Thursday 2 October.
This was to be the actual rest day but also some more sightseeing in Besancon. There was no rush this morning and after reading the newspaper and listening to the radio in bed with a cup of coffee we got up and showered. For breakfast there was a hard boiled egg, yoghurt, bread and jam and coffee. We were ready to go just after 9am. Moira had emptied my rucksack and put lunch, our rain jackets and the iPad in it for me to carry. At the bus stop we had 10 minutes to wait then it took just under half an hour to get into the city centre.
The first thing to do was to head straight up the Rue de la Republique to the Tourist Office. The same woman was there and she had an assistant today, this was fortunate as she dealt with the other visitors and prevented a queue building as our problems took over half an hour to sort out. It wasn't really a big problem, just some of the numbers were wrong or no longer existed. Then when she did make contact they were full or closed from the beginning of October. The woman was very good and worked between the Internet and the phone to eventually get us booked in for the next three nights. Tomorrow we are in a campsite with a gite in Ornans, the next a B&B in Mouthier-Haute-Pierre and when we reach Pontarlier on Sunday it is a pricey hotel at €65 for the room. We were very happy with all the work the woman had done and I think she was quite pleased to be of assistance and wished us well on our pilgrimage.
When we left the office we headed up the hill towards the Cathedral and carried on up a further very steep climb to the Citadelle. This one looked like a castle or fort high on top of the hill overlooking the town. As we came up towards the gate in the high walls a bridge crossed a very deep moat. Down at the bottom, now dried up, were a family of baboons from imported from Ethiopia.
Through the gate and still climbing within the outer walls we then came to a ticket office. The price to go further was €9:60 each, out with our tight budget so we turned and headed down again. We were satisfied with what we had seen of the fortifications and were also reward for our climb with more outstanding views of the whole city and surrounding countryside. It could be an expensive day out for a family visiting the Citadelle as they wanted another €5 for the car park.
We took the road down rather than risk the steep stairway again. We went round the other side of the Cathedral at the bottom and found where the astrological clock was that we looked for yesterday. It was through a doorway at the rear of the Cathedral but it was only open at set times and the next one wasn't until mid-afternoon. We continued down to the bottom and found a road that led to the other side of the loop in the river. There was a lovely park area with seats and splendid views of the Citadelle walls perched at the top of a shear rocky cliff rising above the river. We found a spot in the sun and had lunch, bread and chicken today with a beer.
We headed along the river path towards the cliffs and checked out the exit route from Besancon for tomorrow. There was a yellow arrow for the VF on a wall so we were happy to have found a positive indication. We turned back and followed the path along the river all the way round the top of the 'oxbow'. It was a lovely walk and the river is beautiful. On the other side the buildings were large and tall and majestic.
From our map we were able to pick out the main highlights, the tower of the Eglise Sainte-Madeleine, the Synagogue, and the Tour de la Pelote. We found that sightseeing wasn't a relaxing way to spend a rest day and were both feeling tired, we decided when we reached the Pont de la Republique to just catch the bus back. There was a No 20 waiting at the stop, we hurried and got a ticket from the machine but we had plenty of time the driver was having a snooze.
When we arrived back at Valentin Moira went shopping again while I headed for the hotel. I was going to have a cup of coffee but forgot to get the lighter from Moira. Instead I went to reception where the Internet is really strong and posted my blog. It uploaded in a few minutes with about six photos. I was still working on the Internet when Moita got back and returned to the room with her for a belated cup of coffee.
Tonight we had dinner in the room again. Moira cooked on the Gaz stove. We had mushroom soup then chicken and noodles. It was very good and we listened to the radio until it was time to get to sleep. It was back on the road again tomorrow and the route is now going to start to become hilly and mountainous. So we need plenty of rest.