Tuesday August 9

Waking up this morning in our Chateau near Salbris, as usual I was the first one downstairs because my friends like to sleep in.  I am still getting used to staying up past 9pm when I am with friends and have not ben successful at sleeping past 9:00am except for one day.  That one day, I was really awake but just laid in bed.

So I tidied up my bedroom, and took my luggage downstairs since the bathrooms were downstairs anyway and the  stairs were so steep there was no reason to take anything but the adaptor up there, and maybe my phone.  With my friends we all spent many hours on facebook, and Didier is very good at doing research on the Internet. I took my shower and got dressed after loading up the coffee machine and turning it on so it would be ready when I was dressed.  I think this morning I worked on my blog, but maybe not since we were leaving pretty early for Chateau Chambord. 

Yesterday after we arrived here, and got the tour from the father of our host, Didier and Anne took a walk along the river while I stayed at the chateau. We had already had a full day, and I am over a decade older than these two so I'm taking it easy.

After a breakfast of coffee, juice, bread and cheese, we got in the car, Didier's mini, and headed out to Chateau Chambord.  We wanted to get there early before the crowds.  At 9:30am we arrived at the entrance to the Parc de Chambord.  There were many cyclists, but not many cars this early.  We got to the parking lot, then walked to the ticket/visitors center and purchased two tickets for Didier and I. Anne gets in free because she is a teacher.  We just had to show our tickets on the cell phone, let the guards look in our bags, and then walk to the entrance to the Chateau. Although it was a few minutes early we were able to enter the Chateau and began our explorations with a short film on the history.  They gave us a stamp on the inside of our wrist to show we had paid the entry. This was in a small room just near the entrance to the main building and the main screen was in French, but there were smaller screens in English and many other languages on the side walls so it was easy for me to follow.

After the film we went up the double staircase-  Anne and I on one, and Didier on the other.  It was fun because we learned that this was designed so there could be rendezvous without speaking for guests at the Chateau. We explored the second level and the third, and finally arrived outside on the top level with the beautiful towers. We could not go any higher without an expensive tour.   There were so many rooms, and they were decorated to represent what the rooms and furniture and tools would have looked like back in the day that the chateau was inhabited.  It is a very beautiful place with sweeping staircases, and interesting architecture. 

Both Anne and I wanted to see the kitchen.  In one of the rooms on the first or second floor they had assembled the original oven and it was at least 15 or 20 feet high by maybe 8-10 feed wide.  We found the kitchen area on the ground floor through a hidden door.  It was very cool, and the narratives on cards helped to explain what we are seeing.  Near the end of our visit we saw horse drawn carriages and the interworkings of the large clock.  We left the buildings and stopped at the Chateau café for a coffee, and so that my friends could smoke. 

We returned to the car and headed out looking for a place for lunch on our way to the wine caves.  I said that today I wanted something lighter for lunch, a sandwich or maybe a hamburger.  We found a café with organic beef in Cours-Cheverny and had a lovely lunch.  Me a burger and frites, Anne a salad, and Didier the plate of the day.  We returned to the car and headed out manyt small roads hoping to find a specific vineyard near Blois.

We went down a wrong road but eventually found our way to Domaine de Huards and parked.  There was also two other visitors with children who arrived at the same time.  The owners of this cave had a dalmation so I got my dog fix for a moment on the way in.  We went inside and did a tasting of a few wines, and Didier bought I think 8 bottles.

We went back to our airbnb in the chateau and had our normal aperitif-diner-troie of bread, cheese, cantaloupe, green grapes and wine. It seems to be light very late and we saw the hirondells (swallows) flying in circles in front of the chateau.  Anne and I put bread on the window ledge in hopes of luring them closer so we could take a better picture but they were not fooled.  After finishing our wine we went to bed.

As a final note for today, it is very odd, but here in France I am able to easily smell the wine before tasting, and the smoke of my friends, and others hand-rolled cigarettes does not bother me.  Perhaps in the US our pre-packaged smokes have some horrible chemical included that makes it smell so bad, and also permeates any fabric within miles. I do not know.  I only know that I can taste and smell much better here, despite allergies.  Interesting.


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