Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Avoiding ABC Rambling

Our pals The Cunninghams who refer to "ABC Syndrome". This phenomenon takes place within an Australian traveller's brain when he or she visits too many castles (or chateaux) in one day. They are heard to mutter, "Not Another Bloody Castle (or Chateau)!". ABC Syndrome is to be avoided at all costs. There are far too many gorgeous castles around the Loire to allow oneself to get cross at them. The Ramblers and their current companions-in-rambles, viz. Andy and Graz, Liz and Tony, have made the decision to limit such visits to two per day. One from the outside and one paid entry. This has worked a treat to date and each of these visits brings forth fresh gasps of astonishment and marvel. Not one sign of ABC Syndrome from anyone!

Take today's 'payent'. A much smaller chateau, to be sure, but easily the most 'liveable' and homely. We were greeted at the gate by the owner, a descendant of the Polish soldier who fought for one of the French kings (or maybe it was Napoleon) and who was given the chateau in gratitude for the fine job of fending off the Russians. This owner chap spoke Polish himself and he a d Grazyna had a jolly good 'mag' in that complicated-sounding language. He gave us a discount of 1 euro each and offered a genuine wish that we enjoy our visit to his chateau. And we did!

The highlight for me was a lovely spiral staircase that we were allowed to walk up (lots of these joints have barriers that block off the enthusiastic ABC Syndrome candidate). This one made enjoyment and direct experience almost compulsory. There were also some intriguing old family photos as well as some wonderful paintings on the walls. [There were some mounted heads of dead animals as well, but these should be overlooked and forgiven because of the wondrous nature of everything else.]

Yesterday's chateau was a 'pearler' as well. This one we accessed on bicycles we hired at Blois. Jude, Andy and I (Graz took the bus) struck out along a bit of a skanky track alongside the Loire. It turned out to be not quite so skanky near our lunch spot and got even better once we left the river and headed off to the chateau. It was along this road that Dear Jude came a cropper. She was having a 'sticky beak' at a building hidden behind a huge hedge, when BLAM! SMACK! WHACK! she embedded her handle bar into the indicator light of a parked truck belonging to the local council ("Mairie"). A sore wrist, a bruised tummy and a couple of finger-cuts resulted, but Dear Jude can at last be welcomed into the sibling-hood of cyclists having taken the obligatory fall. Welcome to you, Jude!

The Chataeu-At-The-End-Of-The-Bike-Ride had its own brand of charm, perched as it was in the middle of a paddock. For Jude and Graz this was a 'payant', while Andy and I were content to gaze from the outside and then to tootle off back to Blois on our bikes. [Fortunately there was a spot near the chateau where bikes could be dropped off.]

The ride back to Blois was much nicer than the rode there, with sleepy villages to hurtle through and bois (woods) and forets (forests) to capture our imaginations. Andy really pushes the high gears and it was a job keeping up with him. I told him about spinning and the virtues of low-gear riding, but he much preferred the big gears, complaining that these hire bikes could really do with one more higher gear. I gave up and did some high gear pushing myself. We only got lost once, but were put back onto the right path by a callow one-language youth, who pointed to the road we should have taken. He disappeared over his bridge, while we two headed to Blois along our ever-changing pathway to the carpark, the car, the trip back to the chateau, the girls and the trip back home to Esvres to meet up with Liz and Tony.

No ABC Syndrome as YET! We still have a couple of days in the Loire, however, and we shall need to keep our wits about us. I'll let youse know ...

Till then we remain,

Your Favourite Ramblers!

No comments:

Post a Comment