Baguette, cheese, M & Ms and wine…

September 8, 2012 at 9:45 am (Germany)

After a week in Darmstadt of catch ups, room organisation and unfortunately not enough prep work for the new school year Katha and I headed off on our road trip to France.  Katha was of course the designated driver and I the navigator and mid trip snack lady.  I’m pleased to say that I managed much better than in Sardinia and even managed a mid day car nap most days.  🙂  I would give Katha instructions and then zonk out in a matter of minutes.  Quite a talent actually…

At our first stop in Troyes we christened Katha’s new tent, which I straight away nicked named ‘The Hotel’.  The tent was quite something in comparison to what I was used to back home.  We each had our own room and there was enough room in the front part of the tent for us to sit at the table.  Fantastic family tent and a brilliant hotel for us.  🙂 We spent a lovely morning exploring the town after a random trip due to my fantastical false navigating to the outlet stores.  We left with a new Fossil wallet for me and new flip flops for Katha.  The town was surprisingly beautiful and had lovely 16th century houses.

We spent another night close to Blois and then finally arrived at our campsite at Soulac-sur-Mer, which is located on the Atlantic coast.  We stayed there for a week and enjoyed the sunshine, relaxing and of course beach time!  The highlight for me was taking part in the Les Galopins.  I managed to find out about a fun run in the town and both Katha and I decided to take part.  She was sensible and went for the 6km run and I, stupid Kate, decided to do a 15km nature run.  The next day I had trouble walking… but I did manage it under two hours.  The major chaffing from my sports bra was not pretty though.

Sadly we had only booked our camp site for a week so we had to head onwards.  We left the sunshine and beach behind and made our way to a camp site near the Château de Cheverny and spent the next five days exploring the Loire Valley.  We visited the towns of Blois and Orléans and enjoyed walking around aimlessly through the cobbled streets.  In Orléans I also ate the biggest bowl of mussels I have ever seen and in Blois we visited The Royal Château Blois.  This château was particularly interesting because it was built over four distinctly different periods of architectural history.

Chambord

We also visited two other châteaus: Château de Cheverny and Chambord, which are two of the ‘big must see’ châteaus of the area.  Chambord had a stunning exterior but was not quite as interesting inside due to the lack of furnishing.  It did have a very cool double staircase though.  This staircase comprises of two concentric spiral flights of stairs with windows, which means two people, depending on which side of the staircase they use, can use the stairs without meeting each other.  Instead, one receives glimpses of the other person through the windows.  Katha and I found this to be the most amusing part of our trip and took great delight in thinking of new faces and movements for each new window.

We both agreed, however, that Château de Cheverny was the more enjoyable visit.  The château was smaller and the rooms lavishly decked with furnishing.  The château felt more livable and extravagant and we also enjoyed strolling through the vast garden.  Perhaps our visit to this château was heightened by the bike ride we did.  We hired bikes from our camp site and took a lovely 18km ride through the valley.  Beautiful weather, amazing scenery and fantastic company made this by far one of the best days of our whole trip.

After having our fill of châteaus we ventured onwards to the town of Dijon, or mustard town as I called it.  We spent a day in the city following the ‘owl’ route and we’re pleasantly surprised at the prettiness of the city.  In fact, it is meant to be one of the prettiest cities in the whole of France.  I particularly enjoyed our visit to the Musée des Beaux-Arts, where we were able to marvel at the mourners from the tomb of Philip the Bold as part of a special exhibition during the renovation work being carried out.  These statues were quite spectacular.

Lastly we spent a night in Stuttgart visiting Jantje, Katha’s best friend from primary school. I managed to spend a small fortune in the space of 24 hours including Katha and I both purchasing a German Dirndl.  We’re planning on visiting Jantje again to put the Dirndl’s to use at a German Beer Festival in September.  It’s basically a smaller version of Oktoberfest, so I am very much looking forward to it.  🙂

Château de Cheverny

It seriously was an amazing two and a half weeks and although I was happy to be back in Darmstadt again, we were both sad that it had come to an end.  Thank you Katharina for an unforgettable time, for putting up for me and for sharing these experiences…  particularly the baguette, cheese, M & Ms and red wine.  Love you to bits!

xoxo

P.s  More photos?  Check out https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151115041630589.482608.509745588&type=3&l=7dd140811b

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