Saturday, May 14, 2011

France/Netherlands 1988 - entries 13&14

Thursday, September 1

The bike crew met for breakfast at 8:00 and the fellows were back with the cars and we were off about 11. The drive out of Paris went smoothly for us in the lead car, but Don Oakley didn’t like going the wrong way on I-Way streets. Once we were on A6 to Chartres all was fine. Jeannice and Jim and John and I led the way. As our luck has been so great – we ran into the start of the English tour at Chartres Cathedral by Malcolm Miller. He is fabulous and although an Englishmen has made a career of Chartres including his tours, books and lectures. He’ll come to anywhere in the world. The cathedral is absolutely magnificent. Each one we’ve seen in Europe and England is so unique, you can’t compare them. Chartres is enormous width and height – 800 years old. The windows have a cobalt blue in them, that have never been reproduced as they cannot figure out the formula. The statuary on the outside and each scene on each window is symbolic of the events in Christ’s life and that of Mary. The cathedral houses the relic of a piece of Mary’s cloak, and many pilgrims come seeking miracles. We had lunch in a little grille in the square. I had a baguette filled with brie- called a sandwich.

On to Chambord! A little mix-up in Blais – another one-way street for Don – separated us and we went on to Chambord. We arrived thinking the others were hopelessly lost in Blais when to our surprise they appeared on the castle parapet saying ello-ello-ello. We had a good look at the exterior of Chambord, but we were too late to go in. From what the others told us it is in poor repair. The exterior needs work also but it is a lovely chateaรบ. Dinner at Lion D’Or was fine – much improved over last evening, any way. Sky clear after a day of rain. The castle of Ambois out our window.

Friday, September 2

Gorgeous day – cool and sunny. The croissants were fabulous for breakfast and we were off to La Gare for our velos. Adjusting seats and pumping tires took a bit of doing but we pumped to Chenonceau Castle arriving about 12:30 after a stop in a little town for picnic lunch – wine, bread, cheese, ham, fruit and cookies. It was perfect!! The castle is fantastic – beautiful and actually the first castle we’ve seen you could live in. The gardens are small but very beautiful. We biked back to Ambois giving us a couple of hours to see the town. It is busy and quaint with many tourists and narrow little cobble-stoned streets. A few nicer shops, but mostly tourist. Chip has an addiction to raspberries so we stop at Patisseries for raspberry tarts – delicious! The roads here are narrow and not quiet as we had hoped. Biking was a heart-in-the-mouth experience. Everyone drives like they are driving in the “Indy.” We were happy to get back to Ambois and are hoping Azay le Rideau will be on back roads – quiet ones. Gorgeous day weatherwise!

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