By Muriel and Abby
21.11.2012 - 21.11.2012 12 °C
We all enjoyed a good sleep in, burrowing deep under the heavy duvets in our farm-style beds. It was a slow, lazy start, with all of us filling our time reading, looking at photos or watching the 1980s British version of The Price is Right (it's as bad as you might think). We were so lazy, in fact, that the girls didn't want to venture out with us.
Therefore, Ben and I went off exploring on our own, leaving them their daily boulangerie budget in the hope that they would venture outside their cave. We arrived in Saumur about 12, to find that everything closes up between 12 and 2 for lunch. However, parking is also free during that time so that assuaged us (yay -- two more euros for the pastry budget). We walked the twisting streets towards the chateau (doesn't every town in the Loire have a chateau?) high upon the hill overlooking Saumur. As we advanced on the castle, the exertion and the long underwear started to catch up with us and we overheated. Removing layers (we left on the long underwear) as we neared the top, we started to enjoy the sunshine as well. The chateau really resembled a Disneyesque castle, complete with turrets and rooks.
Being enamoured with such fine weather, we had a picnic on the bank of the Loire, thinking (briefly) of our chidren. We dropped into the tourism office and learned of a nearby village that was home to troglodytes. No, not now, but in earlier times. Three cheers for those of you who know what a 'troglodyte' is. I must admit I couldn't place the word -- the closest I got was to think of a trilobyte. Troglodytes are 'cave dwellers' (again, I thought briefly of my children). They carved homes out of the cliffs, slopes and rock faces. Now, the actual dwellings are known as troglodytes as well. While all of the sites that could be toured were closed for the season, we were able to drive through a nearby village that displayed some examples of these. They're a bit hard to make out in the photos.
Even though the town did not look abandoned, we only saw two people as we drove through. We found ourselves winding upwards on a narrow road, thankful we didn't meet any vehicle coming down. Once up at the top, we discovered we were in the midst of hectares of grapes, a real sight. It's big wine country here. In fact, today France released the Beaujolais Nouveau (the new Beaujolais): each year, on the third Thursday of November, at 12:01 AM, France starts shipping the new wine to all parts of the world. Apparently, people stay up till midnight in the bars to get the first glass. We didn't as our sleep is more precious than wine. While in Paris, we saw the advertisements proclaiming the day it was to be released. Le Beaujolais Nouveau est arrivé! It's been referred to as one of the most frivolous and animated rituals in the wine world. It's quite cheap too so I think I can spring for a bottle for Ben.
We came home at the end of the afternoon to find that the kids had indeed ventured out a bit. That evening, we returned to Saumur to see the chateau lit up and to walk the darkened streets of the town. We had heard that there were to be other lights but didn't really see much. We had a nice family walk and the town pretty much all to ourselves.
And now here's Abby's version of the day:
I really did not want to get up in the morning. So I didn't. When you're on holidays it is really that simple. So I decided that since Hannah was snoring away (so loud!) that I would read. I finished the last ten chapters of my book to come to the horrible conclusion that all of the main characters but one were assassinated. The one that wasn't you don't hear anything about. Sad, really. But then my mom thought it would be appropriate to come into the room and put her cold hands on my warm neck. So nice to have a loving family. But after the rude wake-up I did go downstairs and work to make myself some breakfast. Here were my many steps: Open package, grab pastry, put on plate, heat in microwave, enjoy in front of jealous mother. Five whole steps. After that I watched a couple fantastic episodes of "Bruce's Price is Right". Bad decision. I got nightmares. Just look up a picture of him and you'll see... I truly hope that hairstyle does not come into fashion while I am still living. But after that Hannah and I realized that there was nothing worth seeing at that time of day and turned off the telly. Hannah showed me a couple things on the internet, but then I decided that it would be a good idea to be clean, so I took a shower. When I got out Hannah cooked some lunch (leek soup and baguette) and we sat down to enjoy. The soup was actually the best leek soup I have tasted (I've tasted two) and probably the second best soup of any type I've ever had. If you are wondering what the best soup is then you should go to the Willow Street Cafe in Chemainus and try their Tomato Parmesean soup and you'll see. Anyways, then Hannah and I set out for the bakery. We bought an elcaire and what we though was a cream puff.
Then we took a short walk (which lasted 45 minutes) but then the weather turned for the worst and we went back home because of the wind and starting rain. Then we ate our pastries, both of which I didn't like unfortunately. But Hannah enjoyed hers which was good. The cream puffs were actually just circular eclairs really, they had the same ouside, inside and topping. The only difference was the shape. We shared the chocolate elcair and each got a "cream puff". Hannah's was maple and mine was chocolate. But then the parents came home to crash the party. And that was about it.