Saturday, May 15:  More Fun Relatives

Today I woke up at a faster rate than yesterday, and went in the kitchen for breakfast. I had my baguette and orange juice, and a few strawberries, which were all great. Afterwards, I got dressed in my nicer clothes, because today we were going to meet more Manoncourts! They were another of Marie-France’s daughters, with four kids. They don’t live in Paris though, so we were going to take a train. I grabbed my pack, and we all went out, in search of a metro stop. One was nearby, so we went underground and did the routine of getting on. This one wasn’t quite as long, just a few stops, and soon we were in the part of Paris with the train station. We walked inside the smokey area where you get tickets. My parents bought some for 11:32, so we had some time to kill. They went to a little cafe, where they could get their coffee. They drank it there, and after that we went to our platform, 13. They started boarding early, so we hopped on. It was cool, because there was a top and bottom floor, so we went up to see the view. It was another nice, HOT day, so I looked out the window, as we left Paris, and going to Amboise. It was a very nice view, and we pulled out on one of the prettiest parts. We left the train, and looked around. We were meeting one of them here, but we didn’t see anyone. Soon a red mini-van came up with a smiling man looking at us. We knew it must be him, so he let us in. His name was Charles, and he was very nice. We all said hello, and everyone sat down, and he drove off.

My parents chatted for the 10 minute drive, passing through the cute town. Suddenly he stopped and parked, and we all got out, at their house. It was a very nice one, with a steep driveway and a garden. We walked to the front door, where a nice woman came up, Claire. We said hello (they both were fluent in English), and she walked us through teeny path, when a boy walked up. She introduced him as Nicolas, like Nicholas. He took us away to the back, where there was a garden. He led us down to the yard, where he showed us the brook and the swing and stuff. He spoke better English than Paul, but then again he was 12, my age. Then we went back up to the little porch, where there were three more kids! They were all younger. One was Hugues, 10, Alberic, 7, and Marie, 9. Hugues was nice and active, Alberic was always somewhere else, and Marie was kind and helpful. I recognized some of them from pictures of the grandkids at the Figeac. Their mom came out, and introduced us. After that, we went out to play something, which was soccer with huge kooshballs. We played in the driveway, which was slanted. It was like this, the people at the bottom tried to kick the ball away from their side and away from the goalie, guarding the garage. The people near the top shot at the goal. It was a fun game, and we had fun. Then their mom called us in for lunch, so we went back to the porch, where we grabbed a plate, and looked at the food. I grabbed some tabouille, bread, melon, and some coke, which they pronounced “coca”. We ate it out on the porch, and everything was very delicious. When we finished, the kids grabbed their bikes, and let Robert and I use some. We could ride around the house a few times, which was enjoyable.

After that, the kids led us to the back of the yard, through some hedges, across a stream, and through the fence to emerge in somebody’s pasture. They managed to tell me that they were allowed here by the owner’s permission. Then I saw something, horses! There were about 20 of them, coming towards us. The kids showed us the grass to feed them, and we did. It was fun, and the horses were friendly. Then I brushed upon some stinging nettles, and the yhurt! I just ignored them, and after a while it went away. After a long time of playing with horses, we went to the creek and tried to make a dam. I grabbed a lot of mud, and it was working great, until there mom called us in, because we were leaving. We went back, and everyone grabbed their stuff and walked in the car. We were going to Versailles today, and it was nearby. Versailles is a HUGE chateau with HUGE grounds. We pulled into a huge lot, and managed to find a spot, so we all piled out. We walked past the people trying to get you into buying overpriced umbrellas, and to one of the ticket stands. The chateau from this view was amazing, with a lot of golden paint. It took a long time to see it all, so we decided to just do one wing. Everyone paid their tickets, and we went into the first room. There was huge chain of bedrooms and living chambers and drawing rooms and just-for-being there rooms. One was devoted to Louis XIV, because he was one of the greatest kings of France. At the end of all of the fancy and wall-papered rooms, we walked outside, to tour the immense gardens. Everyone was tired, and could hardly walk, so we went on the Petit Train to tour around. It made a stop, so we decided to get out there, tour that part, then get on another train. The drive there led us through amazing trees and plants. After we got off, we could see a huge house (small in comparison to the main one), that was a separate country house!

We walked past it and through a little alley to come out to a little bridge. All of the kids walked up to the edge and looked down, because there was a ton of tadpoles! They were little and black, and scampering around. The adults called us back, so we came. After more walking, there was a big field, with farm animals. My favorite was a goat that was fat enough and black and white, which made it look like a cow. Around here were some cute houses, that had straw roofs, and didn’t look real. After that, we narrowly avoided getting in the way of some wedding pictures, and came to another bridge. I looked into the water to see, catfish! There were about 100 of them, full grown, trying to get the food the little girl was throwing. They were on top of each other, jumping in the air, and gasping when they got the food and inhaled pure air. My mom said that they should go fishing here, because they wouldn’t run out of catches. Claire offered to get all of the kids sorbet, so we agreed, and chose our flavors. I got orange off a little stand, and everybody else chose. We thanked her, and ate it. The orange was delicious, and definitely not artificial. We ate them as we walked back, to the Petit Train stop. We boarded again, and it took us back, taking a scenic route. We piled off, thanked the man, and walked back to the car, and then drove off, to their house. There, we grabbed some snacks, and ate them while we waited for Charles to come back. He then did, and told us that the trains had few trains at this time, and offered to drive us back to Paris. Saying goodbye to all of the kids, we had to go. We got in, and when we got back to the apartment, got out. Thanking him for the great day, we went back home, and went to bed. Tomorrow we’re seeing the Dorsay!