|The morning began with wonderful coffee and a beautiful breakfast spread. Fresh fruit, wonderful breads, cheese and ham, yogurt, and whatever you could think you might want. We then had a nice walk through port de Vandenesse, the small village where we had docked for the night. The usual World War I and II memorial stood in front of the village church, the houses were stone and brick with lovely gardens and the occasional barking dog. And the lilacs in full bloom with their perfume in the air.
Then we took the van to explore the village and castle of Chateuneuf a "two flower"village. In France there is a competition between villages over who has the most floral displays--and the most attractive ones. Maximum number on the award scale is 5, and Chateuneuf is a 2 flower village and the flowers were beautiful. Maggie, our fantastic guide from the barge, walked us through the castle towers--the first from the 1200's--and the last from the 1800's. Then on to a delicious lunch of crepes
We returned to the barge to float down the canal, Judy B and Kay walked a bit while Judi C and Cindy tried out the hot tub. But the most special part of the day was the invitation to dinner at the home of Maggie's parents, Allan and Joelle in the village of Cussey. What an enchanting couple. We were first treated to a tour of Allan's gypsy wagon art studio with his paintings covering the walls and his other art projects. He was involved with the reconstruction of the Magnolia when the barge was stripped to the bones and rebuilt and redecorated. After a tour of the yard, we went into the house--a really large one--big enough for the 8 kids that lived there--4 of theirs and usually 4 foster kids. KC
Dinner was wine(of course, and lots of it) little cheese puffs, salad and terrine, main course of a puff pastry in a rich sauce with clams, mussels, and pike, followed by chocolate cake with pear and a cream sauce. Allen said he was up at 6am to bake the cake and Joelle indicated she spent a good deal of time cleaning up the kitchen after he finished. The evening ended with Allen and Judi C enjoying the local pear digestive(actually grappa).