Sunday, September 4, 2011

Tours 2nd Sept 2011

11-09-02 Tours

A bit of a nothing day, though the weather was blue skies and very warm. We packed to leave La Roseraie and Luke decided he was going to see a doctor. Thankfully our hostess directed us to a medical centre about 10km up the road. We rocked up, gestured at the receptionist and did our usual "sorry, we're Australian" routine and within 10 minutes we'd been ushered in to see an English speaking doctor. He cheerfully prescribed penicillin and said there was no need to pay for the visit because we were tourists and the French health system was nice like that. Yay French doctor Marc.

Chenonceau from the other side of the river - free!

Nicer day, nicer reflections too
 Fortified with drugs, we drove back to Villandry, crossed the river and walked about 500m through forest in order to look at the chateau from the other side - without paying for it! Hah! Take that, expensive 'can't look at my chateau" chateau people! The forest was green, cool and very pleasant. We walked to see madame Dupin's grave and it looked like the monuments in Lord of the Rings 1. We also saw a large woodpecker on the way back to the car, black with a red head.

Lord of the Rings grave... could be Urukhai nearby
Drove to Montrichard to check it out but the heat had really ramped up by then and Luke started to wilt. We went looking for lunch but as usual the standard French cafe fare was uninspiring. We did find a cheap Italian pizza place that was nice and I finally got to drink wine with my lunch. Probably shouldn't have, Luke was very sick and I should have been driving. But the whole "wrong side of the road" thing gives me the willies so I haven't yet got behind the wheel.

At Montrichard there was a big sandy beach and people swimming. We should have gone in and then we could say we'd been swimming in a French river. But there was nowhere to change and Luke was too ill.

On the way to Tours we stopped at a supermarket and bought some shampoo and mueseli bars. Headed on to Tours without much incident - except that we got lost as we came into the city. Their roadwork detour told us to head down a different street than expected but then neglected to include further signage. "What? you want more info? I have detoured you, zis is enough, surely?"

Got on the A10, made it to the parking station. We then entered a comedy of errors with the two guys who ran the parking as they tried to explain that it would be cheaper to pre-pay our 31E for a week's parking. That took up about half an hour, was generally confusing but very cheerful and good natured.

Then it was a 700m walk through cigarette-smoke-filled streets to the Hotel L'Adresse in the extremely touristy old town section of Tours. Unfortunately it was after 5pm by then so we saw nothing of the city except a few steets. By the time we got into the hotel Luke could barely walk. I eventually found a Vietnamese place that gave us Pho for dinner and we went to bed by 10.30. Outside the streets absolutely teemed with tourists and young French people out for a party. They kept it up until the early hours. I put in earplugs and slept well but Luke's sore ears meant he had to listen to the racket all night.
View from our hotel balcony, looking down at the tiny alley full of restaurants (and later, smoke)
We like to think the French know how to drink better than the Australians, they are more sensible but there's still nightclubs and party areas just like everywhere else. Luke says that at 5am, they may be speaking French but the obnoxious tone is exactly the same.

Tours also proves that the French really need to ramp up their smoking laws. The whole place was just a haze of smoke (no really - it was hard to see) which meant that anywhere outdoors was very unpleasant - not such a nice thing on a warm day. Also, it meant that the smokers monopolise the outdoor areas, often the best seats.

This is the shower. I think we even paid more for a room with a bath. Worst. Shower. Ever.

* At breakfast, the hotel owner dropped a bunch of cutlery. "Meirde!" she exclaimed, proving that they really to say that word here.

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