I may have been back from France for nearly a month now, with the intention of staying in Britain for the forseeable future but I’ve been too preoccupied to have a proper look at my photos or write this post. But I’ve got a spare bit of time so here goes – it’s going to be a bit of a whirlwind so stick with me.
The snow disappeared pretty soon after it came along, but at least that meant we could carry on doing useful work (mainly clearing brambles still) but also shovelling manure, moving gigantic rocks, and my own personal project of building a fence to help stop a tractor falling down a hill.
Thanks to the mildly less rural location of Engenthal we were also able to go and do some tourism, mainly thanks to native French workawayer Coralise having her own car.
After Coralise had finished her stay it was down to Paula and I to spend our weekends getting lost (every time) on 5-hour-plus walks around the hills.
Some photos from our walk up Schneeberg which I think I mentioned in my last post. The first photo is of a story which was spookily accurate. It tells of the wife of a lumberjack who decides to visit him in the woods one day. She ends up getting more and more lost and more and more distressed despite knowing the paths very well, until she eventually finds a shrine to Saint Catherine. She prays to Saint Catherine to save her and hears a voice telling her to remove a blade of grass from the hem of her skirt and she will find her way home. She does so and soon returns to her home, her husband and children.
We found this story in a wooden shelter after having taken the wrong path for half an hour in the process of looking for a particular wooden shelter. Not thinking we were in the right place we re-traced our steps to the very beginning of the walk and started again, properly, this time. Sure enough, we realised that the new path we were on would take us straight back to the shack so we sacked that off and took a very steep short-cut to the summit instead. We only fully understood that it was in fact the right shack when we returned from the walk about 4 hours later, having missed another path later on as well.
At least I had good company and a pain au raisin to keep my spirits up. (Oh, how I love pain au raisin).
We thought we’d try our luck a few weeks later with a less treacherously snowy walk to the rocher de Rosskopf (the horse-head rock).
Amazingly, this time when we thought we were lost (but actually weren’t) we were able to blame the markers we were supposed to be following. We were on a path with two sets of markers which would split off at some point when suddenly we realised we were only seeing one of the markers: the wrong one. So we scrambled down a sheer slope to the next track, retraced out steps and ended up taking the exact same path but paying more attention. The same thing happened so, carrying on, our desired markers re-appeared. Good – missing markers. Looks like Alsace is definitely French in some respects.
So end my travels in France. I think it’s safe to say that I had my horizons broadened, which is what people who travel say they want to do, and my horizons were broadened in more ways than I expected. But it’s time to get a job now. Wish me luck.