John Barleycorn gives way to Bacchus. 26.5km.

Tim over slept, Tony in backup mode gets us going. We loose maybe 30minutes before getting starting. Ray bought a hat in Rheims having been using Tony’s spare for a week after loosing his. He may appear in several photos.
We leave town on the Ainsle to Marne Canal and bowl along overtaken by runners and cyclists and rollerbladers everyone trying to stay fit on Sunday at least. We look for a cafĂ© in the small village of St Leonard who comes from Limousine on the other side of France (circa600CE) but he is patron saint of POWs and women in labour, coffee is not high on his wish list. We leave the canal at the village of Sillery the wine from here is mentioned in Patrick O’Brian’s naval novels and did indeed exist as a light white Chardonnay possibly petillant, the Prosecco of it’s time’ it seems it is no more.
Off the canal there and onto roads we cross the A4 autoroute de est and enter a new country. Gone are the fields of barley and potatoes,we are walking through vineyards. Mostly Pinot Noir making various Champagne types including Mumm who own the perching bar in the windmill towards the top of the vineyard. Top is used correctly as the vines are on a southeasterly slope and we are heading SW. Eventually hot and sweating profusely we reach Versenay and an open bar. Madam laments her lack of pression (draft beer) but we are glad of the bottles. She goes on about her lack of customers and the fact that there are three champagne producers with big houses in the village but they don’t live in them. A local who appears to have recently drank a bottle of vintage 2002champagne appears with the bottle, in itself a wonderful creation.
We pass on out of the village past the church where the bells are ringing and the congregation is just leaving across more vineyards and into the woods which are significantly cooler and with some but fewer biting insects than our previous forest path.
There are no campsites in the area but we have now covered over 25km fortunately Betsy phoned a Gite Rural yesterday and booked rooms for us. We emerge from the forest to find the village of Trepail nestling in its vineyards and Ray in the lead is welcomed by madam who is waiting for us
There maybe thunderstorms tonight but we are getting proper washing done for us. Wonderful.

Link to where we are on Google Maps

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