Night Location: Saumur, France
Song of the Day: Sh-boom (Life could be a dream) - The Crew Cuts
Mumisode of the Day: After we had started going to bed, a loud bang was heard coming from the direction of Mum's room. Amber and Gemma rushed in to see what had happened and discovered Mum collapsed on her bed, holding her head. She had crashed in to the large chandelier that hangs over her bed. There are now black stockings hanging from said chandelier to warn of impending impact.
This morning the gang was up really early as we needed to be packed, with the luggage down the 65 stairs and the beds stripped and the bins emptied for the French cleaning lady to return, hopefully, with our 700 Euro deposit. There were three trips up and down the stairs made by the children. Amber had an interesting experience with the compacting bins of St Malo and we had time to look out at the sea once more. This time the diving board was all that could be seen of the swimming pool from yesterday. Apparently our apartment was "Parfarct!" which we took as a good sign given that we had our deposit refunded.
From St Malo, we proceeded directly to our next night location, Saumur, located in the Loire Valley, home of the chateaus. Although we arrived on time at 12:30, we were not actually unpacking the bags for another full hour as Amber and Gemma had a very lengthy and rather useless tour of the house. Highlights included an empty load of washing being started as a demonstration of the laundry and Amber being bolted inside the house as a result of the demonstration of the locking of the front door.
The house itself is fairly nice. First impressions were not looking good as you enter the house through the kitchen that smells of something absolutely rank. We are yet to discover the source of this smell. Various buckets, cleaning cloths and other implements have been thrown outside the house with no real improvement. The remainder of the house though is quite nice. It overlooks the Loire River and from the lounge room you can look directly at the Saumur Chateau. You walk across the drawbridge of the chateau to access the rest of the town below.
After literally dropping off the bags, we headed for Angers and to its impressive black and white chateau that sits once again high on the hill. This chateau is home to the Apocalypse Tapestry, one of the few surviving medieval tapestries of this magnitude. It tells the story of the book of Revelation. The most fascinating part of the tapestry, however, is the inclusion of various English characters appearing as villains. The tapestry was completed during the Hundred Years War and features King Edward III and various other English soldiers.
The five of us climbed the highest remaining tower and went exploring the ramparts. Amber and Gemma encountered a very pushy 'serious' photographer, complete with SLR camera who would literally push Amber out of the way in order to get the perfect shot. He then would make a study of his 'perfect shot' only to swear and try again. Gemma took great delight in saying to Amber, "Wow, this Intelligent Auto is fantastic! Perfect!"
We descended the hill to the main train station where we were to pick up the new addition to the Halliday Holiday. Gareth was due in on a 18:43 according to Gemma, however the girls on walking into the train station and making a study of the Departure Board heard Gareth calling out. The first thing that was done after the initial greeting was to see what bag Gareth had. This was for two reasons. Firstly, due to the limited space in the car, we were not sure if there was going to be room for six bags and six people. Secondly, because we knew that Gareth had a Kathmandu bag, we were really hoping that it would match our backpacks. Even better, we hoped that it might be the colour of the girls' backpacks. It matched, but wisely, he had chosen green so now we look like such a funny group, all with the same backpacks, the boys with green and the girls red.
Earlier in the day, David had come up with the genius idea to play a prank on Gareth. He suggested that we all walk up to a very small car and pretend that this was the vehicle that we were traveling in. Alas, no suitable car could be found but this prank still deserves an honourable mention.
We returned once more to the stinky kitchen, smell slightly alleviated by frying onion but only temporary unfortunately. Tomorrow we go exploring some of the many chateaus along with (according to Gemma) an armoured vehicle museum.