The plan was to swim this morning, then to go out this afternoon.
However, we all slept late, and by the time I got out to get the bread it was almost 10am. Not a problem in itself, except that Centerparcs was very crowded. Weekends seem far more highly populated than midweek. I think if we did come here again, I'd book for two midweeks and one weekend, rather than the other way around.
Anyway, because of the number of people heading into the dome we decided to go out first, then to swim later. So off we drove..... A lovely jaunt around the Sologne villages, arriving in Blois (found a petrol station in the nick of time) and travelling on toward the Cher. We arrived in a little town called Montrichard at around 1pm, and stopped in a beautiful pizzeria for lunch. Food was OK, but surroundings were magnificent - we were convinced the place was formerly a church.
I should probably say that throughout all this driving we'd seen the weather change from "Fair" to "most definitely raining"! We almost ran into the pizzeria to get out of the rain. However, as if by magic, one pizza and one hour later, the world seemed a brighter place. Montrichard was almost our destination - we only needed to drive a few more kilometers to the famous chateau of Chenonceau. This is the most beautiful, in my opinion. On our first proper holiday together (as opposed to weekends away), we stayed in a gite in the village of Sache, one sunny, cold, October week, back in 1998. Among many chateaux, Chenonceau is the place that sticks in my memory.
Wonderful once again, although spoiled somewhat by the coachloads of Russian, Italian and American tourists. It would be acceptable, but these people insisted on being so loud (and not just the Americans). From this perspective, it would have been better to visit in October!
However, where we did win (and also, because it was off the beaten path it was quite quiet) was by visiting the working farm/garden. This time of year is most definitely rose season, and there was a huge abundance of fragrances all around us.
Of course, we saw the formal gardens, those of Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de Medici, too, and again they were lovely, but again they were very much back on the tourist trail.
For some reason all of us felt tired this afternoon. Alice slept very soundly on the way back to Centerparcs, while I would have liked to have slept soundly, but if I had we'd never have got to Centerparcs! Not sure why this was - I've been waking at 7:30am at the latest during the holiday, and didn't wake until an hour later today. Anyway, a swim for an hour seemed to revive us somewhat.
Alice, from being afraid to ride her bike, has gone to the other extreme, and now wants to ride it everywhere. So, immediately after the swim we cycled over to the deer sanctuary, right in the far corner of the site. And, bearing in mind that the pool shuts at 9pm, you can guess how late this was! We finally arrived back in the cottage at gone 10pm, all of us feeling that we had at least made a little contribution to getting fit that day!
In general, a little sad since now we are counting the days left rather than the days in, but that's holidays for you.We have a final "bang" planned - two nights in Dinard, so we shouldn't be too upset to leave here.
Also, am massively hacked off that my clients are late paying a big invoice. I am reluctant to call the bank at the moment since I feel sure they will tell me I've gone overdrawn. If the funds aren't there on Monday I will seriously consider prolonging my holiday beyond next week. That will really hack them off since I know they have some deadlines to keep, but I can't afford to work for free.