Saturday, July 07, 2007

Chambord - Loire Valley

Few days before we visited Chenonceau and Amboise on the run,
but this time we visited Chambord on the fly.

It was one of these days everything you plan would not happen. You have to come up with open eye and large portable flexibility (portable flexibility is now being sold in can).

We had to go from Paris to Bordeaux with our life ever long lasting suitcase by train yet we had to drop the rented car at the airport near Paris just before starting. We drove instead to Bordeaux and dropped the car to the nearest airport close to Bordeaux instead. When you looked at the trunk full of our luggage, we had no other way than driving South, instead of moving our lives across Paris in a cab.

So around 10 in the morning, 5 suitcases and some other backpacks in the trunk of the car, we drove with music middle blast to the nearest highway France could offer us. After some round about and few lights we end up in a queue to South. Lunch was done like all the French tourists do, on the side of car between car breaks and refueling tanks. Journey was pleasant amount other wheels, blue sky and early summer smells.

It was 3:46 PM when we saw Chambord on the next exit sign. Why not, after all? That was the only one that we missed few days earlier and we desperately wanted on our list of thing done in France. It was supposed to be the best of all the Chateaux in France, and we were only few kilometers away from it… when would be the next time we would have the chance to see it again?

Signal turned, slowed down, gear lowered and up the way to the smallest road we used to like. Turned left, turned right, straight down the road, followed the 4 buses, parked and up we are in the fabulous Chateaux of all. It was there in front if us, we had 1 hour to see it all, but we wanted to do it. Rain started, but who cares inside should be fine… still running to the entrance. We had 48 minutes left to see the greatest…

And there, what did we have?

The longest queue ever seen in France since the major strike in 1981 after Mitterrand election. We were stuck in the line with two ladies to handle 4.5 millions visitors at 4:12 PM… what is wrong with these people … do they all had the same idea as us? Why do they want to visit the greatest Chateaux at 4:13PM?

But we were smart, to shorter the queue time when in team, split! So we did!
J. had a group of 25 young kids who try to have a global discount without showing their student card… and I had a retiree couple in front of me who try to have a retiree discount without showing their retiree card. Bottom line, 15 minutes wasted in line.

We only had 35 minutes left to visit the biggest Chateaux in the Loire Valley, but we did worse and we were ready for the challenge. Camera on one hand, and map on the other, we were like these Japanese tourist stuck to their camera lenses, hoping to have a good shot that you can see back home.

Not time to waste … here is the dark tree alley, here is the big stairway, here is the second wife room, here is first wife bedroom, here is the black widow room, here is ... I don't know, take a picture we will see later.

"Sorry we are late!"
"Excuse me, we are late!"

That was great!

We came back to the car around 5 PM, before closing time, enough time to drive safely back to Bordeaux. One thing that I know for sure now: it would have been nice to actually see the Chateaux of Chambord now that we flew over.

Maybe next time