. There was a Carrefour supermarket in the mall next to the hotel and Moira went there straight away for beers while I had a shower. The room wasn't en suite and I had to go to the showers down the corridor. They were actually much better and larger than the tiny cubicles you get in these hotels when included in the room. When Moira returned we lay on the bed and had our beer. After Moira showered she did the washing, especially our tops which hadn't been washed for weeks and were beginning to smell.
There didn't seem to be any WIFI but Moira tried our SIM card on her phone as a router and there was a good signal through that. Margaret came through almost straight away on Face Time and we had a chat, Ewan was still at nursery but we saw Rhys who was sound asleep in his cot. With such a good signal I posted my blog and managed to get the photos uploaded this time. I also sent off an email to Eric Baxter at the 'Greenock Telegraph'. I am now all up to date with our correspondence.
For dinner we went over to the mall to the pizzeria for a take-away. While I waited for the pizza Moira went to the supermarket for a bottle of plonk. On the way back to the room we saw a notice saying there was in fact free WIFI available. After our meal Moira went to reception and once she had registered found we could get it our room. She returned and registered my iPad as well. We were able to listen to the radio, the signal was so good. I went into BBC iPlayer and we got last week's 'Now Show' a current affairs comedy.
For tomorrow we decided to book here for another night and walk into Besancon in the morning without our packs. We can see if there is a place to stay there for the following night then after some sightseeing get the bus back. Moira checked on the 'booking.com' website for hotels in Besancon and found them very expansive, we are just as well staying at the cheap Formula 1 and using the buses.