Monday, May 16, 2011

April 11th: R&R

The only aim for this day was to relax. For those in the tour group who were up in time, there were picnic baskets provided along with a map to get them to a scenic picnic sight, if they so chose. And in fact, I was surprised at how many were up and about early in the morning!

As for myself, I dawdled along with Sam, one of the girls I was rooming with, and we missed heading out with the main groups. Instead, we decided to head out on our own for a leisurely walk.

The grape vines that they grow in this area grow very, very low to the ground. You can see them in the photo above. And the grey and cream building in the center distance is the chateau, seen from the back. The front of the chateau overlooks a grassy area which then drops off into the valley below.

I distinctly remember noting that the area smelled lovely when we were walking...I'm sure the madly blooming lilacs had something to do with it.

We wound our way up and around the hills along a very quiet road. Quite a bit of it was only one lane, but even the two lane sections weren't that wide. And the houses were almost always right on the road. Now that could make for a dangerous time pulling out of the garage!

Not a new building in sight in this area. Everything was made of these orangey bricks, surrounded by stone walls. 

We cut between fields at one point, walking up this grassy road. Turns out that it was actually part of the route to the picnic spot as we met one of the groups halfway up. They hadn't made it to the picnic spot. They had decided that the view was nice enough from where they were, and that it was time for lunch, a couple bottles of wine and sunbathing.

They probably had the right idea, because at the end of the day, when several of the other picnic groups came back, the walk to the picnic spot had been nicknamed the "Beaujolais Death March." Apparently it was one long hill to climb to get to the final destination, and even though they had a great view, they were all hot and exhausted by the time they reached it. Makes me glad I hadn't made it along after all!

Instead, Sam and I reached the top of the grassy path and relaxed on a bench, admiring the view and being shaded by some enormous trees.

After a bit, we headed through the village of Theize... 

...Through some narrow streets...

...And around to one of the lower roads heading back in the direction of the chateau.

All of this was done at the slowest of speeds as we were just enjoying being out in the sun, seeing the area and chit-chatting.

We managed not to get ourselves lost, or even sunburnt, which is a victory in itself for me since I'm so darn pale. :)

The road back to the chateau led past the house of the winery owner. It's also the building you will find on the label on their wine bottles.

And then back to the gates leading into the grounds surrounding the chateau.

Those are some narrow narrow in fact, that our coach driver had to slow down and be extra careful not to hit them on the way in.

Feeling pretty lazy after our longer than expected walk, Sam and I scrounged some lunch and then spent the rest of the afternoon lounging on patio chairs on the lawn. Lying about in the sun, with a view of the French countryside, sure makes for a pretty relaxing day. This was our last night at the chateau, with us heading for the French Riviera and Monaco in the morning. We were going to need all the rest and relaxation we could get!


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