I’m in Sete tonight. How did I get to be here? Read on.

Getting out of Montpellier took nearly three hours of weaving my way through city and suburban streets. I never cover as much distance as when I’m on the open road because I have to keep referring to my maps to make sure I’m still on track. I have my own etiquette when it comes to using the toilet facilities of bars and cafes like I did this morning on my way out if Montoellier: purchase something during these short visits, like a cup of tea or a bottle of water. I would feel extremely uncomfortable if I didn’t do this.

Up to around midday the sky was clear and sunny after which it clouded over and threatened to rain for the rest of the day. Some towns have a really nice feel about them. They’re a pleasure to walk throuugh. Laverune is one of those towns with its mixture of old and new buildings, clean appearance, and proud public buildings. I stopped just outside Laverune and ate amongst a small stand of pine trees.

Beyond Laverune the roads became narrow country strips just a few metres wide. This was an area of very small plots of vineyards. None of the district I walked through today was as intensively farmed as what I have seen so far in France. There
seemed go be a lot of idle land. Different stands of grape vines have different characteristics. There are the unruly vines. They’re the ones where the stringy unproductive branches have not been trimmed from them. Then there’s the proud, stately vines. They’re then ones which stand on strong, mature trunks which are wrinkled with age. And finally there are the dignified vines. They’re very upright and have well formed branches in a symetrical shape.

I was tired today, and as you would expect tiredness gets to me towards the end of the day. Last night I spent a lot of time looking at two different routes I could take
to Chartres and working out distances between villages. It was around 1.00am before I got to sleep. I was awake a little after six. This is defiantkely not enough sleep for what I am doing, but when you get into town arund 5.0pm, which was the time I arrived in Montpellier, by the time I unpack, wash my clothes, shower, and eat, it can be after 10.00pm. Fitting in some relaxation time before sleep can be difficult.

I took a wrong turn about mid afternoon and ended up in a village called Courmonterral. As things turned out it was about the same distance to my final stopping point had I not gone off course. It came as a great surprise to me to see
that pulsating blue dot on my satelite navigation to be not where it was supposed to be. This isnnot the first time its happened.

Last night when doing my course plotting I noticed how close Sete was to where I planned to stay the night. Sete is a large city built on an island joined to the mainland by a long thin isthmus on one side and reclaimed swamp land on the other. My neighbour Mireille, who live across the street from me in Lilyfield and who is French, has a house in Sete. Before I left Australia she gave me her contact details and invited me to give her a call when I was in France. I called her. She picked me
up in Montbazin and I’m staying tonight at her home which has an impressive view to the east towards Marseilles and to the north over a lake. As you might expect, Sete has a history with the sea and so it wasn’t hard to find a seafood restaurant to have dinner.

I’m undecided about my plans for tomorrow. I’ve been invited to stay for as long as I like. I’ll sleep on it. Today demonstrated how spontaneity plays its part in my journey.

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