Sunday, September 4, 2011

Ambois-Chenonceau 31 August 2011

It's been a less than perfect start to our holiday in France. Luke's cold has progressed into tonsillitis with shivering fever and serious malaise. I'm also getting the cold but I'm hoping it will stay relatively docile... it's been very slow moving today and I'm not too bad. I'm hoping Luke will improve overnight, otherwise we'll be calling in a doctor.

We stayed at the ibis in Amboise and it was a very nice little chain hotel. Due to tiredness we just ate dinner at the restaurant, nothing impressive, just steak/chicken with chips. Breakfast at the hotel as well, made us some very nice ham sandwiches.

Skimming stones on the Loire river
 Luke went back to bed and we hung around the hotel til 11.30am. Finally headed into Amboise, got a free park and wandered along the river Loire. Very pretty, big flat flood plain and nice sandy beaches. Skimmed some stones, naturally.
The chateau at Ambois
Luke lying on the pristine lawn at the chateau
 Climbed the hill into the Amboise chateau. Nice enough though relatively boring inside, not much in the way of furniture. Although I did like the carved chair backs that showed off the concept of perspective. Chateau itself has mostly been destroyed, such a shame. Gardens were lovely. I liked the shrine to the Algerians, it had Chinese star jasmine, a nice treat to smell. Also there were old fashioned five petal roses, the scent was spectacular, a real rose smell, just gorgeous. Like Pa's. Saw bumblebees and a tree that was planted in 1840. Naturally we hugged it.
Tree hugging hippies!
The chapel supposedly contains Leonardo Da Vinci's grave. Felt like we should pay homage to a proper saint there. Imagine what he could have invented if he were alive today? From the ramparts you could see Clos Luce, his house. Wondered if there really was a tunnel from the chateau to the house.
Leonardo's grave
The statue of Leonardo in the chateau garden

 Wandered the touristy lanes. Luke had cassis ice cream because he had tonsillitis. That's his excusplanation. Actually, he deserved it for coming with me to the chateau. Also had our first chocolate eclair, those things are just the most gorgeous treat.

Drove to the E.Leclerc mega hypermarche to look for a GPS because we keep getting lost. And we decided to save money by not hiring a GPS from the car company (E250, rip off). Alas, the E89 French one didn't charge up properly, last one in the shop. Gave up.

We also stood perplexed in the shampoo aisle for a good 15 minutes trying to work out where the conditioner was hidden. Everything said "shampooing". None of the containers looked like conditioner containers. Eventually gave up. Turns out that French for "conditioner" is "apres shampooing". So it was there, we just weren't seeing it.
La Roseraie Hotel De Charme in Chenonceaux

The curtains match the wallpaper which matches the bedspread which matches the cupboard...!
Finally drove to Chenonceaux, got a bit lost on the way, crossed the Cher (and the railway) twice. our hotel, La Rosairie, was highly recommended on Tripadvisor and it looked cool so I thought we should give it a go. I think I'm regretting it.  The walls are paper thin and you can hear everything the neighbours say. At least we're facing the garden, not the street. Our room is so pink, the curtains, wallpaper and bedspread all match, it's somewhat horrific and amusing at the same time. The door lock is rather dodgy too.

Luke is asleep now, he'll be having a bad night I expect. Me too - we're in a king size bed rather than our standard twins.

Tomorrow I hope the weather fines up and Luke wakes up bright eyed and bushy tailed so we can go to Chenonceau castle together.

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