Thursday, October 16, 2014
Today I woke up in castle surrounded by nice antiquities and dreamed the servant was coming to brush my hair and tie my corset. This place really is something else, grace and beauty surrounds. Growing up in a home that was over 120 years old I expected a building that had been renovated but you could still tell it was old and had lived past its prime. This one though, yes you can tell its old, but they have done such a wonderful job refurbishing it. It really is like staying in a castle with all the fuss, awesome sauce.
Today we left for a day excursion because we get to stay two nights in this marvelous place. Chateau Chambord was our first stop. It was really magnificent with towers, walls, motes, and everything you would expect from a castle. It has a staircase inspired by Leonardo DiVinci – two spirals that you can see each other from, marble and beautiful. It felt very Disney like with the style of architecture etc… I enjoyed photographing it and admiring its beauty. It was built in originally as a hunting lodge in the 1500’s by Francis the 1st but my goodness what a hunting lodge. It is the largest chateau in the Loir Valley and was really impressive to see. I actually could have spent another 10 minutes here to really get the pictures I wanted, I had to power walk back to the bus so as not to be late, but I did manage to get at least a couple of pictures of the police on horseback – maybe from a distance, but I did get it. One other thing I wanted to note on this property is that it is 11,000 acres – that is the same size as Paris, but Paris has 2 million people in it, this has 200. The property is now a game reserve … I didn’t see any animals, but they stated wild boar are common and you could see where they had been digging in the grass beside the road.
Then we headed to the Chateau Chenonceau. This Chateau was also built in the 1500s but the interesting tidbit about it is that Henry the II took possession of it then gave it to his mistress Diane. After he died, his widow Catherine de ’Medici forced the mistress to move to a different chateau. Both ladies had separate gardens planted and the gardens still exist to today – to the right the mistress, to the left the Queens. Different times for sure! The inside was ok and I loved the tapestries, but the outside and the gardens was phenomenal. I loved the mistress’s garden, probably because the flowers were still in bloom, but both were pretty.
We toured the inside, went to the cafeteria they have in an outbuilding and ate lunch and then we went and walked around the gardens and took some more pictures. The air was crisp and cool and it was generally just a nice time. For lunch we went simple – HAMBURGER!
After the Chateau we went to a wine tasting. We did the little tour of the cellar, then went and had some wine – I just tasted the first Rose and then I kind of checked out mentally as wine is totally not my thing, but Jack got him some red and we got some as gifts so it was all good. My favorite part though was the cat, they have this cat who is huge and so loving. I sat on the ground and petted him before we did the tour – me and kitties = heaven J He was so sweet with expressive eyes and you could tell he is used to people, he would meander from person to person to see who would love him.
We then headed back to the hotel and she was pointing out how many of the houses are partially underground – dug into the rock, where it is a constant 58 degrees. It was pretty cool looking.
It started raining as we got back to the hotel so my idea of taking more pictures was squished so I decided to get a bath. I was going to get a bath in this enormous tub they have, but it was filling up so slowly I probably still would be waiting so I ended up just getting a shower.
We then had dinner downstairs in the hotel restaurant which was really nice and elegant, not like most hotel restaurants. The food on the other hand – oh my give me some country cookin. We had some type of leek soup to start = YUCK. Then we had bread, which was good, hard like all French bread on the outside but good. Then we had a main course that had chicken with herbs, a carrot that had been cooked and some green and orange stuff that looked like baby food. The chicken was pretty good, I liked the carrot and the orange baby food stuff was ok – the green stuff was absolutely nasty. We then had desert which was strawberries, raspberries and some type of sour berry in a sauce. Jack liked it a lot and ate Mama’s – it was ok to me, a little too tart for my taste but I ate about ½ of it. We then had coffee and Jack ordered us a coke – a 4.5 Euro Coke. That’s about 6 or 7 dollars for a 12 oz. bottle of coke – I’m bringing that bottle home with me dang it. The only bad thing about being out in the middle of nowhere, no other option…. Well that and the crappy Internet.
So that was our day – castles and wine. J All in all a good day that I really enjoyed. Tomorrow we go back to Paris.
There are a couple of miscellaneous things I want to remember that I will note here as well:
Many of the people on this trip probably thing we are absolutely crazy or stupid, not sure which, but it makes for good fun. You all know Mama has very little filter on what she says – she thinks it, she says it. Course that being said my filter has gotten thin as of late and I’m not sure it was ever there as much as some peoples. I think it if I don’t say it you can read it on my face. Makes for some hilarious moments. Add to that, we are southern and I am my mother’s daughter so between the two of us it has been hilarious. For example everyone is raving about the food/wine; Mama and I are begging for southern cooking and a soft drink.
That being said it makes for some good, clean, entertainment and well we are who we are. I’m enjoying myself – hope Mama is too.
Everyone is also looking out for Mama which is cool and I appreciate. She isn’t the oldest by far and gets along better than many of them, but they watch for her and make sure they take her under their wing if going somewhere we are not – love it!
There is a couple Jim and Chris that are pretty awesome. She was an art teacher and him a salesman, they are both retired now and obviously love to travel. I believe she said they have been to Europe 14 times in their life. I hope Jack and I are like them at that age – she is in her 60s’s, but you wouldn’t know it. I figured she was in her 50s with her energy and togetherness … I hope we are still like that then. She thinks we are funny and probably a little crazy, but that is ok - crazy is good.
Overall the group is really nice and we have people from all over. I am enjoying the camaraderie of the group and hope to stay in touch with some of them after this is over.
Well that is it for today – hope all is well in the states!
P.S. I love my husband - my devices won't connect to the Internet here so he figured out how to share over blue tooth so I could post this from his laptop tonight. Geeks Rule.