North America, Europe · 17 Days · 27 Moments · August 2017

"We may never pass this way again."

18 August 2017

After boarding flight 49, and the last person was seated, we waited an hour to be pushed back from the gate.
We awoke to a beautiful morning, although a 5:00 AM wake up call came way to soon. As we stood outside, waiting for the shuttle, there was a slight wind, nice anywhere in the world. It is Friday and it is hard to believe 12 days have passed. Linda and I were having breakfast, and we began our review of the trip. We decided three were 3 parts to our trip, so we began there. Best road trip. Favorite restaurant, main course, and best desert. Favorite hotel, experience, etc. No doubt about it, this was another wonderful trip. Linda and I are much alike, our favorites aligning, pretty much the same. Favorites: lluminaries at Chateau Chenonceau Finding Santon's we could afford Shower at the Nomad hotel Bed at the Holiday Inn, Blois Road trip from Blois to Aix Best meal, Les Baux Best desert's - tie, 2 pastry shops in Blois Breakfast at Le Mozart Getting lost- tie, Marseille and CDG airport Item purchased for Europe trips (purchased previous trip) - TomTom Our cup is full.

17 August 2017

Our drive from Aix to Paris. We began by eating breakfast on the terrace. Fresh squeezed OJ, real butter and fresh jams, hot chocolate for her and cafe au lait for me. The drive from Aix to Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport was non eventful. 60€ worth of tolls. Note: if driving from the south of France towards Paris, AVOID at all costs taking the highway Lyon, Center. We lost an hour on the main highway going through the city and the tunnel. Note 2: Along all the toll roads in France that we traveled, there were filling stations and restaurants, very convenient. We checked into the hotel, Nomad, left our luggage and headed to drop off our rental car, that experience was, Making Memories. It is a funny story. The hotel Nomad is ultra modern. Everything is controlled from a tablet: projection TV, lighting, window shades, to the unbelievable shower. We had a great meal and topped it off with a Lavender Creme Brule. Tomorrow we head home. Bitter-sweet.

16 August 2017

Today, our last day in Provence, was a HOT MESS. We drove to Marseilles to do two things. 1) take a boat ride to Chateau D'if, and 2) to go to the church that over looks the Vieux Port. To make a long story short, the town is riddled with detours and the mass of people on thier last minute holiday. We drove in circles, parking "Complete", and detours, we called it a day and spent the rest of the day leisurely walking the streets of Aix. On a side note = yesterday, while in Les Baux, we found two Santon's to add to our collection. YES! Now to pack for our all day trip to Paris.

15 August 2017

Started the day returning our car due to warning light. The Hertz folks at Marignane simply replaced the car so we could continue on our way. That done, we headed to Les Baux for some shopping and food. The place was packed and I had to park over a mile away. Steep and hot walking. We ate at a restaurant that was built on the cliff side. I always wanted to eat there. Linda and I both had the Steake Pouvre. It was good with a nice cool breeze. I stopped in at a Chapellerie de Les Baux, a hat shop. Bought one and the owner and I shared a photo together. On the way back, stopped at a Carrefour (Wal-Mart on steroids), doing some shopping; water, Coke, potato chips and cookies. Finished the day eating crepes and Haagen-Dazs in Aix. Oh, it was Texas hot today. 97! Linda was glistening and I was a sweat'n!

14 August 2017

First full day in the Provence. We began by eating petite dejeuner in Aix. The we went to the Santon maker, but we have been priced out of that market. Santon's I bought for $70, are now more than $300. No Santon's this trip. Next we drove the most twisty-turny mountain road on our way to Gordes, a village built on the top of a mountain and cliff. It is an engineering marvel. Then we traveled to Avignon to tour the Popes Palace. Did I say it was HOT? 88 DEGREES, and not much cooler in the Palace. Enjoyed just sitting at a restaurant, drinking a coke and watching people. The place was packed. Linda and I struck up a conversation with a lady on a year long trip around the world. She just got out of the Australian Army. Dinner back in Aix at La Grange. Great day.

13 August 2017

What an amazing day. Late last night, we decided that we would want to share eastern France with our friends and/or family, so we canceled reservations, made others and headed south to one of our favorite places in Europe, Aix en Provance. Yes, yes I know we were just here May of 2016, but we just love this area. Linda and I agree that we could live or retire here). We drove the Peage all the way (57€). We ran into stop and go traffic from Lyon to 20 km north of Aix. We lost an hour, but arrived safe and sound. We are staying at a hotel that we stayed at on Bruce and Kim's first trip with us, Le Mozart. It is small, but clean. The A/C works, which is a good thing since the temps have been in the 90's F. We walked the 20 mins to the Cours Mirabeau which has our favorite restaurants and people watching. We ate at "Pizza Papa's". And then walked around all the street venders. I bought Linda some lavender. We are tired, but fed, exercised, and ready for another excellent adventure.

