Thursday, June 26

Postcard from Burgundy V: Burgundy on foot

Tyler and I returned from our 3-night "on foot" adventure yesterday. On the whole it was great. The walking was very beautiful. It was much more challenging than we anticipated. It was HOT and the sun was mighty intense. We didn't realize how heavy our packs would be... we didn't realize we would go over so many hills and travel on narrow footpaths... we didn't think about missing trail markers and getting a bit lost.... Mostly, we thought every village would have at least a small store and restaurant. We were wrong! 
Day #1 Beaune to Puligny-Montrachet
Splurge night at La Maison d'Olivier LeFlaive 
We walked about 10 miles... flat and easy. The challenge was time. We didn't leave Beaune until 4:30 PM. We arrived by 8 PM. We had a shower and then indulged in the special tapas menu.
Day #2 Puligny-Montrachet to Saint Romain
This was a very challenging day. We walked about 12 miles through steep hills and rugged little footpaths. It took us 5-6 hours before we finally arrived in Saint Romain. We were hot, thirsty and exhausted. We were shocked and horrified to learn that the one restaurant in town was CLOSED (on Mondays and Tuesdays). There was no store, no bar, no bakery... NOTHING!
We found our B&B Domain Corgette. The owner had left a note that she had an emergency and had to leave until 6 PM. She left the key so we were able to get into our room. I raided the house looking for a cold drink... ANYTHING! All I could find was milk, butter, yogurt, and confiture (jam). By amazing luck, we passed a school on the way to the B&B. We saw a teacher and children playing in the schoolyard. We called the teacher over to ask if he knew of any place for us to get a cold drink. Fortunately he spoke English. He was able to see that we were in a bad situation. He told us to come back to the school at 7 PM. He said that the kids were doing a special little concert and there would be beer. Our inn keeper returned around 6 PM and informed us that we didn't have any options other than taking a taxi to Beaune for dinner, so we went to the concert... hoping. Sure enough it was a charming evening. Elementary-aged children from three villages played the drums and sang sweet little French songs. At 7:30 there was an intermission and cold refreshments were served. We bought SEVEN beers (one for the kind teacher who invited us). It still didn't look like we would be able to get any dinner. The kind and generous teacher Ivan told us that we should stay until the end of the concert. He explained that all of the families have brought food (and wine) for a "potluck" (not his word).  We are so glad that we did. Word started to spread among the French families as to who we were and why we were there. There was an outpouring of kindness and generosity. Most of the families did not speak English, but we tried our best to communicate. People were filling our plates and pouring wine in our glass. We finally met a lovely mom named Sophie. Her English was great and she took us under her wing. We ended up having the best evening on our trip. We stayed until after 11 and walked home rather full and intoxicated. It was an evening that we won't forget.
Day #3 Saint-Romain to Meloisey
This was our shortest walk... maybe only 3-4 miles, but we still had a few good climbs. We were happy to get into Meloisey by 1 PM... We were ready to rest and relax at our B&B Marie Calou. As you might have noticed from the link, everything is in French. Our lovely host, Marie Helene, did not speak any English. Really... NOTHING!!. We tried our best to speak some French to her and NOTHING... she didn't seem to understand us. We had a complete communication failure. Our concern was Meloisey also had no restaurant, store or bakery. We needed Marie Calou to make us dinner and we couldn't seem to understand if she would. She was kind enough to wash our very stinky clothes... Finally at 4 PM I mustered up the courage to tell her that we were thirsty (J'ai soif) and we would like a cold drink (Je voudrais boissson froid). Hooray... she understood and gave me a coke and an orangina. She gave us glasses, but no ice. I wasn't about to try and ask for that. I don't know the word for "ice". We were thrilled to have these cool drinks by the pool. Oh yes... her property was delightful with a really nice pool. At 7 PM we went into the dining room. She continued to try and explain something. We finally realized that she was telling us that she had other dinner plans. She offered us wine, bread, cheese and a charcuterie platter.  We had not eaten since breakfast. We were so hungry. It was all wonderful.
Day #4 Meloisey to Beaune
This would have been probably the longest and most difficult walk. We decided that we were not up for it. We were eager to return to Beaune by noon, so we managed to get a ride from Marie Calou. Perhaps our communication improved slightly, but we still had no idea what she was saying. It was very kind of her to drive us to town.

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