I’ve become qualified in dejamboning the French vegetarian sandwich and I expect to master the depoulet soon. I’ve been surprised how dehamming creates disproportionate outrage in rural cafes and brasseries. I’ve concluded that since pigs and chickens are vegetarian, they may be locally considered a legitimate ingredient in a vegetarian sandwich. No wonder I’ve upset so many people.
And again, the vegetarian options on tonight’s menu included salad (with smoked trout) and fish and chips. It seems fish isn’t meat near the source of the Marne.
Changing topic. It’s been noted that we’re doing a world war tour. Let me tell you that we’re actually on the front lines. We’ve encountered several squads of conscripts marching on the canals. The unpleasant roar of fighter jets on manoeuvres has been overhead for days (and one night). If I was rereading Patrick Leigh Fermor (especially ‘In a Time of Gifts’), I’d be thinking about fascism. Come to think of it, PLFs trip from London to the Danube in the 1930’s is a key reason why I’m on this journey to Rome.
I wish I wasn’t wondering about war but these lands are littered (I intend no disrespect) with cemeteries of soldiers, serried rows of them. But what about the civilians? Let’s be honest, if a civilian is killed in war, it’s a murder. Collateral (in English at least) is a pledge. How does the term ‘collateral damage’ offer justice to the civilians that forfeited lives to the barbarity of others? And where are they buried?
We had coffee and lunch in medieval hilltop Langres. We earned it. The 15% gradient to climb the limestone promontory was brutal. Hometown of Diderot, many say his Encyclopédie paved the way to the French Revolution.
And so another 61 km was erased today. Then the rain arrived. Thunderstorms and downpours. But we were spared, arriving at our hotel as the rain started. Wow, 700 km are behind us already.