Today was not a good travel day..

Chenonceaux Travel Blog

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Chenonceaux Castle
Holy jeezus, when things go wrong, they really go TERRIBLY wrong.

During those late nights that Tracy, RJ and I were online trying to book our train tickets, I generally sorted our options by price. The train to Tours was a bit more expensive by the time we were ready to book, but the limiting factor was that the tours departed at certain times. I wanted to get the most out of our day so I booked a full-day tour to the nicest castles that were recommended online by other travelers. But that required we get into Tours before 9am. For some reason the trains were not lined up well and the cheapest ticket departed at 6:45am with a 8-something arrival, giving us nearly an hour to spare.
the gallery that stretches across the river
Though we took the first RER out of Chessy, a couple stops before we made it to our Metro transfer, something happened at the train station and we got stuck for a minute or so. My super-NY-city sense kicked in and I motioned for everyone to get off the train as I had spotted a parallel metro line that would take us to our transfer. Unfortunately we also missed that metro and I got nervous and asked RJ to pull out our tickets. What I thought was a 7am train turned out to be 6:45. We were definitely going to miss our train to Tours. We got to Montparnasse station at 7am and I panicked because I had a feeling the next train available to tours didn't leave out of this station, but out of a different station, the same one that our return trip landed us in.
I thought this was the cutest photo op!


We waited about 5 minutes for a ticket person and when I explained what happened in my awful french, he understood and told us the prices individually. Thanisa, who had just bought her ticket yesterday, only had a 13 Euro or so change fee. Tracy, who bought through a US site, had a 20 something Euro change fee. RJ and I, who had the cheapest/nonrefundable tickets had to buy brand new tickets at a whopping 55 Euro for just ONE WAY. Jeez!

But we were in luck, the next train was about 40 min away which allowed me time to have a ciggie and de-stress. But my Euros were also almost all gone - aah! We boarded and when we arrived at 9 on the dot, then I grabbed Thanisa to go buy the extra tour ticket while RJ and Tracy were going to look for the tour bus and stop them by any means necessary.
But when I turned around, Tracy and RJ were nowhere to be seen! They were supposed to be right behind us as Thanisa and I went into the tourist office and they should have been outside looking for the bus! Turns out they didn't see what direction Thanisa and I headed and followed arrows instead of asking for help, haha =) But they found us eventually and turns out it wasn't necessary to have a heart attack as the tour bus was also late.

I got a bit annoyed at the tourist office as Tracy and Thanisa headed off to use the restroom leaving me to deal with french-speaking and buying Thanisa's tickets. It wasn't even my ticket!! I planned ahead and bought everything in advance and guess what - I had to use the restroom too! And just once I would've loved it if someone had said to me during this trip "why don't you go take care of yourself while I take care of this" instead of leaving everything in my lap.
view from Amboise chateau
Afterall, it was my vacation too! Ok enough whining.. But it was a momentary annoyance, it was just a super-stressful morning. RJ could tell I was annoyed even though I didn't say anything and tried to comfort me in a similar wordless manner - love you RJ! Be careful everyone, I think RJ is a bit psychic!! =)

It started raining as our driver took us to our first chateau - Chenonceaux which is the famous one that sits over a river and has a maze garden! RJ revealed his sorcery and made the rain go away just as we pulled up to the gates of the chateaux but the gloominess didn't make for the best pictures unfortunately. Our driver explained a little bit about the castle during our 20 minute drive and what we would see the rest of the day. After Chenonceaux he would take us to Chateau Ambrois where we would have time to eat lunch in the town nearby.
welcome to my humble cottage!
Unfortunately we were hankering for asian food, and so were duped into going to the local chinese restaurant "Peking something" that turned out to be horrible and expensive. It was a strange experience being in France and chewing down food that you didn't really enjoy. Strangely this happened a couple of times during our trip, which is a huge percentage because we ate outside a total of something like 4 times.

We were left with a mere 30 minutes to explore Chateau Ambrois, which turned out to be more than enough as it was very small. We ran to get some chocolates before running to the tourist office to meet our next guide Valerie, who would take us to 2 more castles. She was 10 minutes late, so we fought off gnats in the park for 15 minutes, worrying that somehow she had forgot us.
Chateau Cheverny - my favorite!
Unfortunately, much time during this weeklong trip was spent waiting for transport, which is such a downer and steals away happy momentum.

When she finally arrived, we were crammed into the car with 2 other couples - a French couple that we didn't speak to us much, and a mean Spanish couple, the wife being no less described than a pitbull of a woman. She was rude, mean and just a big bully. During one course of translation, the guide didn't quite get to translating her speech into spanish just yet and this lady said "what, all of a sudden spanish is no longer good enough to translate into?" WOW.

Our third castle visit was to Chambord. Thanisa was expressing some weariness so I stayed with her at the local cafe while RJ and Tracy went on ahead. Glad we didn't go as it started THUNDERING and raining pots and pans! We stayed at the cafe with a gaggle of cute waiters and waitresses who were sweet, attentive and wonderful.
I enjoyed my time resting though Thanisa wasn't in the mood to talk as she was so exhausted.

We left and made our way to our last castle - Cheverny. This was probably the nicest castle of them all - furnished beautifully, large expansive grounds, a wedding shoot was even being done here, and we got here just as the rain was halting.

to be continued...
RJ82 says:
jenn! i did sense you were abit annoyed. i felt bad.. im a bit empathic. lol
Posted on: Jun 16, 2010
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Chenonceaux Castle
Chenonceaux Castle
the gallery that stretches across …
the gallery that stretches across…
I thought this was the cutest phot…
I thought this was the cutest pho…
view from Amboise chateau
view from Amboise chateau
welcome to my humble cottage!
welcome to my humble cottage!
Chateau Cheverny - my favorite!
Chateau Cheverny - my favorite!
jump! =)
jump! =)
tracy jumps too!
tracy jumps too!
view from Ambois castle
view from Ambois castle
interesting arabic symbols at chat…
interesting arabic symbols at cha…
its hunting season!
it's hunting season!
Chenonceaux
photo by: Vikram