Day 39 – Walking the Via Francigena – Besançon To Ornans, France – A Hilly Scenic Walk And Seeing The Art Of Gustav Courbet And Yan Pei-Ming

Day 39 – Walking the Via Francigena – Besançon To Ornans, France – A Hilly Scenic Walk And Seeing The Art Of Gustav Courbet And Yan Pei-Ming

The city of Besançon was just waking up as we checked out of our hotel.
The garbage men were emptying the trash containers on the streets, restaurants were unloading cases of drinks into their storage rooms, and bars were rolling in barrels of beer.

We have planned a long day of walking for today, so we started the day early.
Instead of having breakfast in the hotel, we decided to try the Bagel shop in town.
We ordered our veggie bagels to eat now, and ordered extra for our lunch.
We knew that we would not have places to eat lunch along the way.

We walked out of town through one of the ancient gates.
I passed by and gave some money to a homeless older woman who wore tattered clothes and no shoes.
She looked like one of the character in Victor Hugo’s novels, a bit crazy, unkempt and angry.
She held plastic bags with nothing but more crumpled plastic bags inside them.
I walked away with sadness in my heart.

The climb over the mountains that surround Besançon took us on a very steep road that went up and beyond the Citadel.
It was much harder to climb it with our backpacks than without them, as we had done yesterday when we visited the Citadel.

The Via Francigena turned into a mountain trail, and we saw some trail runners using it for a workout.
We emerged in a tiny village with a charming old church.
It was the first of many small charming villages we passed today, all of them scenic with herds of cows in the fields, stone houses and an old church.

We continued climbing a series of hills and descents, at times through the forest, until we entered a long valley.
The cliffs towered above on both sides of us, as we walked by the side of a fairly busy road. 

We continued this descent all the way to Ornans.
We had a goal to get to the museum of Gustave Courbet, in Ornans, before they closed for the day.

Gustave Courbet was a famous realistic painter who lived in Oranans and often painted the river, the rural landscape, farms, portraits and animals.

We hurried and made only one stop at a supermarket in town, to get some cookies as snacks for days of walking when we can get no lunch.

We got to the museum with plenty of time to visit before they closed at six in the evening.
We left our backpacks at the front and walked around enjoying the permanent collection artwork of Courbet and a temporary exhibition of a Chinese painter named Yan Pei-Ming.

Yan Pei-Ming is a Chinese painter born in 1960 in Shanghai.
Since 1982 he has lived in Dijon, France.
His most famous paintings are “large-sized” portraits of Mao Zedong in black and white or red and white.

In contrast to the realism of the paintings of Gustave Courbet,
Yan Pei-Ming works with big brushes, and often allows drips to cover his paintings, using rapid, smearing brush strokes.
The effect is wonderful and very expressive.

Gustav Courbet painted in a very dark palette.
He did not use bright colors and his varnish oil paintings look almost black.
It is a striking effect, as the barely lit subject melts into the darkness of its surroundings.

The museum was fairly busy, perhaps because it was the last day of the temporary exhibition.
We were lucky to see it on the last day and in the last hour before it closed.

Across from the museum there is an outdoor cafe.
We had not had a warm tea all day, and it was nice to finally sit and enjoy good ice cream and tea.

For dinner, we had the local trout at a restaurant in town.
This river is famous for trout fishing, and beside river rafting and rock climbing, it is well known as a great fishing destination.

We were served a trout terrine, trout with almonds and butter and a dessert.

I am tired tonight so I will say good night to you,

Today’s Stats:
Daily Steps – 40,907 Steps
8 hours of walking
Active walking time – 7 hours
Daily Kilometers – 30 Km
Total Kilometers walked from Canterbury UK – 882.5 km

Hôtel de France in Ornans, France
A centrally located hotel with spacious, comfortable rooms.

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