Monday, November 13th, 2000 Loire Valley
Slept well in our new hotel, actually very quiet during the night considering we face a busy street. Roll down metal shutter helps. Nice breakfast and then on the road to see some Chateaux. Not raining but very overcast. Jim’s cheese that he purchased at the store yesterday is stinking up the whole car! It’s a Camembert Cheese. I put it into a zip lock bag last night but that wasn’t helping much! It must be very RIPE!
First to Chateau d’Amboise where Leonardo da Vinci was buried. The small chapel where he is buried sits on the corner of the bluff and is visible from the town and the river. Then over to the Clos Luce where he spent his final three years of his life. He was very popular with the French King who gave him the house which is very close to the Chateau. Actually has a wonderful view of the Chateau from the windows. The basement is full of models of many of his inventions most of which were recreated by IBM. Both had lots of beautiful furnishings.
Ate our lunch standing outside the car before starting out again. Jim enjoyed his cheese! Ate the whole thing! We left about 1 pm. The sun keeps trying to peek out from among the clouds! Checked out the homes that are built in the cliffs; all you see are the outside wall with windows and the rest is underground.
We arrived at Chateau Chenoneceau about 1:30 pm. This is the crown jewel of all the Chateau’s of the Loire Valley (in my opinion). It’s the third time we been to see it. Privately owned, the flower arrangements are always new! Many of the arrangements were done in wire baskets with moss serving as the container! Something new. Walked to see the view from a different angle and take some photos. Got a good one of the two of us with the tripod just as it started to rain. Jim didn't have his umbrella so we rushed inside before it started to pour. So enjoyed our visit. Still raining as we left.
Headed for Blois and the hotel and drove past another Chateau that sits right on the Loire River. Returned to the hotel about 3:30 and repacked the suitcases. Sealed up the box with some of the cans of soup and all of the material and place-mats from Provence. The suitcases are just as heavy as ever, but I think they’re ready for the airplane next week. Put two bottles of wine into the larger case and Jim and I will each carry two bottles in our backpacks. [This was pre-9/11 and all the liquid requirements!]
Thought about mailing some books and then decided to just pay the airlines extra if necessary to take it all home with us. Walked to dinner about 7 pm. Rain had stopped but we took umbrellas. Very cold. The Pizza Restaurant that Jim had picked out was closed on Monday but we found a cute little bar café down by the river called the Le Penalty. It was a sport’s bar! The waitress was Sophia who was from Denmark and she spoke excellent English. She spent a lot of time talking with us about her job and how she’s working in France for a year to help her to become fluent in the French language. Nice walk home looking at potential Restaurants for the next two nights. Watched “Leaving Las Vegas” with French subtitles. Not my choice of movie but only thing on TV in English! Set the alarm for tomorrow as we want to get an early start as we’re driving to Le Mans. We've got good maps now so we shouldn't have any trouble finding the race course.