Today was not a good travel day..
Chenonceaux Travel Blog› entry 7 of 10 › view all entries
June 10th, 2010 – by: jenn79
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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...
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