Biking out of the forest
There is a lot of forest to enjoy in this area and it is lovely to bike through
Today was to be a big day but I didn't bargain on how big since we were to bike just over 70kms which is more than I've ever done. It was going to be hot too, but I didn't bargain on how hot! It was 35 degrees out at the furthest part of our biking so we were at the point of no return.
We left Beaugency at around 9am and biked along the river and flat grain farms mostly as well as small quaint villages that appeared unaltered for years. I expected this trip to be along busy roads with many people but it has been the opposite. The biking path is part of the Loire a Velo so much of it is on a superb surface (except for later). It is truly very picturesque and difficult to put into language that suitably describes the environment. Take a typical French village as we see in the movies and multiply that a number of times and you have what we've been seeing. People are friendly and call out "Bonjour!" or they just wave. Nice.
We stopped at St Dye-Sur-Loire for morning tea, and to buy lunch (baguette and fillings)
The Chateau du Chambord
Look closely from the 3rd floor up and see the ornate roof line. A wonderful piece of architecture as well as a folly we would think today
and then headed inland away from the Loire. Soon we entered forest which had been used by the aristocracy in the past for hunting. It was flat and cooler but it was also bumpier which is not good for a sore bum. We arrived at the Chateau de Chambord shortly before midday and sat under a tree to have our lunch on the lawn in front of the Chateau. We all arranged to meet at 2pm and did our own tours of the chateau. What can I say about the chateau? It is a completely overdone piece of architecture. Pure fantasy it would seem. Apart from the elaborate layout it is the 3rd floor up that is a wonder. Sprouting upwards from roofs and turrets are elaborate spires, chimneys and towers. It is quite spectacular. The inner of the building is quite Spartan really as only a few rooms are decorated and have furniture. It is all about the design. We were disappointed to see that people, as always, cannot resist carving their names into ancient stone. Why do they have to desecrate their history? The landscape outside of the chateau is huge, formal and now mainly in grass although
Some upper roof details
Note the many turrets, chimneys and stacks with much ornamentation
we imagine that it may have had gardens in the past. Beyond the grass is forest. The visit had too much to pack into a short time and really to give it justice you need several hours. I won't go into the history of royalty and the chateau because it is too much to write. Anyone can look it up on the internet. A must see.
I mentioned that it was 35 degrees today and should have remembered from past experience that me and heat do not go together. We all decided to continue onto the Chateau Chiverny which was another 20 kms on. Linds and I were not going to visit but considered passing by to have a look. It wasn't quite like that. You turn off to Chiverny and don't go past. The only thing I wanted there was lots of lemonade, lots of water and some means to cool down. The chateau seemed to be worth visiting and has gardens to look at but we gave it a miss to keep on biking to Blois. 6 decided to stay meaning they wouldn't get back until 8pm or later.
Biking back was over some pretty rough gravel back roads, through forest and dog legging in all directions to avoid main roads, which is good. We also passed the Chateau de Bearegard but skipped that too. All I wanted was to get back, strip off, cool off, and not move! It was a day of too much to see and too far to bike to do it. We really needed two days and not one.
Blois is another historic city along the river with many old monuments. Needless to say they will be given a miss. We had a bar dinner at a Brasserie with French fries - lots of salt to replace. Yum.
Tomorrow not so far, thank goodness but it could be just as hot.
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