Tuesday, May 11:  Welcome to the Loire Valley

Today I woke up and remembered that we had to pack up today. Auggghhh. I got a little done, but soon we were going down to breakfast. The breakfast room was closed for some reason, so the guests ate in the restaurant, but with the same food. I got the oatmeal, and the usual. After we all ate, my mom snagged some bread and cheese and put them in her constantly expanding purse. Cheap! We went back upstairs, and I finished my packing, and shortly after, took the stuff down to the car. I waited down there, with dad, until finally everybody was all ready to go. We piled in, and said goodbye to the awesome tower room. There was a long drive ahead, 5 or so hours, so I read my book. I finished it, and I was surprised I did, because it was 500 pages. About that time it was 12:30, lunchtime. We pulled out off the Motorway (like the Autostrada in Italy, and I-5 in America) at a mini mart/cafe, and went inside. It was a pretty nice place to be at a gas station, and I ordered a ham and cheese baguette with a brownie and a can of Oasis orange juice. We sat down and looked outside at the picnic tables and the hill to see some men from the French army, eating. I thought it was a little funny to see them here. Then I directed my attention to my food. The baguette was crunchy and delicious, the brownie was splendid, and the orange juice was like heaven in a can. After we had all finished, my mom got a coffee while we were going to the restroom. Finally, we all regrouped and got back in the car, and drove the rest of the way to...

The Loire Valley! Two hours later, we arrived in the town, Amboise. We passed through a road full of long, tall trees, and then to a huge river, the Loire. We drove over it, onto an island, and then over again, to the other side of the river. There was a long stretch of a road, with a sign that said, Hotel Breche, and that was where we were staying, so we parked on the side of the road, and opened the gate. There was an amazing garden, with a small building on the right, and a bigger one with a front desk inside on the left. We went in the bigger one, and talked to the man with the big desk. He called somebody over, and he showed us our room. It was across the garden, in the smaller building, with two rooms in it. He showed us the bigger one, the Family Room. Then he opened the door, and we looked around. It was a long room, with three beds lined up, a separate door for the bathroom, and a TV on a table. Robert chose his bed and then I unloaded my stuff. Once I did, I decided to look around the garden. It was very pretty, with a little pond and fountain. I looked inside, to see 4 ducks! They were obviously pets, with a little house and mini-bridge. Two had weird feathers on their head, but the other two were normal. I then looked to the other side, with a big tree and a plaque for some dude. It wasn’t interesting, so I went back inside.

Dad was organizing a trip to some chateau, so I grabbed my camera, and followed. We hopped in the car and drove on, over the river and out of town. Soon we had parked, and I got out and surveyed the surroundings. We were in a parking lot, and my dad was going over to buy tickets to go inside. I looked inside at the posters, to find it was called Chenoncheau. We got little pamphlets with a map, and it said to follow a long road to the building. We did so, and it was long, with trees blocking the view. Afterwards, we came to the end and looked ahead, to see a huge Gothic chateau! It was right on top of a canal, and was huge! It was white, and we quickly hurried in to see the rest. The first room we came to had lots of tapestries, which were famous here. Then we continued on to their own personal chapel, with modern stained glass, and a famous picture of Mary. After that we doubled back and appeared in the main hallway. We followed it into a HUGE hallway, with white and black tiles. This hallway was a bridge over the canal, but didn’t lead anywhere, because they stopped constructing. I noticed that the white colored tiles were more worn down than the black ones, probably because it was a different rock. We then went back and down some stairs to a kitchen, with many bronze pots and pans, and was one of my favorite rooms. After that we went up one, then two flights of stairs, with a bunch of bedrooms with no real meaning, so I won’t write about them. Then we went outside. Today was nice and warm and sunny, which was a nice change, so I was wearing shorts. We decided to go into the gardens, which were very intense. One was small with purple and red flowers, and one was big, with yellow flowers. I liked the big one the best. After we had seen enough, we looked at the map. There was a hedge maze in the area, so we walked through the forest area to there.

It was a small, yet complicated hedge maze, and led to a little gazebo in the middle. Robert and I raced there, and I won, because he ran into a hedge and got stuck. We ran around for a while, until it began to sprinkle. We knew it was just a little rain cloud, and that it would pass, but we left anyway, to the long road. At the end of the road though, we could see a big pasture to our left, and there were donkeys there! We looked quickly, then left the area and got in the car and drove home. At home, everyone wanted to eat immediately, because it was 7:30, so we decided to eat at the hotel. I got the kids menu, which included a trip to the salad bar, fish or meat (I got fish), and a dessert the buffet. It was a charming restaurant, with lots of pictures of flowers, and a view of the garden. First, I could go to the buffet, so I grabbed a mini-quiche (an egg thing), a hard boiled egg, and some corn. Everything was good, except I didn’t like the raw egg. Our waiter then cleared our plate, and brought the main course. My fish was delicious, with a nice sauce, and gave you little things on the side, like beans and a lime. I ate it all, and then the waiter took it. Now I went over to the dessert bar, and chose a few things. I grabbed an apple tart, and some chocolate cream thing in a can. The tart was good, and the chocolate was unique, like a runny pudding, yet still wonderful. Then Robert and Mom went back to the room, while Dad and I went in search of an internet cafe. We found one on the other side of the river, but all of the computers were being used, so I didn’t get to use one. Luckily, my dad brought his laptop, which he connected, while I waited. He finally finished, so we walked back home. At the bridge there was a minor accident, but a man had to be put in the ambulance, but we didn’t pay much attention, because we didn’t know what happened. Then we went home and went to bed, wondering about tomorrow.