The new socks I bought the day before for €2,- served a different cause than I had planned them for. It wasn´t too cold but I put them on anyway, the three pairs I had with me all had a hole in the same spot, left foot, big toe. I had planned to repair them, just like I had planned to repair my suit, but I hadn´t found the time to do it. I mainly bought them to keep my legs from freezing though.
I walked along some highways, through a small city, took a break at a busstop and was quite keen on walking through the last forest before I would enter the cities spread around and stuck onto Paris.
Just before I entered the forest a man on a bike stopped me. I had seen him before when I was taking a break on the bench at the busstop and he had asked if I needed directions. Now he told me to be very careful because part of the forest wasn´t safe, not even during daytime. "Do you see how people only drive in that direction in their cars and nobody walks there? Not even on a Sunday afternoon?" It had indeed struck me and my last host had also warned me for this forest but he had only talked about not sleeping on its edges at night. "There are junkies and prostitutes out there," the man said, "and you wouldn´t be the first one that got robbed." He told me that although he lived at the other side of the forest and there was a straight road running through it, he always took the detour around it.
There was no way I could make a detour but I didn´t feel comfortable entering the forest. There was a lot of trash and indeed a big amount of empty condom wrappers. People passed me in cars, probably to drive to a safe parking area and stroll around from there.
I had already packed my solar panel and taken off my headphones and thought about the things that would really mess up my walk if they would get stolen. I imagined somebody robing me would take my small bag with all my valuable items and possibly check my pockets.
Then I remembered my warm winter stockings, reaching up all the way to my knees. I put my small wallet with my creditcard, bankcard and the biggest part of my money in the left one, leaving some money and the bankcard for the account I never use and has little money on it in my pocket to convince a possible bad guy that there was nothing more to search for. My passport and the few jewellery items I am always wearing - a necklace with a round glass ball and two rings, a silver one that has been there for over 30 years and a golden one that has been on somebody else´s finger for more than 60 years - in the right one. I took the SD card from my camera and stuck it in one of the stockings as well.
It wasn´t too uncomfortable and even when I reached the part of the forest where happy families and single women with small dogs were comfortably wandering around, I left things the way they were.
There was no possibility to sleep outside anymore this close to Paris. I had sent out some couch surfing requests but hadn´t received any answers.
The man behind the counter in the Lemon Hotel didn´t blink his eyes when I reached under my trouser legs to find my passport and money.