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Published: April 17th 2018
This is our last full day in Tours, as we depart for London tomorrow afternoon, where friends Larry and Danielle Cobb arrived early this morning. They've already begun to set-up housekeeping in the apartment we'll be sharing with them, and we're looking forward to exploring London together.
We had no formal agenda for today, other than packing. But we did take the bus into town around noon to have lunch, and to find some last-minute gifts for Sophie, who has done so much for us during our stay.
The weather was very pleasant, with mostly sunny skies and mild temperatures (low 70s), so after Dee finished at the Galleries Lafayette we walked to the Place Plumereau for lunch. We would have much preferred to have our last meal in Tours at the great little restaurant we'd discovered, Le Laurenty, on the rue Colbert, but it closes on Mondays.
The experience at Le Manufacture, the bistro we selected, turned out to be forgettable, but the ambience on its terrace offered some consolation. After finishing lunch with the last "cafe gourmand", the typically French dessert offering of espresso served with a variety of sweet delights, we walked back to the
main shopping street (rue Nationale). We found a flower shop, where we bought a bouquet for Sophie, and then took our last bus ride back to the villa.
Later, Sophie invited us for up for hors d'oeuvre
, which we enjoyed with the bottle of sparkling wine she'd given us the day we arrived. Her living space, which covers the entire second and third levels of the villa, is very contemporary in decor, with lots of open space. We chatted with her for an hour or so before returning to our apartment downstairs.
When we leave Tours and the Loire Valley tomorrow, we'll take along with us a bundle of fond memories--beautiful châteaux, the scenic landscapes dotted with quaint villages and towns, the lush gardens (and blooming flowers), and the villa where we stayed (more like a mini-château), with its little garden and chirping birds. We've been so impressed with this part of France that it deserves a return visit, perhaps with a rental car to explore the many attractions on offer. Of course, our experience has been greatly enhanced by Sophie, whose charm and kindness have highlighted our stay. She has been truly amazing, and we'll treasure always
Danielle and Larry Cobb
Familiar faces arrived in London early this morning. We'll see them tomorrow!
the memories of the times we shared together.
Dee's comments: Well, today is our last day in paradise!
But let's look back at the beginning---in Sicily
, with the great view of Mt. Etna, the best cannoli, exploring many little streets, walking miles (and getting lost), plus the 65-steps (up and down) to reach the town, the "rock joint" in Agrigento, discovering my new favorite almond wine, riding the tour bus through beautiful scenery and lots of tunnels, the German character on the tour, Mitch dropping tissue in church (while cursing out loud).
Then off to Sorrento
---airline screws us by charging more for the bags than the cost of the flight; nice seeing Francesco's smiling face again, spent lots of time with him and his family this time, enjoyed visiting their home and garden; eating heart-shaped pizza at parlor down the street. Apartment was great, except for first night when electricity conked out briefly, and then the gas bottle ran out. A lot of puffy coats and pointed shoes, boots of all kinds; the meals at the Blue Sea restaurant; lots of cold and rain; nice museum and gardens across the street (Villa Fondi); the day trip to
Cafe on Place Plumereau, Tours.
Paestum with Francesco and family (most fun in Sorrento); the homemade sauce Francesco delivered to us on his scooter.
, Mitch speaking German to everyone; eating lunch at the Hotel Sacher (where Mitch ate 50 years ago!); great apartment; owner came by to help with TV, and then shared some bourbon with us; one night he invited us out to dinner at a great Viennese restaurant--loved it! At this point, had to start wearing my "boot" because my toe was screaming; very frigid temps (23 degrees F.), even had snow one morning!; day we left, the sweet little lady in the apartment down the hall gave us a bottle of wine, cookies, and some oranges.
On to Bruges;
taxi driver from Brussels airport a real character, but a great ride; beautiful, immaculate apartment above the owners' waffle shop; great lunch at restaurant with red rooster out front; making stops downstairs for gelato and/or waffles almost every day; the market in the town square; getting off the elevator on the wrong floor (and trying to enter wrong apartment!); the horse and buggy ride; and the canal cruise.
Next stop Tours
; the costly, 2-hour cab ride to the
villa from Nantes airport, but when the blue gates of the villa opened, we were in another world! The history of the property alone is amazing; Sophie, the owner, is a wonderful person; very charming with people; took us for groceries when we arrived (in the rain); gave me presents; drove us to see several châteaux during our stay; she has become "my little French sister"!; I'll miss her, and the villa, but it's time to move on and see what London has in store for us!
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