Goodbye Sam & CarolSeptember 20, 2019 in France ⋅ 🌙 18 °C
Our time in Amboise had been a highlight for all our team. The spirit of da Vinci is everywhere, especially as this year marks the 500th year since his death. Our accommodation at the historic Clos D'Amboise had also been memorable. After all it is not often that you get the chance to stay in a 400 year old mansion.
The morning dawned crystal clear but quite chilly. Our riders began the day decked out in jackets and jumpers - a far cry from those scorching hot days that we shared together in Avignon, just three weeks previously.
We had not gone more than a km or so before we found ourselves in the middle of the weekly market. Once again the temptation was just too great for the female members of the group and they quickly disappeared with their purses in their hands. I stayed to watch the bikes.
About 30 minutes later Maggie reappeared. "There is a great hat shop that you should look at", she demanded. It was useless to debate the issue, so I meekly followed her like I always do. About 10 minutes later I was the reluctant owner of a newsboy cap. I suppose I should be grateful that it only cost me 25 Euro, and not the $65 Euro that Gordon and Gerry had paid for theirs. I had to admit that it was a bit of fun wearing it and I did feel a little more French than before.
The ride soon meandered into the vineyards of the Montlouis region where we rode through a succession of vineyards and past a series of underground wine cellars. Wine is obviously a big deal in this region, but as a non drinker, the big mystery to me is why anyone would actually pay money to drink the stuff.
We also encountered some of the biggest hills of the ride so far. Of course the ebike riders sailed up with huge smiles on their faces, while the rest of us huffed and puffed in their wake. Yvonne had decided to take up the ebike previously used by Samantha, so she had an extra reason to be enjoying herself.
We rejoined the path along the Loire on the outskirts of Tours and then crossed the river on a bikes only bridge. It was a glorious way to be introduced to this substantial city of some 400,000 inhabitants. Our hotel is the appropriately named "Grand Hotel", situated right next to the amazingly beautiful Gare de Tours railway station.
The Grand Hotel was once one of the city's luxury hotels and it still bears the wonderful Art Deco style that was so popular during the 20's and 30's. Although the hotel now feels like a grand old dame who is now enjoying a stately retirement, we were thrilled to find that the room was spacious and looked directly out to the front of the railway station.
In the evening we enjoyed a "Private Soiree" at the Petite Cuisine. This was a remarkable experience as we were the special guests at what felt like the owner's house. We were all seated around a large table while the owner and her assistant cooked our dinners in the fully visible kitchen. It was another unique dining experience in our culinary odyssey.Read more