So I know that it is June and I am way behind on my blog posts. In the beginning of April I went to Barcelona for a weekend, which was dramatic and tiring and fun to say the least. Barcelona is such a beautiful city.
Most of you are probably reading to find out how my mom’s trip was. It was fantastic. We got to see so much and really loved it. It was so nice to get to spend some time with my momma. To start of my friend Micayla came to the airport with me and waiting for mom was really hard. Every person that came through the little opening doors I was jumping up and down. When she finally came through I squeaked “that’s her!” No I mean I actually squeaked-like a mouse. But she got to taste quenelles that night–a Lyon specialty (you can see a picture of them in my first post) and champagne of course and macaroons.
We left Saturday morning for Tours. It is about five hours away from Lyon and the region around Tours is called the Loire Valley and it is known mostly for the castles there–there are a lot. We visited one on Saturday with my host family called “Chenonceau”. It is the “woman’s castle” because mostly woman have built and ruled it. It is my favorite it is just so pretty, I actually visited it on my first trip to France in high school.
We actually stayed in an apartment that belonged to friends of the family, so we met them for drinks and dinner later (and had the best mimosas ever). So we spent the next two days in Tours and visited Chambord and while there took a horse carriage ride around the property, and it proceeded to pour down rain. It was insane but the castle was beautiful. The city of Tours is actually pretty cool as well. And Saturday night it rained so we ate pizza and drank champagne and watched The Last Song, which was the only thing on my computer we could watch. I love being all snuggled up while it rains.
Vouvray is white wine from that region and mom likes white wine so we tried to go find some on our way to La Rochelle, a little fishing village on the edge of France. Funny thing is, there are two La Rochelle’s in France. We stopped at a winery in the pouring rain and the guy was super nice and went “you aren’t twenty minutes away, you are two and a half hours away”. Well that cut into our time a bit but we backtracked and headed out. The city was so cool it was this old fort on the edge of the ocean. The fort is still there and the city itself was so old.
Ile de Ré was so cool. We went there the next day and it is this little tiny island that is famous for bike riding around….but little did we know about the donkeys. It was a bit cold to go bike riding anyways! We stayed in one of the little towns on the island and we were going for a stroll into town when we saw this place that has biscuits called “l’ane en culottes” and I started laughing “donkeys in underwear”. Mom loves donkeys so naturally we tracked the place down. While talking to owner we realized the DONKEYS WERE REAL. Like they wore pants. Awesome. So much awesome.
The story goes that the donkeys used to bring salt from the sea and other goods from St. Martin (on the island) to other towns. The mosquitoes were so annoying and they put these little pants on the donkeys to protect them, much to the donkey’s–and our–benefit. We checked out the donkey town that night for dinner and found donkeys sans pants and also walked onto the grounds of the prison. Anyways we found that the donkeys were going to put their party pants on the next day. So we changed our reservations and canceled our wine tours and buckled down for the night. We visited a little market the next day beforehand and then we got to see them. So seeing the donkeys was incredible…but they didn’t like us much. Well my donkey, Opus, refused to move and mom had to drag him the whole way because he refused to move. At the end, she went to climb on the same donkey and the guy goes “no no you get BIG donkey” and gives her Galopin. He was quite hungry and frequently tried to snack on the five minute stroll. I was laughing so hard he was successful once and bent all the way down, almost causing mom to fall off. I have a stuffed one in my room now that I may or may not (hint: I totally do) sleep with at night.
After we sadly parted way with the donkeys we headed to Bordeaux and drank champagne and ate cheese and went to a pub in the city center to dinner. May 1st here is a work holiday, so the whole city was shut down the next day pretty much, but it was still a nice city. But the after visiting the city we went to a cool winery for a tasting (three full glasses of wine, cheese, and coffee). Red wine is my thing, but mom was a good sport anyway. May 1st is also the day that all the wineries are open for tours. It was awesome and on the way out we got to drive through all the vineyards.
We then headed to a bed and breakfast in the middle of nowhere–and I mean that in a good way. It was so relaxing there and all these little towns were around it. It was not touristy at all which was a bit refreshing. Le Cartounier is the name. They make all their bread and dinner homemade and from local ingredients. Seriously, that chestnut soup though. One of the owners is a masseuse too, so that is always cool. If you get a chance I totally recommend it for a girls weekend or a romantic one. There was this little town near it that is the hazelnut capital of Europe, and Nutella gets all their hazelnuts from there. It was so awesome mostly because I am fanatical about hazelnuts.
The last few days were all about seeing Lyon and its beauty. Mom met my friend Amber and we did a cool boat tour and got to meet my friend Micayla’s family for lunch and a trip to the basilica on top of the hill. All in all I would say it was a successful trip.