17 September 2010


We woke up at 5am, I hadn’t slept very well as I was thinking about how early we had to wake up. From London we drove down to Dover to get the ferry to Calais, then from there drove a seven hour drive to Loire Valley stopping only for lunch. We arrived at our Gite at almost 8pm; I drove the last couple of hours.

We are in wine country surrounded by vine yards. Our particular area specifies in rosé wine so there was a bottle of local wine in our kitchen. We went for dinner but could only find one restaurant open and had local wine and pasta.

We went to Sunday morning market, the food was expensive but we picked up cheese, bread, mussels, fruit, melon, strawberries and red currents, then wine and garlic. We had lunch outside our Gite with the owner’s dog. On Sunday afternoons everything in France was closed, so I read and napped.

Tuesday I finished my book, then we went out to Saumur to visit a mushroom museum. It was an underground cave system that was cold, damp and dark with lots of different types of mushrooms that I took photos of.
The deeper underground we went the lower the ceilings were and the colder it got, there were also pitch black walk ways. I love mushrooms and the air smelt very strongly of them
That night a bat flew into our room. We couldn’t really work out how it got in since all the windows were closed. We opened a window trying to get it to fly out but it roosted on the low beams of the bedroom. I wanted to cup it in my hands and let it outside but I didn’t want to damage its tiny body. We will be going to some vine yards and Champagne factories to do some tasting. There is also the Saumur wine festival.

Thursday we went to the city of Tours, then a Châteaux. Today we went to Chinon, and while visiting a local Vine Yard, did wine tasting and were shown around where they make the wine. I bought a bottle of Champagne which I’m going to keep for a special occasion. We then went for a walk around the nearby houses. So many are abandoned because of France's inheritance laws - they have all these great fruit trees growing on the roads and around the barns, so we ate some grapes and peaches we found as we went. It makes me want to own a little farm and grow my own vegetables so much.
Friday our last day we visited Champagne caves, it was one of the biggest in the area and the underground caves stretched kilometres. We saw how they made Method Champagnes, which is the Champagne method for making it outside of a Champagne area of France. I bought a vintage French poster from their early advertising.