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When I started my retirement travels - the first of which was my solo overseas trip to Italy in 2009 - I wanted a way to share it with family and friends as it happened. Hence, "My Travel Journal". However I realized I wouldn't always be on a trip and wondered what to do with the blog in between times. My daughter pointed out, wisely, that travels can also include trips to the kitchen to try a new recipe, trips to visit family, trips to my neighborhood Starbucks, or a fun day trip with a friend. You're welcome to join me on any of these journeys!

P.S. I've set up separate pages for each of my major trips (see tabs above).

I recently added an "Italian Word a Day" thingie which shows up at the bottom of every page. You see the word and can click to hear it pronounced. I've been enjoying it and I think my accent is improving as time goes by.

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May 22, 2012

A Tuesday report for Saturday, Part Two

Next, on to Chateau D'Nitray  which for me was the highlight of the day.  On the way, I took a few pictures from the bus window and I'm sorry I can't tell you what the buildings are - two are churches, obviously and the other was another chateau.



Quite a fancy chateau!
And this was fun to see after all the ancient, beautiful buildings and peaceful river.  There are chickens way over on the right-hand side.

Now, to the chateau.  It is privately owned and the owners have a winery producing, from what we tasted, some very nice wines.  They only sell locally though because they're a small operation.  I thought the man who greeted us and showed us around was the owner but Heather said he wasn't so I guess she heard something I didn't.  We did our tasting first - a  delicious white (and I don't really like whites all that much but this one was full of flavor), a rose and ditto the rose, one or two reds which were quite good, and a dessert wine, which try as I might, I just don't like.  Then we went into lunch and although it was different from the meals we had after the pasta class in Tuscany and the truffle hunt in Umbria, it was pretty delicious, just not very attractively presented.  We then got a brief tour of things with the man reading from I guess an English script although he doesn't speak English so I didn't quite understand that.  But it was kind of cute because he frequently had to stop and consult with the guide on a word or two.  And I searched for some history cause I find that interesting and finally found a paragraph that I got Google to translate and as near as I can make out the estate was established in the 15th century and according to this little history, one of the pediments on one of the dormers has the date 1516 carved into it.  So, it's old and looks so nice and, not new, but very sturdy and well-kept.  There's the main house with all its pretty dormers, two round towers which served as the entrance to the property, one of which is a very simple chapel and the other is a pigeon house!   Across from those and at the other end of the house is a small, believable, hunting lodge.  And across from the house is the building where they now do the wine-making and one section of it still has the old wine press which sits on a rock floor that has a rim around it.  Apparently, the wine would come out of the press and run down through a hole in barrels(?) or (?)  Anyway, quite interesting and very picturesque.  To whit:

 The manor house...
 The building with the red and white quoins is where the wine is made...the other building is about the same age as the house, I am assuming...

 The hunting lodge...
 The tiny, tiny chapel showing one of two stained glass windows.  And, Chris, the light thingie on the camera is obviously helping with stained glass pictures, although everything else ends up pretty dark.

 The pigeon tower was really something.  Each one of those holes is l-shaped inside and the not-visible portion is for the nest.  The visible portion is where they go in and out and just sit and watch the world go by, I guess.
 That's the very pointed roof of the tower which is open so the pigeons can get in and out (covered with chicken wire now).  And the ladder is a shocker.  The man climbed up it to demonstrate what it does (without first telling us) and Heather and I about got decapitated because once up the ladder he somehow made it spin around quite rapidly.  I think in actual usage you'd swing slower because it's for gathering eggs, pigeons, and cleaning out the holes (yuck!)  Pretty nifty though.
 And here he is reading his script...Ahmed, our guide, is standing by for translation help.
 This is looking into the older area with the wine press I mentioned (the red and yellow thing in the back).
And he didn't show us this -- I just came across it.  It's where they used to bake all the breads and such.  The object standing up on the floor on the left side is, I'm assuming, a peel for sliding the dough into the oven.

And here are a couple of people pictures...

 I took this one mainly to get a picture of our happy and very French bus driver - on the right with the big smile.
Just milling around - wine guy in his apron, Ahmed with his back to the camera...

So, now it's off the the third chateau, Chateau de Chenonceau and it is an absolute beauty!  By the time we got there unfortunately, Ahmed was getting worried about the time, it was getting a little drizzly, and there were TONS of people there.  A brief history - this chateau was built by a nobleman and his wifeBohier's) on the site of a fortified castle and mill.   The nobleman ended up with very large debts owed to Henry II and Henry decided he'd pay a visit.  He saw place and said "if you give me this, your debts will be erased" and, of course, he got it.  At some point he gave it to his mistress, Diane de Poitiers, who, our guide told us was quite a few years older than Henry.  When Henry died, his wife, Catherine de Medici (Italian!) got Diane to agree to move out by offering her another chateau and now I'm remembering that the one she gave her is the one pictured above that I said "pretty fancy" about.  Diane had improved the property by creating a beautiful garden and adding a bridge to go from the chateau across the River Cher, so when Catherine took it over, she built a second garden and added a second level to the bridge.  It's called "the Ladies Chateau" because over the centuries (1547 to 1972) it has been owned by 6 different women.

So, pictures...

 The very long, beautiful tree-lined walk to the chateau...
 The chateau - the round tower in front is all that the Bohiers kept of the fortified castle and mill.  They lived in it while the chateau was being built.
 Nice enough sized, I guess but short on windows. :)
 The moat which goes into the River Cher - there were numerous canoes out on the water.
 I forget which lady built this garden.
And this is the fireplace in Diane de Poitiers' bedroom.  The portrait hanging above it is of Catherine de Medici.  So sweet dreams to Diane!  And I didn't notice until a second or third look, that the plaster ornamentation on the chimney breast actually covers the top and bottom of the frame so you'd have to mess up the wall quite a bit to get rid of the painting.  As I recall, this is one of only three rooms we saw.  You could hardly move a foot because of the crowds of people and we were late, and it was starting to rain, so we had to regretfully leave.  It wouldn't have been pleasant trying to see more of it anyway - just way, way too crowded.  But at least they had a very nice brochure with lots of pictures and descriptions of various rooms and in English so I was able to enjoy that on the bus trip home.  And apparently, most of the furnishings and decor (pictures, etc.) are not necessarily clear from the very beginning, but were accumulated by the various owners and then the entire shebang was turned over or taken over by the government sometime after 1972.

Got home and had a very late dinner which was kind of hilarious and kind of awful.  But right now, I'm hungry, it's going on 8:00 p.m., I have to pack to move house tomorrow, so I will try and remember to post a bit about the dinner when I start Sunday's post.

Au revoir!


3 comments:

Christopher said...

Well, you certainly picked two of the great chateau to see! Chenonceau is another beauty, for sure... And the wine-making place looks just so perfectly aged... beautiful, human-scaled (relative to Chenonceau and Chambord!) and charming as can be. Glad Heather suggested it and that it was worth the trek out!

Mary Lynne said...

I was glad she suggested it also. We both really enjoyed it. And you're right about D'Nitray - it looks so liveable for how old it is. The other two are quite incredible, but nothing you can imagine kiving in or even particularly wish you COULD live in.

January said...

I *love* the tree-lined walk on the way to the third chateau! A grand entrance :) I can see why you enjoyed the second one so much, and not just because of the wine! I'd say this little tour was a really good last minute decision by you and Heather!

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