Sunday, October 26, 2008

Chateau and more chateau

ML in tapestry room.

Chateaux Chiverny

Da Vinci home

Chateaux Chenonceau

ML enjoying the sites at her new home!  Ha, ha....

Today didn’t begin well. Mostly because of what happened last night. Remember I said I felt queasy? Well, it didn’t end and by the time the first course of our meal came I couldn’t hardly eat any of it. It didn’t get any better with the chicken and I sat there trying to think about something other than puking. Todd ate and ate and ate some more. By the time the dessert course was served I was up in my bed shivering with body aches and stomach pains. I took a Tylenol PM and luckily was out for most of the night. I woke this morning with no fever but still a bit queasy and weak but there was so much to do and see today, so I forged on. The owners of the hotel have been very kind. They keep asking how I am and if I want my dessert from last night yet! They told Todd last night what number to call them in case I needed a doctor in the middle of the night. They said, “No eating in Normandy anymore!” I was grateful that I was sick BEFORE I showed up here. I sat at the table for so long last night because I didn’t want to offend anyone by leaving too soon. If I had left before the main course I am sure I wouldn’t have had to pay for the meal though!

It was foggy and cold here this morning. We changed back the clocks last night so it would be another few hours before the fog lifted but once it did the sun came out and it was relatively cool but pleasant in the sun. Our first chateau was down the street from our hotel so we walked. It was a beautiful setting with the house sitting perched over a river. Unfortunately, because these places we have seen all throughout this trip are so old, they seem to constantly be under renovation. I can’t seem to escape the scaffolding in any of the pictures! We picked up our audio guide and began the tour. Apparently the original owner couldn’t pay his taxes on the chateau so it was given to the king. He, in turn, gave it to his favorite mistress. Favorite mistress!! Doesn’t that imply there was more than one?! The French seem to be a little loose on those things. The English hide their mistresses where the French flaunt them. When the king died the queen demanded the house be given to her in exchange for another chateau somewhere else. I think she had that right! Throughout the years the chateau was owned and updated by various women. It is known as the women’s chateau. There were amazing tapestries and painted ceilings. We continue to marvel at how these places got built so long ago! Trying to get a small house built today takes long enough! Naturally there were also beautiful gardens and a mote surrounding the house. Todd was impressed with all the fish in the mote! During WWI the chateau was used as a military hospital and the men used to string their lines out their windows attached to a bell. Well the bell rang they knew they had a nibble on their line. We wandered the gardens a bit and headed down to the Maze. We thought it would be a bit harder than it was to get to the center but it was pretty easy. We visited the farm and outer houses and went into a wax museum that told the story of the many women of the house in period costume.

After leaving the chateau we drove over to Amboise to another chateau that Da Vinci spent his last years living in. We toured the home and the basement where many replicas of his inventions are kept. The gardens were filled with more of his ideas and we had an educational afternoon. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the leaves are all changing so the gardens were filled with fallen leaves and sunlit avenues. If I weren’t feeling so tired and sick I would have enjoyed it more I am sure. We went across the street for something to eat. We both got crepes. Todd had ham and cheese with a cooked egg on top! It made me feel a bit better so I wanted to keep going. So we got back in the car and drove to Cheverny to see a chateau that people are still living in. The rooms were all decorated with a combination of pieces from different periods and the grounds were very pretty as well. It is a hunting chateau so we went down to the kennels to see the massive hunting dogs. There were a ton of them, all anxious to get out of their large cage. We toured the kitchen garden and the trophy room (trophies meaning antlers all along the walls.) It was an interesting day.

Our hotel room only has a tub so I am off to go soak for awhile and hope to be able to eat something more filling. Tomorrow we drive back into Paris (yikes!) for our last day/night. We are more than ready to come home. Last night we ate dinner next to a couple who were traveling for a month for their 25th anniversary. That is too long to live out of a suitcase and move from hotel to hotel. Todd asked me where I wanted to go for our 25th anniversary. “Let me get through this trip first!”


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