So I asked for directions. The woman who helped me gave good ones, I only needed to find one road and take it “Tout droix, tout droix, tout droix”, an arm churning forward, 15km.
This I could do.
Before leaving town I found one open place- a bar- to refill my water bottle, got some wrong directions, but quickly realized and found my road.
It was taking forever, but I was on my way. My 42k to Langres emboldened me that I could make a very long distance if needed. I trusted the pilgrim host would not turn me away if I took all the daylight of the long summer day to make it to their door. I was, however, running out of water.
I asked the only person on the street, a painter unpacking his tools for the day, for help finding a place to refill my bottle. Instead, he gave me all he had left from his lunchbox, a fresh liter of Perrier, a cookie, a bag of walnuts and hot chocolate and sent me on my way, arms loaded with treats.
It was so kind. I felt in my mouth I had started to become dehydrated and in that moment I would have taken a liter of Perrier over a million dollars.
The mental boost of this unexpected blessing would have taken me the remaining 8 or 10 km. Instead, at the edge of the town, a smartly dressed woman about my mother’s age pulled her little hatchback to the side of the road, climbed out, and offered me a ride to Leffond, my stop for the night! She lived in Paris and was from Leffond, she knew the owners of the place I was staying and the way, and dropped me there in 10 minutes, though we both knew it would have been 10pm by foot.
I can’t a place more wonderful or welcoming to find after a long day than Le Moulin de la Paperterie. I could smell the fire cooking dinner and they had already made a place for me! What’s more, I learned my hosts literally wrote the guidebook for the Via Francigena in France!
I was on the last page of the book I have lived by since Reims, it ends here, in Champlittle. They gave me the new one to take me to Besançon.