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Every hike has a silver lining!

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Hello dear Sparkfriends!

Let’s be honest: my hike today didn’t go at all as planned! The first thing was that I had hoped for much more snow as it had snowed during the night. But the sun was shining bright (which I definitely won’t complain about!)... and so most of the snow had melt even before the beginning of my hike! (As you’ll see though I did find some snow later during my hike still and it was beautiful!)

Today, I was in Coulommiers, a little town East of Paris. I was using one of my new hiking books! The first interesting part of the hike was crossing the ‘Parc des Capucins’. The picture above is from the Museum, installed in an old chapel. I didn’t take the time to visit it, but as I have already decided to come back in the summer, I’ll see it then!

I think it might have been the first time I saw a black swan! I didn’t like it when it started walking straight towards me. Poor thing, I guess it was hungry!

Shortly after I left the park, I walked on lanes above the houses. The path was muddy, but it was manageable, and I liked the old wall on the right. There was some snow left!

Then I reached what was supposed to be the highlight of today’s hike...

The Commanderie of the Knights Templar, built between the 12th and the 16th centuries. What I could see from outside was outstanding already, but unfortunately the building is closed during the winter! :( Another visit for the summer...

There was much more snow there than in the area around the building and the countryside. I am not sure why... Maybe because of the very old buildings which remain cold for longer?

I liked the grass outside the windows, it looked like cotton wool because of the snow...

This photograph is on one of the signs outside the building. I think it gives a good idea of how impressive it actually is. The buildings I was able to take a picture of are only the back of the two buildings on the left!

Then I was off for a walk through the countryside! With the sun shining, it was so lovely!

Well, that was until...

If you think he looks friendly, think again!

He barked like mad and showed his teeth as I wanted to keep walking. I don’t understand people who leave their dog outside their house, especially when their house is built on a public footpath! It drives me mad. Indeed, I was just furious! After trying several times to approach the dog (well... just to keep walking on the path!), I realized it was hopeless. I thought of giving up and walking back to Coulommiers, but I had only just started to walk through the countryside! So instead I crossed through the fields, far away from the path and the nasty dog. What would you have done?

It was a nightmare. The mud was very sticky in the fields! Still, with my zoom, I took a picture of the dog in the distance, still barking like crazy even though I was far away from him!

Ah well, he didn’t eat me for his dinner, for which I am very glad. And I am equally glad I didn’t give up, as the village and countryside that followed were really worth it! Aulnoy was beautiful in the sunshine, and there was still snow left!...

The lake outside Aulnoy was so beautiful! Probably my favorite time today...

There were some beautiful houses, manors and farms in the area...

After walking through the fields for a while...

... I was supposed to take a steep little path which went down through the forest all the way back to Coulommiers.

Well, that didn’t happen. I cannot believe I forgot to take a picture of the ‘path’, or what was left of it. I did try to walk on it, but I realized I would end up breaking my neck: the path itself had been washed away, and all that was left were the roots of the trees and a little river in the middle. It took me 10 minutes to do just 5 steps!!! I think I would still be there if I hadn’t decided to go back (10 more minutes!) and take another way.

Ah well, it doesn’t matter! It enabled me to pass by Montanglaust’ Castle, were French poet Jean de la Fontaine spent most of his summers as a child:

Then, further down, I reached Coulommiers town center, which looked a bit like a (very small) French Venice! :)

I wouldn’t mind having my breakfast every summer morning on one of those little balconies!

Although quite a few things didn’t go as planned today, I enjoyed my hike! Every hike has a silver lining! :)
I hope you are all having a beautiful weekend, and that those of you who live on the East Coast aren’t too affected by the heavy snow!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    1029 days ago
    I feel like I have my very own personal tour guide, how cool is that!? I'm glad you enjoyed your hike!