12 August 2017

The highlights of Saturday in and around Blois. A little shoping to have petite dejeuner, soda and hair dryer. Then we visited the two main churches. I was highly disapointed in the stained glass. It was modernist style. No one was around to ask, but perhaps the original glass was destroyed during many of the wars in France. We had pizza for lunch, topping it off with patisseries. We went to the shop of a Master Chocolate/Patisserie. I have some video, but once again some of the best I have ever eaten. If nothing else, Blois has captured my "patisserie" heart. At 10:30 pm, we went to the illuminary program at the Chateau. 45 mins (standing in the middle of the main courtyard) of drama and a light show on the history of Blois. The colorful depiction was shown on the four walls. Really wonderful and if you are in Blois during, the summer, put this on your list. The drama was in French for 8.5 €, however, they have the program translated into English in a headset for an additional 2€.
Today was awesome. We started the day by eating some of the best patisseries I have ever had, and that is saying a lot. We then ventured to the Chateau Chambord, where we have been countless times, but I wanted pictures from my new camera. On the way we stopped and took pictures of a private chateau called Menars. It was gorgeous looking across the Loire at this beautiful chateau. We were here in May 2016, and Chambord had scaffolding covering most of the front. But not today. The rain stopped just long enough to take my video and stills with the sun shinning on it. Magnificent. We then went back to Amboise to shop and have dinner. We heard through Kimberly Biggs that Chateau Chenonceau was having "luminaries" Friday through Sunday. It started at 9:00 pm, so we were just killing some time. I am telling you that this 1 1/2 hours was worth the whole trip. This chateau is Linda and my favorite, and tonight was the the crown jewell of all our trips.

10 August 2017

For the first time, Linda and I checked out Blois, center ville. We shopped, bought unbelievable patisseries and had an early meal of salad and pizza. The final pucture was taken looking back across the Loire river, at the chateau Blois and two magnificent churches.
We next drove to d'Azay-le-Rideau, another chateau we haven't seen sine 1999. The entry we used then has changed dramatically and the old "Pathfinder" couldn't remember how to get there. However, we finally stumbled into it by happen stance. The chateau and grounds were very well kept. Note: there were about 30 The National Gendarmerie in full armor.
We started the day driving westward of Tours. We wanted to visit the chateau Villandry and its gardens. Linda and I visited it for the first time in the early 80's and the with friends, Bruce and Kim in 1999. We never toured the chateau as it was closed both times. Today we did. The chateau was beautiful and well apointed. However, the gardens were spectacular! The color and shapes were amazing. No picture can do it justice. From hedges, flowers, vegetables, rose trees and pear trees, it was a cornucopia of smells, texture, and dazzling color. We ate lunch in the village...ham and cheese on a baggett.

9 August 2017

Some pics of our adventures today. Chaumont sur Loire, Clos-Luce, and dinner one more tume in Amboise. On our very long hike to Chaumont sur Loire, we got pretty wet with the rain, then it stopped as we ended our tour of the Chateau. Ate lunch on the grounds, then drove to Amboise to tour Clos-Luce. This is where Leonardo Di Vinci lived untill he died. Been to Amboise many times and this is the first time we toured it. Beautiful grounds and many of his drawings, plans and models were on display. Wonderful, tireing and ready for some much needed sleep.
Chateau Chaumont sur Loire

8 August 2017

Chateau Amboise
We are staying in Blois, but we chose to eat our first meal in France at a restaurant that we discovered with Bruce and Kim. It is in Amboise. And, we are eating the same meal, onion soup and spaghetti.
Got checked into our hotel on the north side of Blois. They have hotel parking...awesome. Now for a quick nap.
The flight is not full, Linda and I moved to a row, 3 seats, spread out and are enjoying the flight. Two movies down, short nap and listening to Andrea Bocelli. 3 hours left on the flight.
On the plane.
Leaving on a jet plane.
Its raining as i am packing the car to drive to DFW. Been here before, rain will not stop us from having a great time.

6 August 2017

We are packed as far as we can, untill the morning. Linda and I are so excited to be making this trip. Visiting new places, chateau and churches. I am already thinking about the video I will produce. Now, if we can only sleep tonight.

2 August 2017

New video camera. Check Charger and extra battery. Check

1 August 2017

All reservations confirmed. We really are going to do this.