Tuesday, May 4:  Welcome to Chateau Figeac!

Today I was woken by my dad, and he said that we should get packing. I did so, but soon we were heading down to breakfast. We ate the usual, with hot cocoa, with was at it’s chocolately best. Then we thanked the owners, and went back upstairs to resume packing. After I was ready, I walked downstairs and petted Rick, the dog who lives there. He was very friendly, and had white fur that I thought felt like human hair, like plastic. He was a cross with some lab, and had a brown spot and brown on his ears. He was very rambunctious, like our dog, Max. I pet him for a very long time, then tried to draw him. It turned out better than I thought it would, and actually resembled a dog. Afterwards, everyone else came down, so we said goodbye to the owners and to Rick. At that time, we piled into the car to get out of the dark gloomy clouds. It wasn’t raining, but looked like it would. Then we drove off. Our next stay was at the Chateau Figeac, a very fancy winery, and we have relatives who own it. They were the ones related to the Villepigues, but were very distant. Their chateau was very big, so they were happy to meet us and take us in for two nights. I liked the fact that they had 14 grandkids to play with. It was a long drive, but halfway through we stopped for lunch at a cafeteria. It was off the highway, so was bound to be fast food (YES!). We walked inside and grabbed some food. I got some pasta, a orangina orange soda, and a brownie. The pasta and drink I split with Robert. We sat down in a booth and ate it. Everything was good. I was surprised that the soda had pulp, but it was better that way.

After we ate, my mom needed a coffee, so we stopped at a coffee vending machine. You put your money in the slot, and then choose which kind you want. My mom was afraid that maybe it would start dumping coffee with no cup, but soon a paper cup appeared, and she screamed really loudly, and I don’t know why. Then it put some out and she took it. She sipped it on the way to car, and was amazed to find that it was just as good as one at a cafe, but only 1 Euro! Then we got back in the car, and drove off. The chateau was in the Bordeaux region, which is famous for wine. They are very near Saint Emillion, so that’s where we looked for a flower shop to buy some for the Manoncourts (Right spelling of “manincurs”). Finding none, we drove to a nearby town and found one. It was on the street corner, and it had started to rain, so we ran out and inside. We ended up getting a bouquet of pink and white flowers. Realizing we were an hour late, we rushed in the car and drove on. Soon we reached a long driveway along the vineyards, with huge pots of pink roses lining the entire street! We kept driving until we headed into a patch of trees, and then right, through an old arch, and there was the chateau! It was very magnificent, with three stories and a main section with two wings branching off. We parked, and then walked up to the front door with the flowers.

Soon it opened, and there was Thierry Manoncourt! He was an old man, yet very active and cheerful. He sat us down in the main room with the many fancy bowls and pianos and such. It was all very overwhelming, yet very cool. Soon Marie-France came, even more smiley and cheerful. She said hello, then sat down. She spoke a lot of English, but Thierry didn’t. We spoke very quickly and met, and then she hung up our coats and took us across the main hall and into the kitchen. It was pretty nice, with a table and cooking area. She offered us a drink, so we had coke, and we talked more. After that, they decided to show us our rooms. We walked back onto the hallway, and up some stairs and into a small hallway with a few doors. Our room was a two bed area with a bathroom, but the toilet was down the hall. It had a view of the backside of the left wing. We quickly dropped our bags, and then Thierry offered us a tour. We said yes, and he took us up to the top floor. Mostly what he showed us were bedrooms in the main part, not on the right wing. There were some old paintings and a very ancient dressing cover. Then we got back to our rooms, so he left us to unpack. We did so, and then went downstairs for dinner. I had to dress in a nice shirt, and saw everybody else was too. In the main room, everybody was there, but Marie-France was having a conversation with the mayor of Prague. I don’t know why he was there, but soon he left.

The people in the room who were eating dinner were, our family, Marie-France and Thierry, but also there was Eric, their son-in-law. His wife was not here, but his youngest of three kids was there, Paul. He was very nice but didn’t speak much English, but while everybody else chatted, we played a board game. It either called sete, set, or senet, I don’t remember. How you played was, you choose a color (I was yellow), the first person puts a piece from the bag you have with pieces of your color on one of the many small squares. Then the next person goes, and then the next. The point is to get 5 in a row, but if you have two pieces two places apart, and two different colored pieces are in between, you take them. It sounds confusing, but is like this. Y=Yellow piece G=Green piece. Y G G Y . The yellow person would take the two greens. I had fun playing this, but soon we were called into the dining hall. It was a very nice room, and everyone sat down. They had a cook, so each course would be homemade (yum). On the table was 5 different silverware, a little metal dog to rest your used silverware on, a napkin, and a bowl. First came the, you guessed it, first course. It was alphabet soup in a nice sauce. The cook (a lady) brought the soup around to each person, and they served themselves, and they did it this way every time. In the closet like thing, there was a small door leading from the dining room to the kitchen, where the cook would put the food through, walk around, then pick it up and serve it, which I thought was neat. The next course that came was duck, but everybody thought it was beef until later. It was very delicious and tender. On the side was some zucchini, only it was much better than most zucchinis. The next course was the cheese, but I was only daring enough to grab two kinds. One was good and tasted like string cheese, while the other was much too soft, and I think it was goat cheese. Next came...

DESERT!!! It was spiced warm apples with real French cream on top. It was very delicious, because first it was cold from the cream, then hot from the apple. After that we put away our napkins and walked to the main room. The adults looked at the Villepigue house on the computer, while Robert, Paul, and I played with Kapla, a lot of wooden pieces like in Jenga, only for building. I made a small tower log cabin style with normal wood colored bricks, then I made one with four colors, and made it look twisted in a half circle. Then I made another wood tower on top. It was 10:00, bedtime, so we trudged upstairs and I fell asleep. Tomorrow we’re touring the rest of the Figeac!

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Photo 261  The Chateau Figeac!
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Photo 262  A Room in the Chateau