    Karen emoticon
    1917 days ago
    What a lovely hike, even though it was full of surprises! I'm sorry the dog was that nasty. Black swans are quite a rare sight, I agree - I've only seen some in England.
    I loved the picture of the lake with the reflections. Nice!
    See you,
    1918 days ago
    Another gorgeous hike!! Thank you for sharing all that beauty with us. The snow makes everything so pretty. It does look really cold,though.
    What a terrible thing for that dog to be left out like that. It's a shame that he caused you to have to reroute your hike.
    And, that black swan! I have never seen a black one in person. It certainly is pretty. But, I have always heard not to get too close. You were smart to back away.
    I hope your hike this week is as lovely.
    Sending you hugs!! Have a wonderful weekend.
    1919 days ago
  • QTEALADY20031
    Claire, Sorry I am late reading this, I am not getting notices about your blogs. I just love the history you share about the buildings and the poets or philosophers. I find it so interesting. Your path through the countryside looked so inviting and the black swan while looked beautiful did not look too welcoming. As you said he was probably looking for food. I assume the dog was protecting what he thought was his domain but again you just never know if they will attack. I would have done what you did.....the pictures of the lake are beautiful at the time of day you were there. Again, so thoroughly enjoyed, thank you. emoticon June
    1920 days ago
    Thanks for another great hike, Claire. I am just catching up today after our little blizzard over the weekend. I loved the field pictures this time. I don't know what I was expecting the first time I visited France, but I was amazed by all the beautiful farmland. Your pictures capture it so well.
    I was cringing when I read about the unfriendly dog. I have had a few close encounters, which were a lunge length from being a bite victim. Scary! Maybe bring a walking stick?
    Again, thanks for sharing your beautiful world!
    1921 days ago
    Beautiful photos Claire! I especially like the reflections in the water. Your encounters with the swan and dog were a little unnerving, though!

    Keep up the good work!
    1921 days ago
    I track the weather in Paris and Provence, as my daughter will be living in France later this year. You've had cold, rainy days! My California Girl will freeze!!
    1921 days ago
  • AGK3112
    Wonderful Place, Wonderful Weather & Nice Walk
    1922 days ago
    What a beautiful park! I'm sorry you had that dog barking at you... ughhh... as a dog owner and lover I totally agree with you... dogs should never be unleashed outside a house not only for other people safety, but for the dogs sake too...
    I hope you are having a great week!
    emoticon from America!
    1923 days ago
    Your beautiful photos always make me feel like I had gone hiking with you Claire! Amazing scenery and beautiful buildings! Thank you for sharing it with us!
    Glad you managed to continue your hike despite that barking dog.
    Wish you have many more lovely hikes in nature undisturbed by noisy dogs! haha!
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1923 days ago
  • BAKER1009
    Wow, so much to comment on here Claire!
    The black swan...amazing! I've never seen one. Honestly, I don't know if I knew they even existed...beautiful though.
    OK, so the The Commanderie of the Knights Templar, what is on the side of the house (the shiny slide looking things)? Just curious!
    I understand your frustration regarding the dog...he does look friendly in the first picture, but not so much in the second! Glad you didn't give up and went through the field...and the mud. We appreciate it, LOL!

    Thanks for sharing all these pictures...very nice hike indeed!
    1923 days ago
    Thats to bad you could not take the path you wanted due to the dog. We do not let our dogs run lose. Looks like you had a beautiful hike anyway. Love all the photos. I'm glad you didn't have a lot of snow to walk in. One of the trees, looks like it has a face. (6th photo). I like the black swan. I hope he wasn't to hungry. Maybe you should carry bits of bread in your pocket, but then the Swan might follow you home lol.
    p.s. I don't know if this is legal in France, but here people can carry pepper spray for dogs that look like they want to attack.
    1923 days ago
    Love the pics! Such beautiful areas. I get upset about dogs running loose too. I hate it when they want to chase you or keep you from going on a public area you want to go on. I run into it a lot on the streets in town. We have laws but so many people disregard them. I am dog lover but not when they want to attack me. I also worry about them getting hit by a car in town and think the owners are very irresponsible. I agree with you about every hike having a silver lining. Lots of ones I've gone on haven't been as planned but ended up being very enjoyable in a way I hadn't imagined!
    1923 days ago
    What a lovely route you took on your walk, Claire! Apart from that dog - I would have got out of it's way as well. I love the lake and the beautiful buildings too, and the Coulommiers town centre looks so tranquil. Thanks for sharing your gorgeous photos once again!
    Hugs, Nattacia

    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1924 days ago
    Beautiful hike, thanks for sharing, I too love old historical buildings,
    The dog ,,,, not so much LOL he? looked like he was big enough to eat you.
    I like dogs ,had a few myself but never left them unattended .
    Beautiful pix ,loved the ones with the lake and the canals. Nice.

