Briare

3 May 2011
Winter quarters in Briare lived up to and exceeded any expectations we may have had.
 It was also like a true home-coming, our return after the summer, we had such a welcome,
 from our friends to the folk in the shops who wanted to know all about our summer travels,
 where we had been, and fill us in on local news. Within a very short time a routine appeared:
 – short walks around the canal and river banks each day, with regular outings further afield of 10 or 16 km
 each Sunday, whereby we saw a huge amount of the extensive & lovely oak woods and surrounding hinterland,
 organised by the local Walking Club, a warm and welcoming group, of which we quickly became members.
  8.00 a.m. starts in all weathers, with a stop in the open air, in tents, farm sheds, or village halls
for‘re-victualling’- hot drinks, little snacks and home for noon or so;  great camaraderie and fun,
 as well as good exercise. Funny experiences, too. Shortly before leaving in April, there was a trip
with another club, by bus, to the Walkers ‘Salon’ (Show) in Paris, including a 12km walk in the renowned
Bois de Boulogne beforehand.  An experience not to be missed, we decided, and enrolled with enthusiasm.
A crack-of-dawn departure from Briare, a late bus, an abandoned coffee/comfort stop on the way due to the
Service Halt being closed, and no facilities at the Start on arrival, as well as persistent rain and at times,
 heavy rain, meant a heads down dash through the Bois and adjacent streets of Paris, before arriving,
a sorry-looking group of over-heated, hungry, muddy, sodden, dripping (and cross-legged) folk at the Salon.
So much for Parisian style & elegance!

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