Am posting this as an email blog as I have to pay for internet here so photos later. Yesterday I had thought about taking a half day off and staying at a B&B run by an American couple in the Champagne Valley, but that didn’t work out. I found somewhwe to buy extra water (to be on the safe side as it was Sunday) and check my tyres and set off to see my first vines! I had wondered where they all were. This was marvellous, the route meandered way above the Marne still undulating but the views made every climb worthwhile!
I then went up a steep hill out of the Champagne valley and as I got off to push a lady walking the other way said something about “morte”, presumably going up here is murder!
The rest of the day was very pleasant cross crountry stuff through quaint little well-cared for villages – this was more how I had imagines rural France. The journey got easier as I went along and the last part was very English.
Unfortunately after always finding a room easily apart from yesterday I again made the mistake of not phoning ahead. All that time I had spent preparing lists of hotels and ensuring I had phone numbers!!! If I had have done, i could have taken a slightly different route towads the end to another one I had noted. Anyway I arived at this pleasant little town of Villiers-Cotteret to find “my” hotel was full, the next rather shabby looking one seemed to be closed and I ended up staying in a rather expensive one. Here there was also noone in reception but a French family was waiting and the lady told me she had phoned for someome to come. I probably could have done this at the other place, but decided not to go back.
The receptionist, when he came, was a very charming elderly gentleman (well, he looked a bit older than me) who spoke PERFECT English and German. He explained to me that on Sundays all the restaurants are closed except a pizzeria and a Chinese. I chose the latter, which was good and reasonable. but there were only 2 other tables occupied. Hopefully more later.