Such a long day behind us!
Rising in Santiago at 5am and not getting here to the Chateau in the French countryside until 8pm makes us all hungry.
Our Château d’Oyré is of ‘fairytale’ proportions, sitting as it does at the end of a long tree-lined drive outside the village of Clermont-Créans near La Flèche. Wonderful gardens, roses and cottage flowers are in full bloom.
The main body of the castle was built in 1407 by Hardouin des Roches, Lord of Banstead. The two towers, one square and one pentagonal, and the steep slopes of the high roof are characteristic of the early fifteenth century.
The front was slightly modified in the eighteenth century and it was in this same period that the wing of the castle was built.
The interior is as comfortable as a family home without having the joyful sounds of children running in and out of high-ceilinged rooms and along miles of corridors. (Michael’s had a conversion in Spain, obviously!)
But here on the first evening, we grown-ups make as much noise around the kitchen table with lots of laughter over a few bottles of chilled white from the cellar, soup from the village, a board of cheeses and torn-off chunks of fresh baguette. Cuzzin Jennifer piles her baguette thick with salted butter while we cholesterol-conscious relatives look on, and decide to do it too.
I may appear to be a little cranky after today’s rigours of travelling on a low-cost carrier, plus the pressures of navigating out of Paris Orly Airport for Edmundo the driver in an unfamiliar manual gearshift rented car. Our tom-tom hadn’t been tuned for detours around road works, and after many circles as we searched for the motorway to Le Mans and the southwest, we finally make it to the chateau by following old fashioned street signs.
After all this, Juanita douses my pillow and sheets with lavender water promising me a good sleep. And it is – only to wake in the wee hours to find my way to the shared bathroom and running into the vision of a topless Ken in the hallway, obviously with the same idea.
Early riser Juanita is a busy bee, while cuzzin Jennifer and David are energiser bunnies. Cuzzin brings a breakfast tray to me in the bed this morning, and I’m loving not having to even think about ‘rising’ today.
Picasa Web Album
Cameras are always at the ready on the first day in a new location. Today is no exception with so much to explore.
Jenny's email home to the Family - as a change of pace.
Click here to read it. . .
One week on the road and we have arrived at the Pilgrim’s destination. Santiago… Meaning St James, patron saint of Spain. We passed all manner of people from all corners of the globe. We walked ‘the way’ on 4 occasions through fields of wild poppies and wildflowers. Our parador… A 15th C convent and Hosp originally, is now designated the oldest hotel in the world, and this is where we are staying. Our room or should I say ballroom, was originally for the Cardinal….all gold and crimson brocade Our party is a group of 12. Family and friends, and so to cause Michael no stress, re where to place people, he just said to our guide, put all names into the mix, and whatever will be. Actually, it is so big … Below is just a nook for reading I guess….it is over the top. 2 canopied queen beds …. Now I ask you why would the cardinals have need for this, but as I have just come from the basilica and sung Nearer my God to Thee, I had best be respectful!!
Thanks Shel for your lovely note and that sounds like a fun day out with Mum. It is difficult to know when to call her as we hit the road early each morning and by the time we get back to the hotel, it is her bedtime
We have thoroughly enjoyed nth Spain. No sign of their financial woes up this way. It is very beautiful, being spring and the 2nd most mountainous country, after Switzerland, in Europe. The people are so friendly. Not a lot of English spoken but our 3 guides thus far have been wonderful. They come from a company called ” Made for Spain”. We have learnt so much about history, geography, Spanish Civil War, their food, language and gossip about the Spanish Royal family.
One day we went for a walk and I casually said… Pablo, how is the royal family doing these days? Well that opened the floodgates of this hilarious story/gossip of the whole family. The affairs, embezzlement on and so on. He was in his element. As well as being a top guide, he teaches creative writing for three months each year. A very talented young man.
We cannot get over how inexpensive everything is… For example in this top tourist town, Mark and I escaped from the group and found this YUMMY tapas bar. We ordered 7 plates between us. I had 2 glasses of Tinto… Red wine and Mark a beer and one Tinto. In A$, it would have been approx $35. We are always thinking that they have made an error with our bill.
Richard in these old Paradors, the furniture is amazing. The banquet tables in European oak and wonderful iron ornamental attachments. The spaces are so enormous, even these can be dwarfed.
We are in the province of Galicia, famous for their seafood. We had a seafood feast yesterday and tried the local barnacles, sweet crabs and baked hake fish. So much is cooked with potatoes spiced with mild chilli and garlic…. Not forgetting the famous Spanish smoked hams….. Jamon…. Pronounced Hamon. All adding up to a very interesting holiday. Monday we go to Paris and drive to Le Mans near where we are staying, so I’ll finish here and hope you have not fallen asleep over my travel log.
Lots of love to all.
Mark and Jen xx