    emoticon emoticon

    1924 days ago
    One thing I love about your hikes are all those beautiful pictures of these old, historical buildings. They're amazing!
    I'm sorry this bad-mannered dog made you change your plans. I would have done exactly the same! Run miles away from him!
    I'm glad you enjoyed the sunshine!
    1924 days ago
  • KAREN91
    Claire, Even though I have 2 dogs I dont leave them out loose. I would have avoided the dog too! I was bitten in the face and neck close to my jugler vein when I was 8. I overcame my fear of dogs after that enough to have dogs. I still dont trust strange dogs that bark or growl and I startle if a dog suddenly jumps up at me. I loved your pictures as usual and Im so glad you are safe from the swan and the dog. Be careful on your hikes. emoticon
    1924 days ago
    Thank you for sharing your hike; beautifully breathtaking pictures. So many awesome pictures, loved those pictures of the black swan. I've never seen one of those before. Merci beacoup!
    1924 days ago
    I am in awe at all the wonderful places you have to hike. The history and the beauty are just unbelievable. Thank you so much for taking the time to post all these awesome pictures. I appreciate it so much.
    1924 days ago
    beautiful. like cellista, i'd have fallen in the mud. as you know emoticon

    1924 days ago
    Wow, what a beautiful walk!
    1924 days ago
  • LINDAK25
    Beautiful! The Commanderie of the Knights Templar would be worth seeing in the summer. It looks really interesting. What are those wooden ramps for?

    We have had neighbors that let their mean dog run. The one dog that terrorized our neighborhood never came home one day. I don't understand why people let their dogs run, even when the dog is friendly. That swan would have made me nervous, too.

    What great photos! Don't you think those houses on the canal would be damp?
    1924 days ago
    That was absolutely stunning !!

    You want snow ? You're invited to visit me in Boston. we got TONS of snow. 2+ ft !! I posted some snow photos I thought you might enjoy. They aren't as scenic as your hike photos (those are beautiful), but they'll give you an idea of how much snow that storm dumped on us the other day.

    I was hoping to get some photos of a pair of local Perigrin Falcons, but they weren't out. I saw them Saturday morning when I was shoveling. wonderful birds.

    1924 days ago
    Bad dog!! I would have done the same thing...I always turn slowly and find another path when confronted with a barking dog. DH will continue to stroll confidently along, but I fear he will be bitten one day. I love the tranquility of your first picture along with the interesting view of the building, the water and the black swan in the second picture. The "cotton" snow in front of the window might just be my favorite of all...I am happy that I don't have to select just one favorite! The winding path with the sun shining makes me want to get out of this hotel and walk!

    1924 days ago
    Gorgeous photos as always, Claire! I'm so jealous of your hikes. I spent the afternoon dodging hordes of tourists who are here for Carnival--not nearly as lovely as your hike seemed in spite of the nasty dog, lol!
    1925 days ago
    Such a lovely hike..and it's SO true..when we take the road less traveled it can reward us with a beautiful adventure. I'm sorry that dog gave you such a hard time but think of him as a cranky tour guide that forced you off the road most traveled to a new experience that seemed well worth it! LOVE your pics..makes me want to move to France tomorrow! emoticon
    1925 days ago
  • DNRAE1
    So wish I could have walked along with you, but your picture walk was the next best thing! Thank you for a lovely hike!
    1925 days ago
  • HOLLYM48
    Ahhh, I knew that your walk would be worth it for all of us!!! To bad about that annoying little dog. I am glad you were able to get around him even if it meant walking further and in the mud. The pictures are just beautiful and I love how the grass is already so green even where there is snow close by. I wish I could start seeing that green grass here!
    I loved all the pics and the beautiful area that looks like Venice would be such a treat on a warm day and having coffee on the little balcony!
    Thanks so much for taking us along on another beautiful hike. I hope all is well with you and I saw that you booked a trip to Scotland in the summer. How wonderful. What a great vacation to look forward to. Have a wonderful weekend and keep on sparking! emoticon Holly
    1925 days ago
    Tres belle marche.You know what they say a dog's bark is worst than is bite.But i'll let you check that emoticon
    1925 days ago
    beautiful, thanks for sharing!
    1925 days ago
    Loved your walk, but you must be exhausted!
    1925 days ago
    I really enjoyed this hike Claire. Thank you so much
    for sharing the beautiful pictures. So sorry about the
    dog. I really don't know why people do not keep their
    dogs inside or on a leash. Glad you avoided the dog.
    emoticon emoticon
    1925 days ago
    Hi again! I just checked online and if you are interested does carry dog mace. Apparently HALT brand is what US Postal workers carry.

    1925 days ago

    Comment edited on: 2/9/2013 10:55:27 PM
    Beautiful pictures as always, thank you. Claire it infuriates me as well when people do not "leash" their dogs. I was walking my little dog one day on his leash and two great big dogs ran towards us and I scooped my dog up just in time but got nicked on the hand by one. I was not happy to say the least and told the owner it was unacceptable for the dogs to not be leashed.

    I have heard there is mace that the postmen use for angry dogs, you can probably order it online. I am very cautious since that incident and I probably should buy some mace myself.

    Thanks again for the lovely pics.

    emoticon emoticon
    1925 days ago
  • JACKIE542
    Every picture is so beautiful, the first picture so colorful, they all were, even the picture of that bad dog looked great. I would have done what you did walk way around that dog, I would have gone way around the Swan too. I know it may sound silly, but when I was small a chicken was chasing after me, so I am very cautious.lo.
    Glad you continued so that we saw more beautiful buildings and loved the little French Venice. emoticon emoticon
    1925 days ago
  • DOODIE59
    You covered a lot of countryside! How many kilometres did you walk, in the end? All worth it, of course, but you must be looking forward to a much deserved rest:)
    Thank you for sharing, as always:)
    1925 days ago
    Claire, you are truly intrepid! Nothing deters you from your pleasure of hiking. What a shame about the dog. It's so cute, too. And you must be very good with your balance. If it was me in all that mud, I'd be face down in it for sure. :)
    1925 days ago
  • NAN041
    How lovely, the end of a perfect day...Nan
    1925 days ago
  • DALID414
    I wouldn't have challenged the dog either.
    1925 days ago
    For me, how funny that you would desire more snow...the northeast states are buried in it right now. We dread the chance of having more ourselves...bad roads, cold buildings, and poor drivers. BUT I love your pics...and your narrations that tour the area. Thank you for posting.
    1925 days ago
    Hi Claire, I enjoyed this hike very much! I have never seen a black swan in the wilds either and it is amazing that you did. He did have kind of a mean look on his face, but like you said, maybe he was hungry. My favorite pictures are always the pictures of homes, castles, shops, etc., any kind of building actually. It seems to me, that you are always careful not to take pictures of people and I suspect that is to insure their privacy. Thank you once again. emoticon
    1925 days ago
    A glorious walk today thank you so much for sharing it with me. I love the scenes and the swan and how to take a snapshot of a seed pod or flower and it looks fantastic.

    As to the dog my friend tells me you should stand still and put your hands behind your back and look down. I did try it with my neighbours dogs, but they came charging at the fence still barking, not a good look.

    But I would have carried on too.

    The knights templar buildings certainly look like a summer stop, it's amazing, New Zealand and Australia are so 'young' in comparison it astounds me when I hear 12th century. Wow!!!

    Have a lovely week. emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1925 days ago
    Gorgeous scenery. LOVE the black swan. Beautiful!! I am a dog lover, but I do NOT trust big dogs. And I agree. It makes me nervous when owners keep dos unatttended outdoors on a public walk. Glad you were safe, though.

    HUGS and thank you, as always for sharing the gorgeous pictures.
    1925 days ago

    Comment edited on: 2/10/2013 10:50:15 AM
    Hello Claire,
    What are the panels on the Knights Templar used for? As far as that snarling,barking dog goes i would stay away also. When I was 7 years old,my friends dog that was so nice to me,turned out to be a biting beast. As I was walking home he came up behind me & took a chunk out of my leg.I never trusted another dog after that. Claire I would consider caring a small can of Mace to spray on them if they tried to attack you,plus you walk alone so much of the time. I loved your walk. We had a most snowy storm in the early evening until midnight last night. I was driving in the storm, as I had to take my brother David to the big hospital for a check up. He had a detached eye retina & had to have emergency surgery 1/31/13 we will not know for another 3 to 4 months if he has his eye sight back in right eye.Doctor said it was looking good so far as far as healing no infection.We could not cancel appointment as it was as of utmost importance he keeps his appointments. So it was awful driving in the snow, I could not praise God enough for getting us home safe.Have a lovely week, I had to work this weekend/not busy because the people do not come out too much to the pharmacy after a storm, I got my paper work all caught up so that was a big plus. Take care
    1925 days ago
    Thank you for sharing the photos from your hike. It was lovely! I particularly liked the old Knights templar and castle buildings and the town. It really did look like a French Venice!

    Dogs can be very territorial and it is irresponsible of the owner to leave an aggressive dog out. Like you I will avoid the confrontation if at all possible!

    I hope your new boots were comfortable and dry!
    1925 days ago
    Sorry you had such a hard time with the dog. It is irresponsible of people to leave an un friendly dog loose!
    1925 days ago
    1925 days ago
    Looks wonderful as always......and great job not letting the dog deter you.

    Most dogs, especially the ones that bark a lot) will back down when you stare at them firmly....let them know who the real pack leader is!
    1925 days ago
    How FABULOUS!!! You do spoil us!!! emoticon emoticon emoticon

    The only way it could have been better is if I had been on the hike with you! emoticon
    1925 days ago
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