Time to leave Italy for a while and sample the delights of France.
Now I know there are two camps – those who love Italy best ( I know who you are) and those who favour France.
What is the difference? Let’s see!
Well we set off from San Gimignano at around 9 and drive Steve style along the coast of Liguria before heading north near Genoa. The drivers were crazy but fine. The Autogrills predictable and serving lots of coffee, panini, pastries and selling crap like pink pigs and old CD’s. We had a little picnic by the side of the road at an Autogrill. We jumped back into the car and continued on to Aosta. A nice ski town with lots of people out to have fun in the piazza on a Saturday night. Picked a trattoria for dinner. Good dinner, friendly people .
Next morning had breakfast in the hotel dining room to the accompaniment of the owner playing the piano accordion. Those Italians, you have to love them. He apologised for his playing due to his arthritis.
Then the drive to France via the Mount Blanc tunnel – an engineering feat – and arrived in Macon (where the Tour de France went through this year). We stopped not at an Autogrill but at a lovely French restaurant by a lake eating smoked salmon and trying not to drink wine.
Arrived in Macon and had a walk around the quiet town. It’s rather nice in a restrained French way with lots of white buildings and lace work verandas . Sat for a drinks and waited 1/2 hour for the waiter to decide to visit our table. In Italy we would have already had 2 drinks and known the waiter by name! We walked across the river to a restaurant and after a really lovely dinner where we all had something with a beautiful sauce we spent the night in a smart hotel where the rooms were very co-ordinated. No kitsch flowers on display.
Next day Steve and I left Peter and Carmel – they headed north and we head across to Amboise in the Loire Valley – to “do chateaux not shops’ quote by Steve. I’ll miss them so much (both the Harrisons and the shops!). We had lots of laughs and survived the two days in the car together.
We arrived to meet Chantal the owner of our little house. It’s gorgeous- located on the river looking towards the huge chateau on the hill. We can walk across the bridge or even ride the bikes left for us.
Had a good nights sleep- medication for my cold kicked in and I was able to breath. Only complaint – the beautiful pink cover – doona was too hot! Small concern really but I love a top sheet not just a doona!
Next morning Stefan headed across the bridge to the best patisserie in Amboise and returned with 2 crossiants and 2 choc filled pastries. I had a corner of 1 and he ate the rest . I kid you not. But as he reminded me he’s only here for 2 weeks I’m here for 3 or is it 4 months so I can’t eat like that every day. He will whilst he is here!
Off to meet Geoff and Lindy Shaw for lunch in Loches. What a lovely thing to do.