Isn’t there some sort of law that nobody should have to live in hotel rooms with boys? I’ve somewhat insulated myself from my sons’ messiness with a big house, confining the limits of leaving socks draped over chairs and boxers under chairs to their own rooms. Living in a hotel room with them? Eh, not so fun. I mean, they are a blast, but I’m not enjoying wading through piles of their clothes on my way to the bathroom in the middle of the night.
Paris was… well, Paris. My boys, as it turns out, are only tourists when they want to be. Waiting in line to go into St. Chappelle is a big no, but waiting in line to get inside an old Chateau with turrets way up high is a big ole yes.
Another interesting fact — men and women shouldn’t be in the same car together when the chick is driving in a foreign country for the first time, the boys are navigating and, well, all hell breaks loose. It went something like this: Harry has the GPS – for which I am eternally grateful that we had that or there would have been one or two young men now walking down the side of a road outside of Tours looking for a phone to call home to their father – and he thinks I am a terrifying driver, which I am not, but I am a cautious one and a tidge distracted in a new place with new driving rules and also, might I add, very narrow streets, and my depth perception pretty much blows. Just the drive from the rental car place back to the train station (did I mention how much I love trains? why can’t the U.S. get a good train system? I would take it everywhere, screw the planes, it’s just not comfortable or fun, but trains…. ah, yes) was traumatic. I was ready to kill him, and he was being snarky and mean and condescending, none of which are normal modes for him, except when someone else is driving that he thinks isn’t driving up to his standards… he who has had his license for, what, two years? Anyway, no less than three times before we got a kilometer outside of Tours did I want to just dropkick his butt out of the car. His brother, who started his own commentary in the back was next on the list, but he was quieter. My mom and my aunt thought I did great. So we had a “Come to Jesus” meeting once we got to the hotel that was along the lines of “You may not talk to me that way…. ever… or you will just be dead, and yelling at me and telling me I suck as a driver does not instill confidence in me… and roundabouts aren’t normal in Colorado, and I’m being cautious and I’d appreciate you saying ‘right’ or ‘left’ instead of ‘there’ or ‘this’ or ‘that.’ It’s more instructive, not to mention helpful.”
What has come out of all that after three days of driving in the Loire Valley? Thank God we have a GPS that we take with us everywhere. Our new code phrase for “Blew it,” is “recalculating,” but it must be said with a slight sigh and world-weary tone like the lady on the GPS who pronounces General Leclerc as geneerallllek-lerk. We think Chateau are super-fun. It’s even more fun when you can’t get into one and spend an hour walking around the entire outside of the walls and moat-that-now-is-a-big-old-garden, looking for a way up and over, only to come back ’round the front and find the sign we should have read at the beginning… you know, the one in front of the now open front gate that says their lunch hour ends at 2 and they re-open for business.
The smell that I’ll remember forever is the climbing roses outside of our hotel here in Amboise and… well, everywhere! They are in full bloom and magnificently perfume the air. Did you know they grow so much better next to a stone wall? Well, yeah! so now I’ve decided I need to build a stone wall around all or part of my backyard during the landscaping I’m doing in July. The boys have offered to build it (I’m anticipating we get a one-foot start before I call someone to come finish). It will be perfect for yellow roses. Who says you can’t bring some of your vacation home with you?
The picture at the top isn’t one we took, but it is the old chateau at Amboise that we can see from our hotel window, with the Loire River out the other windows. Our USB/SD card adapter FUBAR’d before I could get my first picture uploaded, and finding another one of those has been impossible thus far – if we get one, we’ll be uploading hundreds of pictures. Tomorrow we are on a train for Avignon. Miss you all!