'That shorrre would be swell, maaa'aaam...'

Apparently there was a huge storm during the night with thunder and pouring rain and lightning that lit up the sky. Apparently this storm happened right after we went to bed. Who knew? My reputation for sleeping through just about anything on earth remains intact!

After the big storm, the rest of the day's weather was sort of questionable, but I'd thought the same thing the day before and had left my sunglasses at the house. So this time I brought them along, but warned Jez that bringing them along would only make it rain.

We set off for the Château de Chambord, which is actually on the other side of P--------. If I'd been planning this well from the beginning, we probably would have done it on the first day. But we were kind of flying by the seat of our pants ("PANTS!") and making it up as we went along.

The château was full of tourists, but was also enormous and mostly able to contain them all. There were metal detectors at the entrance, which we didn't see at any of the other châteaux. I hired an audioguide, by which I mean the American meaning of the word "hire" and not the English one, and by which I mean that Jez walked around the château and read the visitors' brochure to me in an audioguidey voice and occasionally picked up the Spanish audioguide channel instead.

We started off the visit with the traditional trip up the double-helix staircase, peeking at each other through the staircase's windows and running up and hiding. It's really two staircases winding around each other, so that people on one will never meet people on the other. We nearly didn't meet at the top, because it didn't occur to us that they wouldn't intersect there either. But I found him eventually and we explored the balconies and the lower levels of the château. There was a lot of art in the castle - copies of paintings that François Ier kept there, exhibits about François' love for the arts and Leonardo da Vinci's time spent in France. There were also a few furnished rooms that were on view, including the Queen's Apartment and the apartments of the Comte de Chambord, who would have liked to have become king of France in 1871 but never made it. Poor thing.

The Leicester Codex was a special exhibit at the castle. It's a collection of 18 recto-verso folio pages that Leonardo da Vinci did, recording many of his findings about the properties of water, sea animals, tides, astronomy, his love for doughnuts and Olivia Newton John and much more. It's all done in his mirrored handwriting, but even the computer program we saw later that mirrored it back didn't help us decipher it much.

We finally got around to lunch after exploring just about all of the château we could find. Jez's mum had packed us some tabouleh and some courgette ("COURGETTE!") quiche for me, so we went and retrieved it from the car and ate on the grass in front of the château. At one point, Jez left to go get a sandwich to supplement his lunch and left me to watch over the digital camera. When he came back, there were pictures of the castle and the sky and my lunch and Jez walking back... I really couldn't say where they came from. It must have been ghosts or something.

By the time I finished eating, there was about an hour and a half left before we had to leave to be home for dinner. So rather than continue on to Blois as planned, we decided that seven châteaux in three days was really sufficient and just lazed around in the grass for about an hour. A well-needed rest!

We drove back to St Cyran and had grilled steaks for dinner, along with several vegetable dishes. I made a valiant effort and finished almost everything on my plate, had only a tiny bit of cheese during that course, then managed to polish off my pudding ("PUDDING!") which was a sort of fruit-and-spongecake thing with crème fraiche dolloped on top. Wow. We retired to the sitting room and had tea and coffee and chocolates, then Jez and I went for another walk through St Cyran and the environs, in a different direction this time.

It was starting to get dark at this point, so we packed my bag into the car, I said goodbye to Jezmum and Jezdad, and we drove off to P--------. Jez did a lot of driving over the course of the weekend! His poor car probably didn't know what it was doing, especially being on the wrong side of the road and all. We got to P-------- around 11 or so and said our goodbyes. It was a great weekend and a wonderful time spent with an old/new friend.

srah - Sunday, 18 July 2004 - 6:37 PM

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Comments (2)

gravatar Jez - July 20, 2004 - 5:15 PM -

Had a good time myself. I promise not to foist any irritating faux-American accent on you ever again.


gravatar Jez - August 3, 2004 - 9:25 AM -

Informative spam! There's a first!

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