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« Poor Jessica - She Works For Iberia Airlines! | Main | Pic For The Day - Street Guitarist in Uzes »

The Loire Valley, Volcanos, And Bilbo's Pony

Last week we had friends from Scotland coming for a visit. At the last minute they had to postpone due to Volcanic Activity. Isn't that awesome!! Not that our friends couldn't come of course, but that they couldn't come due to a spewing volcano!!! My heart goes out to all the people who had plans gone wrong, but really - Mother Nature managed to disrupt quite a lot of the world there for a while, and I can't help it. I think that's kinda cool.

But of course we were disappointed. Well - actually the kids were shattered. So on Monday morning I decided that a roadtrip was in order.  We were on our way to the Loire Valley by noon. rules for finding last-minute hotels in Europe!

There were fields and fields like this all around the little village where we stayed. We thought it was mustard, and hollered 'Mustard' every time we passed a field. Turns out it's actually Oil Seed Rape, according to our friends. As Ian says - guess it's good that we didn't know. Yelling 'Mustard' is probably better.

This is the Chateau we stayed in. It was very lovely, if a bit stuffy. We felt like we had to whisper. The grounds were awesome! The land was beautiful, and massive, and filled with animals: Llamas, horses, alpacas, geese, peacocks, ducks, billy-goats (terrifically cute from the front, and horrible from the back - curly-haired goats should be helped with personal hygiene!)... Here was our favorite pony:

 We're currently reading the Hobbit. It's Eleanor's first time! It's Owen's - what - fifth? We imagined Bilbo Baggins riding on this pony, and feeling a bit irked that he was on a pretty little white pony, and not a rugged brown one, or slightly sinister black.

At Chenonceau I bought Owen a book on French history. He spent the rest of the week reading. Have you tried your kids on the Horrible History series? A word of advice: Don't buy it for them just before you rent a rowboat at Chenonceau. You won't get their head out of the book, and you won't get any help with the rowing, and you'll be so busy keeping out of the way of the other boats on the canal that you won't get decent pictures of the castle. Ahem...

But you do get a picture of a charming little nook. This guy might be my favorite thing I saw all week. He's peering over at a very fancy bed that used to belong to Francois 1. I've named him Germaine.

Yesterday our friends did arrive, a week late, but just as fun as always, and we'll be spending the week running round the countryside. Ian wonders why I keep calling him 'Julie Our Cruise Director'.  Being from the UK, he's never seen the Love Boat. I really should stop. I'm afraid he's getting a bit bothered.

It's good to have people here to get us out and about. That way you get to see a lot more of France!



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Reader Comments (9)

Your right, the yellow does look like the mustard fields of the Napa Valley. So what is Oil seed Rape used for?

The chateau is beautiful, I can see how you may have thought you had to whisper. More fun to run through all the rooms shouting, searching for the dungen, or skating in the ball room.

Owen is a child after my own heart...........oh, the joy of relaxing on beautiful grass and reading a book. Heavenly!
Enjoy your history book Owen!
All my love..........Nana June

Apr 25, 2010 at 2:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterMOM

Funny that your post came just now. I was doing some online research anticipating a possible trip to Europe next year with my kids and booking hotels seems on the surface rather complicated - at least getting a room for 5. Helps? Hints? I'll be reading your blog with more detailed interest. We would probably visit Austria, Switzerland, and France because we speak the languages there and would rather take our kids back to the places we've lived first, but have never visited them thinking about what kids might like!

Apr 25, 2010 at 8:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterLori

I thought you were going to sit at home and be boring while I'm away. Not fair, not fair, not fair... Okay then, I just spent the weekend in Mill Valley with your Dad and Kim, ate at Memphis Minnie's and got to see Little Motorboat. Miss you.

Apr 25, 2010 at 8:43 PM | Registered CommenterBob Redpath

I think the Motorboat comment may have been a low blow, Bob. Sorry we missed you tonight, have high hopes to see you this coming week.
B., Germaine is hot.

much love to all the whole lot of you.

Apr 25, 2010 at 11:46 PM | Unregistered Commenternoho1960

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Apr 26, 2010 at 4:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterHotel in Stevens Point

Lama has nothing to say but "wow"
So, "WOW!"


Gunga Gulunga,


Apr 26, 2010 at 1:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterYo Lama

Hey folks, what happened to your Amazon link, I've been doing all my shopping there to keep you guys housed and fed, buying things I didn't even know I needed, well maybe I did need the rhinestone studded platinum alloy backscratcher. I went to shop today and the link was gone.

Apr 26, 2010 at 1:55 PM | Unregistered Commenterjim

We've taken the link off to re-vamp for a few minutes (read a month or so), We LOVE that you think of us when you havethe urge to shop!!

Apr 27, 2010 at 12:42 AM | Registered CommenterBob & Brenna Redpath


I've been reading your blog since you were in Serbia and loving it! I think I found it from another unschooling blog...anyhow. Just a quick comment on oil seed rape, or rapeseed, or as it's called in Canada, canola, is used to make cooking oil. Similar to sunflower oil, but I think it is considered a bit more "heart-healthy". Canola fields were always a big favorite of mine, I love how yellow they are!

Apr 28, 2010 at 2:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterJenT

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