We've been staying out in the country for the last 2 days so haven't had any wifi to update the blog until now, but here goes.
We rose early again today to head south to the Beaujolais Region of France. I think we drove about 5 hours today in total with a couple of stops. Our first stop was at one of Napoleon's castles which he lived in after the French Revolution. An amazing huge historical building. We couldn't go inside but we took some photos from outside and of the beautiful gardens around it which we walked through. It was in the middle of a small French town, so we had a wander down the street and found this amazing bakery. I didn't get to take a photo but the things in the cabinet just looked so AMAZING. I had macaron's on my list of things to try and we were shown this fancy shop in Paris which sold them but I didn't get a chance to get there, so was a bit disappointed that I wouldn't get to try any. Luckily this bakery was selling them, but there were 9 different flavours and I didn't know what to choose, plus I didn't know what the flavours were since they were all labelled in French, so I just got 1 of each. Some interesting colours and flavours (but Tara your chocolate ones were just as good as the chocolate ones from this bakery). I also had to get a fresh croissant and baguette just so that I had tried the fresh French pastries and bread that I had wanted to. We only had 45 minutes here so we had to quickly head back to the bus to continue our journey.
After a couple more hours of driving we had another stop at a service station. The service stations over here have a bit more to them than NZ. They're a mini shopping mall as opposed to just the petrol stations which we have with a small shop. This was in the Dijon area where Dijon mustard comes from. I bought some nougat here too. I never really thought about the fact that nougat was French before, but it was another French treat to try. Another 45 minute stop and back on the bus. The driving laws over here are very strict for the coach, so we need to have lots of stops, plus the bus is only allowed to be operated for a certain amount of hours a day otherwise the driver can be fined.
On the last leg to our next destination, we had to choose all of our optional extras for the rest of the trip. I've chosen to do everything in each place, which includes paragliding, white water rafting, biking tours, walking tours, gondola rides, a trip up the Swiss Alps, plus others.
We got lost just before arriving at the chateau so it took at least another half an hour to get there. As we pulled up, there was a beautiful pool with a whole heap of people in it from another Contiki tour, and after sitting in the air conditioned coach I thought geez it's not really swimming weather. How wrong I was! We got off and it was sweltering, and this was at 5pm. The chateau is massive and amazing. It looks really impressive from the outside. The rooms inside are very basic with literally just bunks inside but the view from our second story room was incredible! There were 4 of us sharing a bedroom here. The bathrooms are multi-sex which was interesting. Weird to come out of the toilet or go to brush your teeth and have guys in there too. Someone showed us where the 'secret' bathroom was though, so no one else really used this one, which was good. The showers were absolutely terrible though.
Again we had to basically dump our bags and be off. We were off to do some wine tasting as we were in the 'wine region' of France where they produce millions of bottles of wine a year. They showed us how the wine process works and how long it takes to produce different types of wine, etc. We had dinner after this cooked by the Contiki people at the Chateau. Because Contiki own this chateau and it's not a hotel, we had to help out with serving and dishes, etc. For each Contiki stopover there are 4 'dishies' and 4 'cookies'. The cookies help set up and the dishies have to clear the plates at the end of each course. Me and Stacey were the dishies for the stay.
After dinner, we had a 'P' party, so we had to dress up as something starting with P. I was just going to take my pukeko (which none of the Australian's would've known anyway), but we didn't actually end up going down to the party. Instead, 3 of us from our room just had showers and went to bed.
There's no Internet here because we're out in the middle of nowhere. Luckily I can still type up my post and then just put it on the blog later.