France – Jour 16 – Part 1

Duvine Loire Valley Cycling Adventure – Day 2

Ooh la la!!  I have woken up with a cold – I’m all clogged up, and my nose is running like a faucet. It’s not pretty, and I’m feeling under the weather. I wasn’t really surprised – I had felt something coming on over the last couple of days. You know when you can feel yourself getting run down…?  I also suspect my new Las Vegan friends from the Burgundy trip last week may have planted something – Lynn was pretty sick.  She had gotten her cold in Switzerland – which makes this a Las Vegas / Swiss / French / Australian cold – very exotic!

It was a pretty easy decision to stay in the van today – not ideal, but you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do!   Padraic, one of our guides, was also pretty insistent that I look after myself.  So, in the van I went.

So, after a quick brief from Padraic – who was wearing a grey pullover in lieu of a cycling jacket, because he was still waiting for his cycling gear to turn up from Spain (this becomes important later on in the trip), everyone got on their bikes and headed out to Château de Cheverny.

The Loire Valley crew:  Marg, Art, Maureen, Rob, Andrew, Deb & John

A sculpture advertising wineries in the region – this was by the side of a huge roundabout.

Footbridge over Le Beuvron

The road to Chitenay

School excursion

We stopped for a little break in Chitenay, a rather unfortunate name.  As we were munching on French biscuits, we saw these gorgeous little French kids going from one building to another. Perhaps a school excursion?  They were so cute!

Château de Cheverny

Château de Cheverny is probably most famous for being the inspiration for the chateau where Captain Haddock, from the Tintin series, lives – Marlinspike Hall.  Interestingly, the family that own it live on the upper floors – so it’s a living, breathing chateau, as opposed to a museum.

On one of the floors, all the rooms have been furnished as close to the style of the 15th to 17th century where possible.  We were able to walk through – and took lots of photos…

Afternoon tea in the sitting room – Alas, it was fake!

The library with harpsichord

Or are you in the mood for some harp?

The children’s room

The weaponry room – displaying suits of armour, swords, and lots of paraphenalia.  Including a huge chest that weighed 70kg!  That’s a lot of excess baggage!

The weaponry room roof! Amazing!

Château de Cheverny – from the back

One of the highlights of a visit to Château de Cheverny is visiting the pack of hunting dogs.  There are so many of them – they were basically lying on each other to catch the most of the morning sun.

Do not tease the dogs!

The garden and stables were also highlights – with lots of flowers and vegetables.

The stables at Cheverny

We had lunch at a little restaurant – Le Grand Chancelier.  The only other option was the créperie, and despite my growing fondness for them, Andrew was a bit over them.

Andrew had the brochette de fillet de boeuf – basically nice chunks of fillet steak which had been skewered with onion and capsicum and fried.  He thought this was nice.

I had the “spaghetti Bolognese” – which was interesting.  Served with very thin, almost noodle-like pasta it was OK but needed a bit of extra salt.  It was a very small serve for the price.

After lunch we all convened again, and the riders set off for the other half of their ride while I hopped into the van with Adam. Our next stop was a winery – Domaine de Huards de Loire.  This is one of the very few wineries that continues to grow Romorantin – a grape that King Francis I liked so much that he had the grape grown all over the Loire Valley. Now, there are only a handful of producers left.

We were also treated to a tour of their winery – and saw all the bottles that they had in storage!  Ooh la la!!

After this short tipple, I opted to return to the hotel – an afternoon nap was sounding extremely seductive.  Adam took me back and dropped me off at the hotel, where I crawled into bed and  drifted into peaceful slumber.  The remaining riders cycled on, and I’m not sure what happened, but at least Andrew managed to rack up a very impressive 66km!!

The statistics:  Distance: 66km  Elevation: 241m

Map of today’s cycling route

Andrew then went for a bit of a walk around the grounds of our hotel so he could let me sleep a bit long (what a sweetie!).  The grounds were absolutely stunning…

The stables – converted into accommodation. Actually, a trick for newbies – often the outlying buildings have better accommodation.  It’s more spacious and modern than the main buildings, and sometimes they even cost less because they’re considered not part of the main building, so you’re not getting the “chateau” experience.

Flowers in the garden

The back of Domaine des Hauts de Loire

Domaine des Hauts de Loire – Our room

Our room is at the top left – the one with the window poking out of the roof.  We had a lot of slanted roof in our room – I had to be careful I didn’t hit my head!

Thankfully, I was able to rouse myself for dinner – I’m never that ill that I miss out on dinner!! Tonight we were heading to a local restaurant run by a lovely young couple…  which was not to be missed! See you at the next post…