Saturday, August 21, 2010

Through the French Countryside

Mario and I awoke early, and spent some time exploring the grounds of the Chateau de Jonvilliers.  The dew on the grass sparkled, and everything took on an ethereal glow.  It was a treat to sit out on a chaise lounge and have my devotions! We had a lovely extended continental breakfast with croissants, jam, nutella, yogurt, cereal, coffee and tea.  Virginie chatted about her family (who owned this chateau for over 50 years) and revealed the secret to navigating the French countryside.  When coming to an etoile (star) or rotary, keep driving around until you see a sign for the next town in the direction your are headed. Veer right and head down that road until the next roundabout, where you again take the road to the second town in the chain towards your destination.  Unlike America, where you follow the signs at each intersection that lead you to the major city in which you intend to finally arrive, in France, you watch for the little villages along the way.  No wonder we were puzzled!  There were no signs directing us to Dijon.

We said our goodbyes, and headed for Dijon.  Our next night's lodging would be outside this city, so, armed with navigation tips, we confidently drove forth.  I lead our "troop" via Troyes, where I thought there might be some history to uncover.  Was I pleasantly surprised!  Not only was it involved in the French Revolution, but it was a town influenced culturally (food and architecture) by the border this province (Burgundy) shared with Germany.
We ate lunch at a thoroughly "Allemande" restaurant, that served "andouilles"; sausages made with tripe (cow's stomach) and encased in pig's intestines...Bon Appetit!  I accidentally switched with Dan's meal, and ended up eating them.  I thought they would be unsavory, but I was mistaken.  They were quite good.

We took the slow road after lunch towards Dijon, only to get lost. We attempted to call Chateau  de Longecourt, but couldn't get through.  Just at the right time, after being thoroughly frustrated, we received a call from Andrew, who was in South Africa at the time.  He had offered to let us borrow a spare phone before we left for the mainland... what a surprise to hear from him!  God certainly orchestrated this.  Andrew immediately assessed the problem, and told us how to make a call within France.  After he hung up, we dialed the Chateau, and reached Roland, our host.  He gave us what we thought were clear directions, but we had to retrace our steps twice.  Finally, around 11 pm, we arrived, and with bleary eyes, were greeted by Roland, whose family has owned the Chateau for over 10 generations.

It was as splendid as Versailles, and much smaller, but with a medieval flair...with a moat to boot!  The furnishings would have pleased Louis XVI.  Roland was an artist by trade, and was in the process of painting the small chapel in one turret of the chateau with a faux marble finish.  On one wall, Roland had created a very elaborate and decorative family tree.  Stunning!
At breakfast we were offered scones, juice and very weak tea.  Our host might have been an artist, but he was definitely not a chef.  But, none the less, we enjoyed this most adequate meal.  We bid Roland adieu, and set our course for Lyons.

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Journey into the Promised Land

Journey into the Promised Land
From Egypt to Israel