Quarter past ten we left the campground in Heuilley, in the direction of Auxonne. It was very hot, the first kilometers were again relaxed along the “la veue bleue”. After about 8 km we went again a shortcut, but this time on solid roads, so we shared the road with the cars, or better said, we simply and quite cheekily, a piece of road for us off. This actually always works very well, we walk on the left side to see oncoming traffic in time and then walk quickly behind each other instead of side by side. In general, the French like to drive fast, but give pedestrians a wide berth if possible. So far there has been no honking or complaining, everything has always been very friendly. Only one stretch was a bit critical, the road very narrow, lots of trucks and tractors, and the whole thing was a highway feeder road to boot. It got really exciting when a traffic sign came up, which in Germany means that this road becomes a highway in 500 meters. But here was only meant that in 500 m comes a highway entrance. That’s when I trusted my Locus-map app and was happy to see that it was right. But one, two, three drops of sweat did drip from the forehead, with the worry of suddenly finding oneself as a pedestrian on a highway and becoming the star of the traffic report.

Arriving in Auxonne, we agreed to stay there for three nights. When it was clear that we would spend the three nights on the campground in a mobile home, Johanna’s heart was beating with joy. A bed, you can stand, and close the door.

Three nights means two full days. The second day was planned as a rest day and the first for a trip to Dijon.

Still in the evening of arrival I explored Auxonne and its train station. The station was unspectacular, two tracks, a ticket machine and a closed station building. The city already offered something more, but currently as a construction site. Because the boulevard just got a new floor covering. The new concrete floor, as it is found in many cities, stood there for me in stark contrast to the rather aged houses, which of course are not renovated. But that’s what makes it kind of interesting.

The next morning it was time to say, “Dijon, Dijon, we’re going to Dijon.” The first hurdle was the ticket machine. While French people are incredibly friendly and helpful, French automatons are incredibly stubborn. Is it possible to set another language? Nope! Okay, then to be on the safe side, launch the Google Translater app, aim at the monitor, and off you go. You have to turn and press the buttons and you should not select the destination station first, but the starting station and confirm it. But eventually I held the train ticket for two adults, from Auxonne to Dijon, 2nd class in my hand. Now we went to the tracks, suddenly there was a ticket validation machine. So I stuffed our ticket in a little uncertainly, the thing beeped at me pretty annoyed, so quickly pull out, turn around, put it in, get paged and now pull out with the realization the whole thing wasn’t necessary. Okay, learned something again.

After three quarters of an hour of waiting, we boarded the regional train to get off again 20 min later, in Dijon.

One “wow” followed the other. While Metz charmed us with its alleys and clichéd French se la vie, and Nancy impressed us with its buildings, Dijon was a gigantic mix of both.

We walked until our legs hurt, then we went back to the train station, pulled a ticket and found out that there was a young couple from Germany standing next to me. Shy as I am, I chatted her up right away. Not two minutes later, my jaw dropped because the young man was from the town where I grew up, Lauter. Of course, I knew his father, who is a year older than me. These are moments when you think “this isn’t really happening now, it can’t be, surely the world isn’t that small?” But it’s exactly these moments that put a permanent grin on your face.

The next day in Auxonne became exactly what it was meant to be, a rest day, we dozed off, optimized the luggage and I went for another walk, dawdling over a huge flea market in the castle of Auxsonne.

Shockingly, I also found that in Dijon, at the station, I couldn’t even have asked for help with train selection. Because I pronounced the place name totally wrong. Why on earth would you write “AUXONNE” if you just call it “Osonn” in the end. I think that’s why French people don’t like to speak in other languages, because they’re totally overwhelmed by their own, right?

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