Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Seeing the Travel Shows When You've Been There - Bliss

Travel shows have become more specialized than ever before.  Instead of a topic like "France!" there are specific areas such as "Chateau de la Loire Royal Visit" which we watched last night.

The Loire Valley, some 60 miles from Paris, is dotted by enormous and fabulous chateaux, most of them scenic to say the very least about turreted buildings - immense - used as hunting lodges for royalty and the gentry.

During a visit to Michelle and Bruno in September some 20 years ago, they graciously took us on a tour of the more notable ones.  Bruno drove and we weren't out of the parking garage at their condo outside of Versailles.  Someone called him and the radio which had been merrily playing "traveling music" became a phone call!  A device built into the car.  The next revelation was a stop for fuel - gas and something else.  Two separate tanks.  I marveled at both and Bruno waved a hand and dismissed my awe, saying, "C'est normale."  That's normal.  Run low on one?  Switch to the other.  Gearheads out there, leave a comment and tell me what "the other" was?

Bruno took us to his favorite chateau which could not have been more barebones..  It was built in the 12th century and that was the style then.  "I like that it is plain," he said.  "Did you see the view off in that direction?" flinging out an arm.

Next we headed to Michelle's and my favorite -  Chenonceaux, the castle that spans the River Cher.   Its  nickname is Castle of the Women" for previous tenants, several of which were Henry the whichever's husband - and I count three Henry 1, then 2, and finally #3.    Diane de Poitiers led the parade of women, followed by Catherine de Medici who died in 1589 and finally her daughter-in-law Louise de Lorraine, widow of Henry III.

Michelle and I walked the square garden, looking back at the chateau and laughing.  We agreed that the home decorators had the last laugh because no woman wants to live in her predecessors "home. "No! No! that is not the color of the drapes that I ordered!  Take it back immediately!"

We pondered the likelihood of mold in every corner - living in a castle that spans a river (and it was not a trickle-y little stream either. )

 It was beautifully sunny, then a cloud would shade the sun so this traveling light was amazing.  Lightweight jackets were just fine for that kind of a day.  

On leaving I noticed a shuttle van arriving and Asians departing it.  I asked the guard if they had many Asian visitors and he said, "Ah, yes - the Japanese now, they are very nice, but the Chinese (and he nearly spit on the driveway with disdain, "they do not obey.  They will stand directly under a defense de fumeur (no smoking) sign and puff away.  They pretend not to understand.  Bah - they can all go home!"

Our last stop was Chambord, famous for 77 stairwells and 282 chimneys.  Bruno looked at the roof bristling with towers and antennas and said, "He must have had a roaring case of erectile disfunction."  We laughed all the way back to the car.

We had a wonderful time then and again last night - without even stirring from our favorite chairs.

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