We had an enormous day, yesterday, coming up from the Dordogne to the Loire Valley. Fortunately, one of our heavy cases had been delivered by Brian. We handed back our little car, altered our Eurails for Tours, rather than Avignon, then travelled by train, from Bergerac through a connection at Bordeaux. On arrival in Tours, we changed trains for Chinon. At every stage the Eurail pass was accepted, altered or exchanged without demur.
We arrived about five thirty, to be collected by Brian who delivered us to our home in the Rue du Grenier a Sel. We settled in then wandered up to the Square for a welcome drink. Dinner was at an Italian cafe, pizzas and salad. They make a salad everywhere, which is just a plate of lettuce, a sliced tomato and cheese-I think mozarella, gorgonzola or something. Then they dribble a dressing over it. At first, I wouldn't eat it, thinking of Bali salads away from home, but everyone eats it here, and last night I took the plunge.
We have bought the makings to prepare the meal ourselves in our fully appointed villa. The villa is ivy covered, of two stories which are connected by an internal wooden staircase with hand made balustrade and external stone staircase.
We walked up the two hundred steps to the castle this morning, and around the parts open to the public. It is being restored.
Later, we came down to the town, bought salad rolls and took them to the river to sit and watch the birds and the fish.
Just stirred from an exhausted nap, and ready to do it all again.
Notes from the Internet about this part of France and The Way:
The Paris Compostela Way route runs via Orléans, Tours, Poitiers, St Jean-d'Angély, Bordeaux and Dax.
It has largely disappeared under tarmac, and is not really recommended for people setting out on the pilgrimage for the first time, although a Confraternity guide has been published on a walkers' route that includes the main towns and places of interest mentioned in the Pilgrim's Guide.
Orléans is the first place mentioned in the "Pilgrim's Guide" but Paris was the medieval pilgrim gathering point. Modern pilgrims variously start at Paris, at Chartres (developing into an important secondary starting-point), at channel ports or from home. From Orléans, the first major town on the route from Paris, the way follows the Loire valley to Tours where it joins the route from Chartres; it then goes south-west through Poitou and the Saintonge to Bordeaux; and finally passes through les Landes to join the routes from Le Puy and Vézelay just beyond Royan and Saint-Palais.
We are near Tours, and will be there on Monday to collect a little car to drive around the chateaux.
I have really achieved everything I was desperate to do and see, so I am relaxing far more. I get quite affected whenever I pass a class of children with their teachers, especially as the teachers seem so protective of the children and eye people with suspicion, it seems to me. Understandable, but isolating from my old milieu.
We are dining out regularly, so we really seem to be hitting the high life but keep justifying it to myself as being The Holiday. There are always set menus, which are less expensive.
Tash does a mean pasta meal and salad. I keep promising to cook her an Irish stew.
We have locked into a drink called Vouvray that was supposed to be the original champagne recipe. It is about 5-8 Euros, wheras the real champagne is anything around 80 Euros, so we are testing it a little.
Today is Sunday. We slept in quite late, and walked up to the Church, the St-Etienne Cathedral.
Lunch was sandwiches on sour dough bread from the little supermarket.
Tashie had her first chance to swim laps for a while in the local pool. The water was 29 degrees-hot.
We had a restful afternoon, then went off for a ramble through the streets. It has been building up for stormy weather all afternoon, with black clouds and muggy weather. We had a pasta meal, opened up the French windows, read and listened to a bit of Enya on the CD and now it is night time, raindrops are falling, we have closed the shutters and we are about to turn in.
An end to a lovely day.