Sunday, May 15, 2011

April 10th: On The Road Again

Driving south from Paris, we began our journey to the Beaujolais wine region, north of Lyon.

We passed more of those brilliant yellow fields looking especially bright against the blue sky.

Part way through our journey we stopped at the Palace of Fontainebleau, which is one of the largest French royal chateaux.

 It is surrounded by 80 hectares of parkland and a small lake.

It was Sunday on the day we were there, so we were unable to go inside...

But even a leisurely stroll around the outside and the gardens was enjoyable.

Not to mention looking at some of the more interesting outdoor decorations...

...and having a good laugh at this fountain.

Best guess is that it's Diana the Huntress, and if you look closely....yes, the dogs are peeing.

An artist with a sense of humour maybe? :) 

Heading out of the palace grounds, we wandered a short ways up the street for some food.

More crepes, but this time with Nutella and banana. I'm really going to have to make this at home at some point. It was delicious!

Our drive continued through the French countryside...looking like something out of a painting. My through-the-bus-window pictures do not do it justice in the least.

We arrived at our next home-away-from-home around dinner time. Located just outside the small French town of Theize and smack dab in the middle of the rolling French countryside, Chateau de Cruix is owned by Contiki. We were lucky enough to be the only group staying there at the time, so other than an interesting experience with some bunkbeds (no ladders and no bars around them...) and a communal bathroom (five shower stalls and 3 bathrooms between 44 people...actually worked out better than you might think), it was a pretty spectacular place to stay. 

After some food, we walked the short distance to the Domaine de Cruix winery for a wine tasting. The winery has been in the hands of the same family since's that for a family business?

We had a quick run down on the wine making process and then were given some to try. That would be the red wine in the glasses. If you look closely at the clear bottle closest to the camera in the next photo, that's Eau de Vie, which I did not try. Mostly because it had some sort of ridiculous alcohol content (I want to say 70%, but I can't be sure) and probably not helped by the snake in the bottle either!

Needless to say, the group was feeling a little bit "happier" after this, and not a single soul went to bed early...mostly because there was a party.

Now, I don't have any really good pictures of myself from this night. So I'll just post the one picture. This one ridiculous picture of our tour manager and driver. The theme of the party was "Freaks and Geeks." 

Enough said. 

A bientot!

(Yes, I pulled out my high school French for this trip, its amazing how much I've forgotten!)


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