Day 17 ( or Stage if you prefer - just ringing the changes). Saulieu - Buxy ( should be Chalons-sur-Soane!). Yes we have gone off piste, so to speak. Today was billed as an easy day; as is tomorrow with a really long haul involving Lyon in 2 days time. This now seemed silly, so rather than going into Chalons ( the thought of trying to negotiate another French town was offputting), we decided it would be better to push on a little further than Chalons, thus shortening the journey to Cluny where we hope to linger a little. And also allowing us to go beyond Macon. Our stay in Saulieu was pleasant. The Hotel de la Poste must have been the staging in the past. Behind the main building an arcaded walkway that made one think of The Globe; inside narrow corridors (now a brilliant orange) with wooden beams. But the room was comfortable, the meal excellent, the service friendly. We set off in rain - as forecast. Luckily at first it was quite light, but gradually became much fiercer as we climbed the next range of Burgundian hills. Around us heavily wooded rolling countryside. Though not the same, it did make me think that this is the sort of landscape one might once have found in Scotland before the disappearance of the Caledonian Forest. We left most if the spreading arable fields and we're now surrounded by vineyards while the road was lined with placards announcing the next domaine. This is the country of les Grands Vins. Though we didn't stop we also saw signs to chateaux - Rully and Germolles. Both are medieval. Rully XII century, Germolles dating 1364 when Philippe the bold (Philippe le Hardi) became Duke of Burgundy. It was then developed and decorated by his energetic (and wealthy wife) Margaret of Flanders. Wirth a visit one day? The best part of rage journey was a lovely long glide down the Voie Verte which is down the converted railway, but even when we left it it, the road wasn't too bad though once again up and down ( but not quite so much). By now the rain had gone just a bit of wind. There were sparrow hawks, a kite, and I think, a buzzard all on the hunt. The roadsides crowded with flowers as were the roads in the IK - yarrow, birds foot trefoil, vetches, red campion, comfrey...and now here dog roses. We rolled into Buxy in very good time. I had I not had great expectations but it is a lovely town of medieval origen. Our hotel is eccentric to say the least - as is our hostess. She runs an antique/bric-à-brac shop attached and the building which is XVIII century is full of objects of all kinds, higgeldy-pigeldy. I am not sure if they are part of her stock, or part of her life - the effect is extraordinary. Just like the amazing house in Arbonne - a homage to the past. She, herself, has been very kind giving us a guided tour of the village and the church of which she seems to be the chatelaine. We then set off to look for food. I may say looking for food in France is proving as difficult as looking for water in the Sahara. The two restaurants in Buxy were either closed or full - we have coincided with a First Communion tomorrow and the families of the communicants have descended or will descent on Buxy. So we ended up in the local pizzeria with a group of VERY noisy Belgians. The pizzas were the best ever, the service super - and Italian ice cream.
Tomorrow we go to Cluny - then a leap into the unknown. Julian has created a new route!!!