A Day Off, Finally. (Besançon)

Slept in, late breakfast by recent standards, 0830. Wandered into Besançon old town, had a look around and a picnic lunch on the banks of the Doubs.

Free guided tour of Besançon’s Vauban-designed citadel, a huge fortress on one side of town and a World Heritage site. Our guide was a fluently bilingual and highly knowledgeable man playing Vauban, although when he got into some particularly interesting point he tended to give us a two-sentence English summary after going on in French for a bit.

I was actually able to follow quite a lot of his French as well, as I already know a good bit about Vauban and the fortress design of his era, and many of the specialized terms are universal – often left untranslated from Italian, actually, as they pioneered a lot of the stuff Vauban perfected and became famous for.

After the fortress tour we got roped into an overly long presentation from the regional government. Bad PowerPoint is universal, it transcends all language barriers with its completely incomprehensible awful design. The canapes afterwards were really quite good, though.

Random observation after listening to a number of people translating things for us recently: “Touristic” is not a word a native English speaker is likely to use. It crops up regularly in German and especially French translations, though.

Off to Dole tomorrow, 60km west along the Doubs River. Weather looks like it will continue hot and clear, with some chance of showers.

By Brian Burger

Started this site way, way back in November 1998, when the web was young. It's still here, and so am I.

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