De Somme en Aube
Exiting Reims, my route stretches out over the Riverlands of the Somme, littered with ancient and abandoned buildings, watermills and, heavy industry. After two days of walking, I reach Chalons with its magnificent Cathedral. Continuing down the canal, the scenery reminds me of the Netherlands as I walk over the dikes past pastures and small forests.
In one of these small, picturesque villages I encountered a shop; hilariously providing every single need of the average French farmer: it sold petrol from two small machines, beer and wine at a small two-table-terrace, lotto tickets, croissants and coffee, and every Wednesday they use their oven to bake pizzas.
By now my injuries are starting to heal, and I feel more confident in finishing the Camino. Both physically and mentally I am getting used to the new daily rhythm of packing up my tent; walking for a few hours, breakfast, walk more; enter a village to purchase provisions before lunch; then walking the final stretch to a forest and making camp.
Before long the canals and Somme make way for meadows and medieval villages, places where the stories of the Brothers Grimm come to life. At the end of the week I reach Bar sur Aube, start ascending into the small foothills of Franche-Comte and the thicker forests of Burgundy.