Wednesday, May 5:  A Jam-Packed Day at the Figeac

Today I woke up and looked out the window to find that it was sunny. I leaped out of bed and grabbed my shorts and sandals and went outside. Dad and Robert came, and my dad took pictures while we played around. The garden is on the back side, with a huge lawn with chairs and a swingset. To the right over the wall, is a skinny patch of grass, and a huge pond! . In the grass was a pool, also. At the other side of the garden, to the left, is just more vineyards. Straight ahead is a trail that leads down, to a tennis court! But it was still to wet to play on. After that we went back inside. At that time we were going to have breakfast, so we all went into the kitchen and sat at the table, to find Marie-France. She cheerfully gave us some food, and we thanked her. I tried some new things, like cream milk for my cereal instead of the normal kind, and some chocolate powder that goes in milk, but doesn’t taste like hot chocolate. It was great, though! I also had an apple, and honey pops for cereal. Thierry came later, but once everyone was done, we saw Paul. He invited us to come to his house real quick, because it was just a different wing in the Figeac. He led us in, and showed us around. We took our shoes off to go upstairs and to his room, and looked around. It was a pretty cool house, and when we finished we went out to the garden to play soccer. He had to go to school then, so we said goodbye and went inside.

I grabbed my pack, because evidentially we were going somewhere. Thierry was going to take us on a tour of Saint Emilion, so we all hopped in his car and drove off. We were very close to the town, a few minutes away, so soon we were parked. The first thing he was going to show us was most of the wineries around. He was going to do that by taking us on the tour train. We were the only ones on, so the driver drove on. It was very slow, and I think it must be annoying to be stuck in traffic behind a train full of tourists like us. A recorded voice told us all about the many wineries, and it was interesting. In between each one though, it played really corny music really loudly. That wasn’t as fun. Soon we parked, to find that it was starting to rain. I pulled up my umbrella, but quickly we went into the car and drove on. The first sight was the main church in the town. It was very long, with a very cool red and blue stained glass, that made everything purple. There was also an organist playing “Phantom of the Opera.” Thierry showed us a plaque on one of the side chapels, who showed people from here who died in WW1, and a Villepigues name was on it! I didn’t recognize the first name. Then we got out and went to the next place by car. This was a tour of the old roads and chateaus, and we stopped by a few of the wineries. My favorite one had a dog that was pretty big, but barked and jumped like a chihuihui (this is actually the correct spelling for the dog that used to be Taco Bell’s mascot)! Then we stopped and went to an old chateau.

This one was in very good condition, with a chapel and plenty of grounds, but nobody bothered to take care of it! I think that’s pretty weird. Then we walked around it and went back in the car and drove home. It was time for lunch, so everyone, including Paul and Paul’s mom. It was a very nice lunch. Except, I don’t remember any of the courses, just that there was sugared strawberries for desert. After lunch, Eric’s wife came in and quickly told us to get back in the car, because we have reservations for a tour in the town. Not knowing what was going on, we piled in the cars again, and Thierry drove us. We parked near an office, and we all got out. Since Thierry knew French much much better than us, he got the tickets, and then said goodbye and drove back home. Now we know what we are doing. We had a tour guide to show us the Monk church. We followed her, while she led us threw a gate that needed a key. Inside a little area, she led us all down to the cave where the patron saint of the town, Saint Emilion, lived and worked! It was very cozy, and had natural light (now blocked by a building) and a freshwater spring. The spring had 100’s of coins in there, and was very neat. The tour guide told us all kinds of things to do, like sit on his chair and make a wish, and millions of others, and I don’t remember them all. After that she led us up and to the little area and into a door. inside was an old chapel, and she led us closer. Each was a fresco, and was very old. They showed normal paintings, like Jesus on the crucifix and stuff like that. Then she led us back outside and down through another tunnel, only this one was much bigger. We followed her through, and there was a creek running through, with a real skull nearby. Then we went into a bigger room, with moss growing wherever there was light. This big room also had a big plaque in Latin, which was a tomb. She also showed us where some monks were buried in the wall, but they needed permission to dig it up, so we couldn’t see it

Then she took us up some dark stairs, and there was a huge church! It was underground, so it was completely dug out of the rocks by monks, and it took 300 years. But there were metal braces supporting the pillars, because the weight of the big tower right above it would cause this to collapse. Then I looked around more. The lady showed us some very old paintings that were hardly recognizable, and then a little thing for Santa Claus. After that she said that it was the end of the tour, so we emerged back where we started, a square. My mom wanted to get some macarons, some for us and some for dinner at the Figeac. First we stopped in a little shop, but didn’t see any good ones, so we went to the bakery up the street that had free samples. We tested one, and instantly knew we should get them here. We bought 3 boxes, and then left to go back to the car. At this time it was off and on raining. We got in the car and drove home. In my parents room, I did my homework. After a bit, we were going to go on another tour, of the winery. We were going to join the English tour group, with a guide. She came out and, and everyone in the group followed her into the supposedly unused left wing of the Chateau, to find that that was the area used for the wine making. She led us down through the front door, and into a big room with giant kegs! There were about five of them, and were 20 times bigger than me. Then we were led down into another room with a lot of little barrels, but we didn’t get a good look. After that we emerged into a very, Very, VERY, humid room for tasting wine. We just passed through, and then came into the room with the many little barrels, and there were hundreds! I was amazed at how much wine they made. Then, after some talking, she led us into the tasting room to try some. Robert and I weren’t going to, so we went back to the chateau. There I did more homework, until my dad took me down to meet another of the grandkids. Robert and I walked down the stairs, and met her.

Her name was Arienne, and was 13. My dad said that she was Paul’s sister, so she lived in the same house. She invited us to come over and have a snack, so we did. In the kitchen, we had orange juice and cookies, while she fed Saxo, their huge chocolate lab, bread peices. After that we went into the sitting room and played Scrabble in French. It was a pretty slow game, and Robert couldn’t do any turns the whole game. We were cut off when her mother, Eric’s wife, Laure, called us and invited Robert and I to come and pick Paul up from music class, so we came. She was a very nice lady, with short hair and was very talkative. A few minutes later we pulled into the school, and then parked and got out. We walked into the building, and saw a class full of kids Paul’s age, and kids my age. The kids my age were playing the instruments, and the younger kids were singing in French. When it finished, Paul came out. We said hi, and then he introduced us to his friend. He was very tall, and his sister was shorter. We were going to drop them off, so they came in the car. It was a little cramped, but we all fit eventually, and then we dropped them off. Laure dropped off a bit away from the chateau, so we ran back. Paul and Robert went off to play, but I stayed behind because I was seriously behind with homework. I got a lot done, but soon it was dinner time.

Some people were coming for dinner, so all of the kids, Robert, Paul, and I, ate in the kitchen. The first course was white asparagus with a really good sauce to dip it in. Next came some chicken with small curly noodles that were very buttery and bland, which were very delicious. The chicken was OK. After that we got cream cheese on a big cracker, and then we thanked the cook and left. Paul invited us back to his house to play on the computer so we came. But his dad said he had to check over his homework really quick, so we waited in the sitting room for a few minutes, and then Paul said we could play. We were going to play Worms 3D, so we played, and it was fun. I liked the fact that there were cute plump little worms, bombarding each other with grenades. After a bit we left, and said goodbye and went to sleep.