Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Tuesday walk: pre-Sèvre

Today, Tuesday the 23rd, I did my second walk to the city of Niort. This time around, I followed the bike path all the way into the city. The result was a much safer walk that kept me out of traffic, but it was also 9,000 steps longer than last time (42K versus 33K).

I was pretty exhausted by the end of the walk, mainly because I hadn't taken along anything to drink. When I got to Niort's train station and tried guzzling a soda, I almost vomited as if I had starved myself for five days. Lesson learned. But learned too late: this will be my final hike to Niort. I've taken in a great deal from my exploration of the region, and there's so much more to see and study, but I'm now too close to my Saturday departure date to seriously contemplate another huge walk.

Not wanting to bore you with repeated pictures of the marsh, I started taking pictures only once I had gotten to the town of Magné (pronounce it "mah-nyay"). This first one was hilarious:

The joke is that Magné sounds a lot like the slang verb se magner, which means to hurry (like se dépêcher). The imperative forms would be Magne-toi! and Magnez-vous! Add le cul to the end of Magnez-vous, and you're a drill sergeant barking, "Move yer ass!"

Below, a look at suburban Magné. Many of these houses come with high brick or cinder-block walls enclosing properties that vary greatly in look: some feature green yards and gardens, while others are more austere and abstract, being little more than half-acre plots covered in gravel.

Also of note: I missed a sign somewhere and got turned around, thus requiring me to fire up my GPS to un-fuck myself. I may have wasted close to an hour by taking a winding path along the streets that led me to a point on Route D9 that was a mile east of where I needed to be.

Below: I can't remember whether I had already photographed this spot, but it's where I made my fateful command decision, last Tuesday, to ignore the arrow pointing to Niort and follow Route D9 straight east to the city. My decision got me to Niort faster, but at the expense of safety.

This time around, I went left and west... and barely ten meters later, I encountered another sign pointing downward: a sign I had missed last time. As I suspected would happen, the bike-trail signs ended up describing a U-turn that took me east, but along the local river, la Sèvre niortaise.

At that same decision-point, there was a community building with a public toilet. Despite my best efforts to shit myself empty that morning, I discovered, after a few hours' walking, that my ass still had something to offer the world. Here's the prison-looking setup:

If you've got balls that hang any distance when you're on the pot, you'll get splashed the moment you flush. Not the best feeling.

My choice to follow the bike-trail markings took me behind l'Eglise Saint-Germain:

A few hundred meters later, and I was on a path alongside the Sèvre. That's the next blog entry.

No comments: