Day 37 – Walking the Via Francigena – Geneuille To Besançon, France – Arriving In Besançon, A Magnificent Historical City

Day 37 – Walking the Via Francigena – Geneuille To Besançon, France – Arriving In Besançon, A Magnificent Historical City

Slowly but surely, we are making our way towards the Alps.
Besançon is the last city we will reach before climbing into the French Alps and then into the Swiss Alps.

Besançon has been continuously occupied since the Bronze age (1500 BCE).
From the 1st century BC all through the modern era, the town has had a significant military importance because of the Alps that rise abruptly to its immediate south, presenting a significant natural barrier.

In just two days, we will be making our way through this natural barrier, towards Switzerland.

For days now I have been waiting to arrive here and to see this city.
There were of course practical reasons I wanted to arrive here.
First it is a place where we can finally do our laundry.
We have been washing our laundry by hand in the shower every night, but now our rain gear is full of mud, and it will be nice to get all of our clothing wonderfully clean.

The second reason was that I would be able to buy my shampoo and conditioner, in a store that sells a non sulfate olive oil brand that I love.

Then there is the stunning architecture of the city, the river and canals surrounding the city, and the many cobble stone streets full of interesting shops to look at, and restaurants and cafes, an ancient cathedral and art.

To get to Besançon, we walked through farms, then climbed a mountain range and then walked through a long stretch of suburbs with strip malls and chain shops.
We had some hills to climb but nothing too steep.

Along the way, we stopped at a pharmacy to buy Jules some anti gas chewable tablets.
All this French food does not always agree with his stomach.
At home, our diet of only fruit, vegetables and nuts, is a big contrast to this rich cuisine.

The Pharmacist plied me with many gifts.
She opened up a drawer and selected all sorts of moisturizing creams and gels and oil samples, and handed them to me.
I accepted them with gratitude, but a small part of me was wondering if I looked so washed out and in need of pampering…..

Probably I do….
It is not easy to walk all day long in the sun and the rain and the wind, with hardly any places to sit and rest, climbing mountains and hills and sweating all day long.
Often I do not feel nor look like myself.

We arrived in the old part of Besançon in time for a late lunch.
The old city center lies on a horseshoe bend in the Doubs River.
The health food cafe I had chosen, lies right on the river.

We ordered fresh carrot, orange and apple juice.
Jules ordered an avocado toast and I ordered the “Mermaid Bowl.”
The Mermaid bowl was made with Spirulina and blue alge, bananas, raisins, pineapple and nuts.

It looked really blue and it might not sound so delicious to you, but I almost cried when I ate it.
To my taste buds, it tasted like a nectar that came directly from Heaven, better than any french gourmet feast I had eaten.

After one gets used to the taste of fresh juices and healthy food, it is very hard to love heavy and calorie laden food.
A bowl of fresh raspberries with nuts and a glass of fresh juice, taste so much better to me than fresh baguettes with butter and jam for breakfast.

We lingered in the cafe, ordering an almond milk cappuccino and a freshly made cookie, before we finally paid our bill and left.
Our hotel is located in the center of the old town.
We checked in, unloaded our backpacks and went to do our laundry and to the tourist information center to stamp our pilgrims’ passports and scroll.

The old city, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is busy with lots of shops, outdoors cafes, restaurants, markets and street vendors.
It feels vibrant and alive.
The architecture is very picturesque.

The Besançon Cathedral has a unique 70-­dial astronomical clock, that indicates the sunrise and sunset, eclipses, and tides in the French ports.

We walked the streets until dinner time, and chose to eat Thai street food in one of the many Asian restaurants in town.
For dessert we had a very good orange crepe in a place that specializes in French crepes.

Tomorrow is a rest day and a sightseeing day for us.
Wishing you a world of good,

Today’s Stats:
Daily Steps – 32,467 Steps
9 hours of walking
Active walking time – 6 hours
Daily Kilometers – 24 Km
Total Kilometers walked from Canterbury UK – 841.5 km

Hôtel de Paris in Besançon
A centrally located hotel with an artistic design and very comfortable rooms.

2 Comments on “Day 37 – Walking the Via Francigena – Geneuille To Besançon, France – Arriving In Besançon, A Magnificent Historical City”

  1. Hi Fariba,
    It is great to hear from you!
    The weather now is getting colder (40-50 degrees Fahrenheit ) and there is lots of rain coming up…. wish us luck!
    Love and blessings,
    Tali and Jules

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