It il pleut yesterday. It is il pleut today, and it is supposed to il pleut all weekend.
Mercury is definitely retrograde. One can always tell.
En route to France
It started with the name-change thing a few weeks ago. Because of the stricter TSA regulations, the name on one’s airline ticket must precisely match the name on one’s identification. Well, my passport was slightly different from my frequent flier account, so it was necessary to change the name on the frequent flier account….. I dutifully faxed a copy of my passport to the airline in order to square everything, and a few weeks later called because nothing had changed on my account. I was told they were running way behind on name changes because everyone had to do the same thing. Oy. It wasn’t until the day before I left on this trip that everything matched, and by then, because the ticket I’d purchased had not had Gold Status written all over it because of the name mis-match, my comfy forward window seat had been switched to a middle seat in the back of the bus. I was able to fix it at the airport, and I was so relieved to be able to do so that it actually felt like an upgrade.
After that, the flying was uneventful. Just the way we like it! Axel and I rendezvoused in B concourse at the Atlanta airport, got on the plane, had dinner and a glass of wine and awoke almost to Paris. The luggage even arrived in due time. We took the train to Angers, which is about an hour’s drive from Saumur, got off the train, went to the car rental counter, showed them our emailed confirmation, and got the “Gaelic shrug”. So sorry. There are no cars. It is not our problem that you have a confirmation.
Pas de voiture. None. Nowhere in the entire Loire Valley is there a rental car to be had.
We could have taken the local train to Saumur. But we had been traveling for nearly 24 hours, and we were tired of dragging three weeks worth of luggage through train stations, so we took a cab, even though it was tres cher.
Adventures on foot in Saumur.
We explored the town of Saumur on foot. We’ve been here before, about 5 years ago, and it’s an enjoyable small city, with numerous restaurants, cafes and shops. And horse crossing signs. And people who walk around in breeches and boots. In other words, there could be worse places to be without a car. Our hotel, the Adagio, is on the edge of the island in the middle of the Loire, and our room overlooks the river. Like I said, there could be worse places!
We found an art supply store and I bought some extra watercolor paper, and then we walked into the city center. We discovered the old riding school grounds, which is now a part of the local military training center. The Cadre Noir, the French National School, moved about 30 years ago to a larger facility just outside of town where the CDI will begin on Thursday. But is sure was fun to walk into the elegant old riding hall, with its tall arched windows and vaulted ceiling, even though there was nothing going on in there at the time.
After window shopping we noticed a large black cloud approaching, and found a spot under an awning outside a cafe in the main square. I whipped out my new purchase and a paint brush, started a little painting, and Blam-O! the sky opened up. We were quite smug about our foresight until the wind shifted and Mother Nature got involved in my watercolor. She is apparently into “drip” paintings. The only thing to do was put the paper away and consume another beer. Oh darn.
We then moved on to find a place for dinner, because the cafe was not serving food. I don’t have quite enough French to have understood that none of the restaurants in the area were serving food because the gas line was out. We only realized what was happening as we walked around and saw “closed” signs and utility workers everywhere. We finally found an open (and crowded) restaurant on the other side of town and had a great meal.
And now we are off to shop for more warm clothes, because we were silly enough to believe the weather report, which when we left said it would be partly cloudy and 75.