12.04.2011 - 16.04.2011 24 °C
So after leaving Champagne, we had a fairly long drive to Loire. Probably less long if we hadn't decided to try to find food in Orleans - which is a bit bigger than we thought, with lots and lots of traffic, so we jumped back on the highway and kept driving. Just to explain the roads here - they are very good, but all the big roads are tolled, and as you get onto the road, you collect a ticket and then when you exit, you just pay the required toll. Easy with a credit card..... and for the first few days that's how we managed it.... so imagine our... let's go with concern... when our credit cards stopped working. Gotta love banks really.... we're still not sure why they have stopped working for the toll roads - ANZ has assured us that there is no "hold" on them, but now we have to find the right booth to pay cash.
For anyone trying to contact me by phone, I've had some issues with my mobile as well. Have a query into Three, but their customer service is very slow... so email is probably best if you need to reach us.
Anyway - made it to Bauge. Cute apartment. Town was small, but used to be significant historically, and there is a Chateau and an historical Apothocary. Unfortunately for us, they were closed for restoration, so we couldn't go through, but here are some pics of the town.
We spent a day driving around Loire looking at Chateaus - there are lots in the area. We drove to four I think, but two of them are privately owned and not open to the public, and one of them was privately owned, but had tours. We really only went through the Chateau de Angers, which was lovely and quite an impressive (and defendable) castle. It also housed the Apocolype Tapestry (no pictures allowed) which was over 100m long and depicted various scenes from the Apocolypse overlaid against the 100 year war.
Yesterday we drove from Loire to Bordeaux via Saumur (another Chateau) which was pretty cool... and Saumur itself seems like a really nice place. Bigger than Bauge, and also home to the National Riding School (which we didn't view), and strangely - the Tank Museum which we found in a "happy" accident. A whole building dedicated to tanks. Lucky me. The highlight for me was the gift shop which had some great lego kits with various army scenarios.
We arrived in Bordeaux yesterday evening and had dinner with Raymond's friends Eric & Marin. Lovely company and food, but a late night.
Today, Marin took the time to show us around Bordeaux this morning - much better through a local's eyes. It feels a bit like Melbourne here... lots of small streets and funky boutiques. I've made my first real french purchase today too.... 2 x 24 piece Inox cutlery sets for home - yes I know it's a weird thing to buy and lug home.... but it's lovely and was reduced.... and will replace our basic Ikea stuff (which is starting to show rust spots) for everyday usage.
Anyway.... that's all for now. Tomorrow we move onto Toulouse and our last two nights in France.