Tuesday, January 13, 2009

France 1, New Zealand 0

We are in North East England, still in transit to New Zealand, still fitting very little walking in, partly because of the travelling, being in strange places, having only one suitcase of clothes each, and partly because of the weather - we have come through deep snows in France and it was -7 degrees C. when we arrived in UK.

Also getting in very little bloggery. My laptop is in for repair and I am dependent on the kindness of friends and relatives in granting me access to their computers - a kindness one does not like to abuse by being unsociable and staying on there too long.

So it will be another posting in which I report on the "fitness for purpose" of the walking route through France as provided by Multimap. If you recall, the objective of our 3-day trek through France was to follow this route (in the car) to see whether it was indeed a safely walkable journey. More on that in a couple of days.

My last decent walk before leaving home was, as reported, the rail trail from Mirepoix to Chalabre and onwards. A great walk, if a little flat. There are three railway tunnels to go through. It is here that New Zealand has something to learn from France. We have walked and cycled similar rail trails in NZ, also well supplied with tunnels. In New Zealand, if you have not remembered to carry a torch, you have a bit of a problem. Especially on a gloomy day, it can be somewhat hazardous or at the least difficult. All three tunnels between Mirepoix and Lavelanet are brightly lit. For the middle one, there is the dreadful chore of having to raise your arm and press a switch. In the other two tunnels, there is a walker/cyclist/runner/horseperson detector which saves you all that trouble. A real benefit is that the lights do not go off while you are halfway through.

I said above that we are not doing much walking. But I have worn my pedometer some days as an experiment and have been surprised by the results. Even on days when I have been driving from breakfast to mid-afternoon, the pedometer has registered 5 or 6 kms per day, just walking backwards and forwards from the car to the hotel, into town, out for dinner. So I am not being quite as slothful as on first impression.

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